096: Birthdays, Blue Zones, & Being Better w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

096: Birthdays, Blue Zones, & Being Better w/ Dr. Anna Cabeca

by Dr. Anna Cabeca July 28, 2019

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What is it about turning another year older that causes us to reflect and reassess our lives? I’ve just turned 53; today on Couch Talk, I’m talking about birthdays, reflection, and Blue Zones. Blue Zones are incredible locations across the world where the residents have a longer life expectancy. 

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Birthdays come with many mixed emotions. Sometimes you approach them with joy and happiness, other times you might look at them with grief and sadness. Not to mention how birthdays can be a totally different experience after losing someone you love. I like to think of birthdays after bereavement as a celebration and remembrance: it’s okay to feel happiness after someone leaves your life.

There are an incredible 9 things that contribute to a location being known as a Blue Zone. And while some of these things have to do with the natural location, most are the way we, as individuals and as communities, live, work, breath, and interact with each other.

People living in Blue Zones put more emphasis on physical movement, meaning they rely less on cars and more on their feet to transport them places. The inhabitants also feel fulfilled with their passions, making a point of living their lives fully. 

Family is incredibly important in the Blue Zone. Their ancestors are honored annually, and there’s often multiple generations living closely together. There’s a real sense of love, support, and responsibility to aging relatives - and one I wish we would foster more here in America.

My Keto-Green diet plan is pretty much straight from the Blue Zones. There’s a huge emphasis on eating plant-based foods and limiting your meat intake. You can see this in the Mediterranean diet, as well, where vegetables and pulses are consumed regularly.

Lastly, building a sense of community is not only a wonderful thing to do, but it also helps you live longer. I’ve made a point to be a better neighbor this year, and for the rest of my years, and I can already tell it’s going to make a difference to my life.

What does celebrating your birthday mean to you? What is one thing you’re so glad about doing yesterday? How are you being a better neighbor?

In This Episode:

  • How a bereavement can change your attitude towards birthdays and other special events
  • What blue zones are
  • Why you should move more naturally, without the use of technology
  • What role passion has in your life
  • How you can honor your ancestors to increase your longevity
  • Where the blue zones of the world are
  • Why eating more plants helps you live longer
  • How belonging to a community can impact your life
  • Why you should always put your family first and try to live closer together
  • What happens when you become a good neighbor

 

Quotes:

“If we can let go of “what ifs”, “what could have been”, or what we thought we should have achieved by now, and we can reflect on the things that we do have, the things that we are grateful for, all the small things in our life. And that reflection can lead to longevity and quality of life overall.” (3:14)

“The world’s longest-lived people chose or were born into social circles that supported healthy behaviors.” (12:05)

“I know that evil happens when good people do not stand up and act. So there’s a time to stand up and to fight what is right and to face your enemy head-on. Doing so with grace, authenticity, consideration, and compassion is a challenge, but certainly one I’m up for.” (15:06)

Links

Check out  Power 9: Reverse Engineering Longevity by Dan Buettner

Join the  KetoGreen Community on Facebook

Buy  The Hormone Fix

 

Transcript:

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Welcome to Couch Talk with Dr. Anna Cabeca, a shameless and guiltless place for open, honest conversation, and today's topic, birthdays and Blue Zones. So yes, this is July, July 28th, and I am 53 this year. It has been a whirlwind year with my book release, and the status it's achieved and continues to achieve as a number one bestseller on Amazon, and a USA Today bestseller. I've been thrilled with the praise and just thinking through all the amazing happenings of this year.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
But birthdays have not always been celebratory for me. They have been difficult and challenging, and I believe this is true for so many others. In fact, I asked my Keto-Green community group and Magic Menopause group what celebrating their birthday meant to them. One of our audience participants said that ... this is Karen ... she said, "Ever since my mom died when I was 47, I really don't care to celebrate my birthday. It's weird," she says, "I know. Maybe it's because we share the same birthday month, and it's just a painful reminder that she's not around, or maybe it's just in general that the day itself, birthday, reminds me of my mom who gave me life. Could be both reasons, don't know for sure."

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
I completely understand what Karen's sentiment is and how she struggles with that, but I responded to Karen. I said, "I understand. I had felt the same over the past years, but we may benefit from these small overcomings and look at it differently, celebrating our life instead, appreciation for the ones who have contributed to it, a new momentum, a signifier of newness, opportunity to enjoy a day of self-care, revelation, and fun. Let's do this together this year," I encouraged her.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
I do believe that we can look at it as a challenging day like every day has its challenges. There's no getting away from that, but what can we do to celebrate the small things, celebrate the pieces of our life that have meant the most to us? When we look back and think back about yesterday, what is it that we did or experienced yesterday that made us so happy, that we are grateful for? That is one of the questions I always ask first thing before I get out of bed in the morning. What is the one thing I am so glad I did yesterday? I can reflect on that moment.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Instead of focusing on this birthday as the things I have not yet accomplished because I hear that from many women too. It's like, "Well, I thought I'd be at a different place in my life. I thought I'd be married, or with this type of promotion, or with the new car, or a new house, or have less debt," or whatever it may be. If we can let go of what-ifs, what could have been, or what we thought we should have achieved by now, and we can reflect on the things that we do have, the things that we are grateful for, all the small things in our life, and that reflection can lead to longevity and quality of life overall.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
With that thought in mind, I looked up the characteristics of Blue Zones. Blue Zones are the areas around the world that have the oldest living people, the most number of centenarians, people who have reached their hundredth birthday. What do these zones, these areas of the world, have in common? Well, one thing, they sound pretty Keto-Green to me, with an idea that it's not just about diet, it's about lifestyle.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Here are the several things that Blue Zones have in common from around the world. This is from an article called Power 9: Reverse Engineering Longevity by Dan Buettner. One of the things is to move naturally, so not artificially by machines and gym memberships, but really moving to work, to garden, to walk, to visit, to travel, to journey. Labor and natural movements, that is common across the Blue Zones.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
It's something that I saw when I visited Peru in an area called Lago Titicaca in Peru. I know, a funny name, and a very high altitude, and there were women certainly in their 80s with big baskets on their head walking up steep, steep steps, and it was impressive, impressive. One woman had a case of water bottles that was on her head, and she was walking up this very steep staircase.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
So move naturally, hard work, labor, physical work, sweating, right? Sweating is part of detoxification. So that's the first thing, move naturally. The second is a purpose, so knowing your purpose can increase our life expectancy. No matter how old we are, we have many purposes in life. We don't just have one purpose. There are many purposes that we have in our life, maybe even in a day, that pieces of our lives are purposeful and contribute.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Just like our passions. To continue to have passion, something that we're passionate about for the rest of our lives. Now, I was just reading through my ... a post by a friend of mine, Alex Jamieson. She was posting about the Washington, D.C. protest. 70 Catholics were arrested for protesting ICE. And you know, some of these nuns were in their 80s, I think 85, 90, in their 70s, and they are passionate and purposeful to help rescue, save, and stop the madness of these immigration holding centers, especially of the dilemma, pain, and even death it's causing some migrant children.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
So however old we are, having a passion and purpose is powerful. I think of Mother Teresa too when I say that, in her late final years, continuing each day with passion and purpose. I acclaim that too. I think living a life with purpose, not just helping ourselves, helping ... and helping others is critical to [foreign language 00:07:13], to a happy, healthy life.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
The third part, number three, is downshift. That means taking ... like for example, the Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors. The Seventh-Day Adventists pray, and the Sardinians do happy hour. Others take a nap, but to just take a break. I didn't mention where these areas in the world are, so there are five key Blue Zones around the world: Barbagia, a region of Sardinia, and Icaria, Greece, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, the Seventh-Day Adventist, which a high concentration live around Loma Linda, California, and Okinawa, Japan.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
From these areas, these common threads, and then the 80% rule. That means eating until you're satisfied, not full. I think that's really powerful. As we get more Keto-Green we're less hungry, so we can tune into what we're eating, take our time eating, because we're chewing our food, what? 32, 42 times per bite, right? Really want it to dissolve in our mouth, and get to this area of satisfaction that we're 80% full. We are satisfied, not stuffed. That's a common thread.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
And number five, the plant slant, hence the greens in Keto-Green, right? The Mediterranean Diet, what across the board many of the cultures eat approximately a three to four-ounce size of meat or protein, and that's the approximate size of a deck of cards. And also, more plants, so also some beans, including fava beans, lentils, black beans.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Number six is wine at 5:00. Well, I think that's really referring to the Sardinians, so the Italian influence, and drinking one or two glasses of wine. There's a specific wine, organic or natural wine, Cannonau wine, it's called, but I really always wonder about wine. You know my philosophy is that is it the wine that increases our longevity, or is it the people around the table that we're eating with, enjoying each other, and laughing that's raising oxytocin, which we know is longevity producing? So is it the wine, or is it the good company that we're keeping?

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Number seven is belong. It says, "According to the majority, all but five of the 263 centenarians that were interviewed belonged to a community that was faith-based." So the denomination didn't seem to matter but was faith-based, and they regularly attended services. So belonging to a community that has a like and trust, a like faith, can really impact your longevity. Very cool.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Number eight is loved ones first. This is where the multi-generational family comes into play. This is across the board, across these Blue Zones, people put their families first, and many generations live in the home. I emphasize this quite a bit. I have a good friend, and her parents are living with her right now, and her two children, she's a single mom with two children, and so her parents have moved in, and also her mother's mother. So there's four generations in that household. It can feel cramped, it can feel frustrating, I totally get the need to flee, but what a blessing.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
We need to learn that. We need to bring that back into our American culture. I love having my father here, and I've seen my family in the Middle East have multi-generational households. It has easily four generations on average in the same home, the same building, the same neighborhood, not spread all over the map. This does make a difference because it keeps the sense of community, it keeps laughter, it keeps acceptance, it keeps us able to have a level of transparency and authenticity that enables healing. So that was number eight, loved ones first.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Nine is the right tribe, so this was the final conclusion. The world's longest-lived people chose or were born into social circles that supported healthy behaviors. When we create our community, for me it's my Keto-Green community on Facebook, it's the social media communities, our Magic Menopause, more intense one-on-one community where we really are able to grow, communicate, support each other, like-minded, right? Supporting a way of life, a way of thinking, a way of believing, a way of sticking together and not giving up, not letting others give up. It's like hooking arms and moving forward.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
That's what I'm passionate about. I want to create a tribe of women around the world who know their own power, who step into their health, overcome their obstacles, and achieve their best self, their greatness, their intense joy, their laughter, their passion in their 70s, 80s, 90s, 100. Let's make our Keto-Green community a Blue Zone. That's what I would love to see happen. I can tell you how important it is to have a community that you care about. I've been struggling with some unfriendly neighborhood issues, and that's been a challenge.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
I think, "Wow, I can certainly look and see all the pompousness of the people involved. I can certainly focus on their fear-based, ignorant behavior." I know that's harsh, sadly, true, or I could focus on, "Man, how can I be a better neighbor? How can I do things in the neighborhood that's better?"

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
I know that I'm busy and often I don't stop and talk, and meet and greet my neighbors that are maybe walking through the neighborhood or passing by, and so I've made a conscientious decision to do that, to visit a neighbor and get to know what's happening in their life, to stop while one of my elderly neighbors is walking her dog and chat, and express sincere interest, and also offer help, especially with my girl's home.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
There's a lot we can do to help, and just reaching out and talking to the neighbors on either side of me, often seen in passing, but very little conversation. By being a good neighbor myself, maybe that will overcome some tough community and neighborhood situations because I certainly want to live the highest quality, stress-free, loving life that I can this year as I'm 53, and for the rest of my years. I know that it starts with creating a positive attitude, kindness, and wishing for and expressing the best for everyone.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
Now, I know that evil happens when good people do not stand up and act, so there's a time to stand up and to fight what is right and to face your enemy head-on. Now, doing so with grace, authenticity, consideration and compassion is a challenge, but certainly one I'm up for as I strive to be a good neighbor this year, and recognize what we do in my Keto-Green community that helps support our longevity, our connection, our joy, and the support of each other. I encourage all of you to do the same and to share with me, come into Facebook, Keto-Green Community, and share your story, share your success. Read the amazing testimonials that are in there. They will inspire you too.

Dr. Anna Cabeca:
I'm looking forward to another great year with all of you, and I thank you for listening on Couch Talk. I will see you next week.

Dr. Anna Cabeca
Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.