Monday, February 25, 2013

Food Pyramids from Blue Zones and other Geographic Locations

Blue Zones, as created and defined by demographers Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, as regions where people live measurably longer lives than surrounding areas.  Explorer and geographer Dan Buettner studied several blue zones around the world.  The common variables each region he studied shared were family-centered culture, no smoking, plant-based diet with more sea food than meat, constant moderate physical activity, active social engagement, and consumption of legumes.

Healthy food with friends and family was a common theme documented in Buettner's book.  Independently, Oldways has also reached the conclusion that traditional healthy foods enjoyed with active family and friends leads to a healthy and better life.  Oldways defines itself as "a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization with a mission to guide people to good health through heritage."  As part of there mission they have created food pyramids from Blue Zone Mediterranean (Sardina) and Asian (Japanese) cultures as well as a healthy Latino (Middle America) and African (sub-Saharan) food pyramid.  While these stereotype whole regions to one food culture, one can learn healthy eating from these cultures.


Yosef said...

Reading about healthy diets from around the world may lead one to think that such complete diets are and have been the norm for people in these respective parts of the world (e.g. the African diet as shown here for people in Africa). But at least historically, it's only been a small minority of people (e.g. the rich) enjoying such complete nutrition, whereas the masses have been malnourished at least to some extent, leaving them vulnerable to getting sick and dying at younger ages than what we in the West are used to.

Speaking of which, it seems to me that the modern, industrialized world is the ultimate "Blue Zone" with respect to preindustrial society, in the sense that on average we're living much longer today and have access to vaccines, antibiotics, etc. that previous generations didn't have. Is that fair to say?

Catholicgauze said...

The First World is certainly a "blue zone" compared to the rest of the world. However, in the West's abundance many unhealthy choices have made. So within the blue zone of the west there are blue zones of even better health.

As for your first part, yes. I was a bit irked by the stereotypical nature of the food pyramid as well.