The Mediterranean diet has been hailed by many experts as one of the healthiest ways to eat. And there is, without doubt, an abundance of evidence to back up this way of thinking. But according to the Blue Zones Kitchen, there is a way to approach food that is even better for us than the Mediterranean diet, and it is, of course, to follow the Blue Zones Diet.
The Blue Zones Diet takes inspiration from the people of the world’s five designated Blue Zones: Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, Ikaria, Greece, Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, California. To help you follow it, the Blue Zones organization has founded the Blue Zones Kitchen, which, right now, offers four super nutritious and delicious frozen meal options.
Keep reading to learn more about the Blue Zones Diet and where to buy the Blue Zones Kitchen frozen meals—all of which are 100-percent vegan.
What do people in the Blue Zones eat?
The Blue Zones diet has much in common with the Mediterranean diet, as it also prioritizes a fresh, well-balanced, plant-forward attitude to food. However, according to the Blue Zones Kitchen, the Blue Zones diet takes the approach a little further.
The diet follows 10 guidelines, each of which was learned from the people of the Blue Zones. In these areas, people are far more likely to reach their 90s and even 100s in relatively good health compared with most people in the West (in the US, general life expectancy is just over 77 years old).
The guidelines include: reduce dairy, eggs, meat, and fish, eat beans daily, regularly snack on nuts, choose sourdough bread over processed wheat, choose whole foods often, and drink mostly water (but “tea, coffee, and wine are ok, too”).
This way of eating isn’t the only thing that links together the people in the Blue Zones (factors like regular, natural movement, a sense of purpose, and a strong community are all common lifestyle habits, too), but it is, research suggests, particularly important for their longevity. And it’s easy for many people all over the world to copy.
In the US and the UK, many people struggle to eat enough healthy foods. The Standard American Diet, for example, is totally different from the Blue Zones Diet. The former is characterized by high consumption of processed foods, refined grains, sugars, unhealthy fats, and animal products, and low intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutrient-dense foods. In the US, the rates of chronic diseases—like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes—are also much higher.
“Starting [a Blue Zones lifestyle] at any age will make you live longer,” says Dan Buettner, the explorer behind the Blue Zones (who also appeared in the recent Netflix documentary, Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones). “At age 60, you could potentially add six extra years. And at age 20, if you’re a male, you could potentially add 13 extra years if you live in a Blue Zone lifestyle as opposed to a standard American lifestyle.”
Blue Zones Kitchen
The Blue Zones Kitchen’s frozen meals and where to buy them
The Blue Zones organization wants to make it easier for more people to follow the Blue Zones Diet approach. The company has created a Meal Planner, which provides food coach support, nutrition information, grocery delivery, lists, and recipe inspiration.
But for those who don’t have a lot of spare, or may not be interested in cooking, the company has also created its own frozen meals through Blue Zones Kitchen.
“We prefer to see people cooking at home, but the next best thing is to eat a whole food, plant-based meal that’s been carefully crafted for longevity,” Buettner told Business Insider. “Most of the time these frozen meals, they have a sauce on and the sauce is like crack. It’s usually full of sodium and sugar and flavor enhancers, and people don’t really care what’s under this delicious sauce.”
The Blue Zones Kitchen meals, however, don’t contain added sugar or artificial ingredients and are prepared following the principles of the Blue Zones Diet.
Blue Zones Kitchen
They include a Burrito Bowl inspired by Nicoya (which includes sweet potatoes, black beans, and guajillo chili), a Sesame Ginger Bowl inspired by Okinawa (which includes edamame, broccoli, and ginger), and a Minestrone Casserole inspired by Sardinia (which includes red lentils, kale, and tomatoes).
The range also features an Heirloom Rice Bowl, which “pays homage to ingredients and flavors commonly found in Gullah Geechee cuisine.” The Gullah Geechee people are the descendants of enslaved people from West and Central Africa who were brought to states like South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia to work on plantations. While seafood-heavy, many of their recipes follow similar principles to those from the Blue Zones.
The Blue Zones Kitchen frozen meals can be found in Whole Foods Markets, Wegmans, and many health food markets across the US. To find out more about where to buy one near you, find the company’s store locator here.