One of my favorite books is The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Author Dan Buettner looks at areas in the world, dubbed Blue Zones, with large populations of people who live past 100.
He’s taken their life lessons to create The Power 9. These nine habits create a “blueprint” to living a longer and healthier life. The interesting thing is none of the people he studied consciously followed these Power 9 or set a goal to live to be 100. They just did. Their lifestyles and communities were set up to make long life possible.
Would you say the same of yours?
My community is working on it. We are working on taking the Power 9 principles and making Springfield, MO a healthier place to live. There are a lot of exciting ideas floating around, especially after Buettner’s visit to our fair city this month. In his presentations, he gave us examples of work in other towns (and almost the entire state of Iowa) using the Power 9 to create an environment that supports overall healthy and longevity.
Do you want to make your community a healthier place to live? Here are great ways to get started from his talk:
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By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., TheBestLife.com lead nutritionist
Feeling like you’re about to go off your own fiscal cliff after all that holiday spending? No need to settle for cheap junk food to help pay down your credit card bills. The truth is, some of the least expensive foods are also the healthiest.
Here’s my core budget-but-healthy shopping list. (Check out my blog for more lower-cost items.)
Canned beans – dried are even less expensive, but require you to plan ahead
Canned tomatoes – no salt added (the store brand is cheapest)
Canned wild salmon and canned light “chunk” tuna
Dried herbs – whatever is on sale
Fresh fruit – whatever is on sale
Fresh vegetables – whatever is on sale
Oatmeal or steel-cut oats – large carton of plain oats (the store brand is usually cheapest)
Tofu – for cooking pointers, click here.
The following meals use some of the items listed above. All three of these dollar-stretching dishes are also seriously nutritious. I calculated the cost of each meal using prices at my local Giant supermarket in Washington D.C.; prices may vary in your area.
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One of the most widely circulated pieces of advice for effective (meaning healthy) grocery shopping is to steer around the perimeter of the store where nutritious foods are traditionally on display. But food makers and the stores that sell their products aren’t happy just to sit still and not try to influence your buying habits.
Food ad spending in the U.S. rests at about $7 billion a year. Not to mention, the Newspaper Association of America reports about $1.5 billion is spent by food companies each year in newspapers and mailed circulars.
Billion with a “b” comes with a pretty hefty influence. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a UK study found that people alter their meal plan according to what products their grocery store is promoting.
Back Stateside, a new study evaluated the types of foods promoted by supermarkets chains and their corresponding share of advertising space in 2011 sales circulars. The food group that was given the heaviest promotion on the front page of supermarket sales circulars was meat with about 40 percent of the ads. Fruits and vegetables were each given about 10 percent of the sampled advertising space.
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By Team Best Life – TheBestLife.com
Isn’t it nice to know that the healthiest choices in the supermarket often happen to be the greenest, too? You can reduce your ecological impact and the impact on your waistline at the same time by adopting a few eco-friendly shopping tips.
For instance, opting for locally grown, seasonal foods is a good way to protect the environment. These foods don’t have to be shipped long distances, so you eliminate some of that fossil fuel use. Another option: Go organic. Organic foods don’t use as many harmful chemicals in their production—the fewer pesticides and antibiotics used, the less impact those foods have on the planet. If eating exclusively organic is too expensive, consider buying only those fruits and vegetables that offer the biggest pesticide savings (click here for the list).
Mother Earth isn’t the only one benefiting from these savvy shopping strategies. These foods usually taste better and are better for you than processed or otherwise environmentally damaging foods. Here are a few more easy shopping tips to keep your body and the earth healthy.
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Next week presents so many possible changes for our nation as we mark our ballots. Election day could end with a new president lined up to lead the country. A new president impacts huge issues like the soldiers overseas, foreign affairs, and of course the budget. As you vote next week, you will also be determining smaller issues that affect all of us. Who we vote in as our Commander-in-Chief may change what’s served on a large percentage of Americans’ dinner tables.
Frequently called food stamps, our government has a food assistance program called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The program is income based and designed to help those who are financially struggling. According to Politofact.com, one in seven US families are using the SNAP program. Findings from the Food Research and Action Center state that many families struggle to purchase enough nutritious food before the month’s allotment runs out. Many users cannot afford proper foods for healthy meals and actually have to turn to food pantries to supplement their food needs.
If one out of seven families are currently needing the SNAP program and the current benefits are found to be too little to support a family, what can one expect from our primary candidates on this issue?
Valerie Jarrett is the Senior Advisor to the President Obama. She explained in The White House Blog where he stands on the issue of food assistance.
“…When President Obama took office, he enhanced and expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The investments we made kept 3.9 million Americans, including 1.7 million children, above the poverty line in 2010. They prevented child hunger from rising, even as poverty and unemployment levels increased in the wake of the economic crisis.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported on what former Governor Romney may intend to do about the SNAP budget is he were elected. Richard Kogan and Paul N. Van de Water wrote that Romney would cut entitlement and discretionary program budgets. These cuts would mean a reduction in the funds allotted for SNAP.
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