Only Blue Zone in U.S. Is Made for Success

The Blue Zones of the Earth are a fascinating topic. They’re the areas of the world where people live decades longer than average. The rest of us marvel at them and wonder how they do it.

The Blue Zone areas don’t eat much meat. They generally only drink alcohol in the form of red wine. They have a sense of purpose, low-stress lives and live in extended family structures. They have strong supporting communities and social networks that foster healthy styles. And they work out in the form of gardening, walking, cleaning and farming daily.

We all assume that we could never pull it off in America. Our country doesn’t set us up for that sort of lifestyle. However, there is one town in America that is a Blue Zone. And researchers have learned why.

Loma Linda is a community with 25,000 residents. It’s about an hour east of Los Angeles. On average, residents live a decade longer than most Americans. They are predominantly Seventh-day Adventists. There are about 9,000 Seventh-day Adventists in town.

Seventh-day Adventists eat a vegetarian diet. The town started its own vegetarian food company in 1905. The Loma Linda Market has bins of beans and grains where the meat department is located in most supermarkets. The university in the area has a vegetarian cafeteria.

In addition to starting their own food company, now known as the massively popular Morningstar Farms brand, they have other prepared food in their market. While most of us worry about preservatives and hidden fat, their hot bar has things like jalapeno tofu and freshly prepared vegetables. There’s no greasy Chinese food or fried chicken waiting for them. Their diet has very little ultra-processed food because healthy options are so easily accessible in a way that most of us could never imagine.

Seventh-day Adventists do not drink caffeine or alcohol. They also do not use nicotine. No smoking or vaping is allowed in most of the town, even outdoors. And there are no liquor stores or bars. And they prize time spent outdoors and fitness. Loma Linda Univ.’s fitness center and all its classes are free to residents of the area.

They also believe in slowing down. In America’s hustle and bustle lifestyle, they are some of the few people who pause. Businesses close down early Friday afternoon and aren’t open on Saturday. Saturday is the Sabbath. It’s reserved for church, prayer, singing, potlucks and rest.

The beautiful weather also helps the residents of Loma Linda unwind and live less stressful lives. People of all ages play a lot of pickleball and hike outdoors frequently as communal activities.

Loma Linda, with its free gym, extremely healthy supermarket, strong community, shared sense of purpose and gorgeous weather, is set up differently than any other town in America. While we can’t all live there, we can learn from their lifestyle and try to implement some of their practices into our days.

Banner image: Jabez Impano via Unsplash

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