Ever heard of “Blue Zones?” Apparently, there are a handful of spots around the earth that are considered “Blue Zones,” where people live A LOT longer and are super healthy because of their diet and lifestyle. They have more centenarians (100+ year olds) than anywhere else on the planet. Pretty cool! The weird thing is that they are located all over the map: in small regions of Sardinia, Costa Rica, Japan, Greece and oddly enough, Loma Linda, California. They have lots in common, though, and I’m thinking we’d be smart to take a page out of their books and change a few things!
They all move a lot, just in daily living; they walk everywhere and are super active. They’re centered in family, service, community and often, religion. They are more “unplugged” and live low-stress lives. Their diet, of course, plays a huge role in all this longevity! They eat their smallest meal in the evening, don’t eat as much as most people do, and eat mainly plants, most of which they grow themselves. Their staple foods, while differing from region to region, would be considered “superfoods,” and they eat none of the garbage that’s so prevalent in supermarkets: chemicals, preservatives, sugars, GMOs.
I have an amazing cookbook from Ikaria, Greece, one of the Blue Zones. The recipes are unbelievably delicious and obviously healthy. This recipe for Greek Seven-Layer Dip is inspired by the foods from Ikaria. It’s probably not authentic at all, but the flavors are definitely Greek-ish and create a fun twist from the usual 7-layer dip. Olives, garbanzos, goat cheese, tomatoes, mint…..can’t lose with that combo!
So unplug a bit, walk more, take naps and eat healthy! Maybe you can become an honorary part of the “Blue Zones!”
- 1 small red onion
- 1/2 English cucumber (or your favorite variety)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups hummus
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup kalamata olives
- 1 cup marinated artichokes
- 3/4 cup roasted red peppers
- 1/2 cup feta cheese or goat cheese
- Fresh mint
- Flat bread, pitas or pita chips
- Mince onion and finely chop cucumber.
- Toss with vinegar, water and salt and pepper and let sit 10 minutes. Drain well before using.
- Chop veggies into bite-sized pieces.
- Spread hummus over large serving tray.
- Layer the ingredients over hummus.
- Top with feta or goat cheese and fresh mint and serve with bread or chips.
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