Do you feel that your life has fallen into the rat race of self-defeat, weight gain, and stress … or was it just over the holidays?

Do you feel that your life has fallen into the rat race of self-defeat, weight gain, and stress … or was it just over the holidays?

Do you feel that your life has fallen into the rat race of self-defeat, weight gain, and stress … or was it just over the holidays?

Well welcome to a New Year! Like every other new year, millions strive to set goals to better themselves in someway.

For five particular locations around the globe, called Blue Zones, a project funded by National Geographic and researched by team lead Daniel Buettner — those goals are already set habits with some of the longest living, happiest people on the planet.

Maybe it’s possible we can learn a thing or two about living that healthy happy life while setting forth with our own resolutions and live our youngest year yet?

The five regions found to contain the most centenarians (people living past one hundred) were found to be Okiniwa, Japan Sardinia Italy; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California.

So what can we learn from these cultures?

A team of medical researchers, anthropologists and other experts found nine common denominators:

1. Move naturally — exercise was just a natural part of their day. No gyms, weight lifting or marathons.

2. “Plan de vida” — or purpose. Knowing why you wake up in the morning can potentially tack on an additional seven years.

3. Downshift. Relieving stress from life is important to avoid major age-related disease. These cultures all have a daily practice of stress relief by either taking a nap, taking a few moments to remember ancestors in the case of the Okinawans, have time for prayer or in the case of the Italians — happy hour!

4. The Eighty Per cent Rule when eating. Only fill yourself until you are 80 per cent full and they all have their largest meal in the morning.

5. Each of these cultures consumed a predominantly plant based diet rich in beans and lentils with meat consumed on average around five times per month with a serving size about 3-4oz.

6. Daily/Moderate to in some places no alcohol with friends and/or food.

7. Over 98 per cent of the centenarians belonged to some faith-based community.

8. Putting their loved ones first by committing to a life partner, having children and keeping elders close by.

9. And finally, surrounding yourself with social circles that engage in healthy behaviours. Okinawans create groups of five friends who commit to life.

Research showed that happiness was contagious and necessary to be surrounded with other happy people if you want for yourself.

This doesn’t means skip the gym and indulge in a daily dose of alcohol as I know that’s exactly what some of you were thinking — but as you reflect on your own life and how you want to better yourself this year, think of which of these criteria you can implement more in your own life.

If you’re looking for a change in your own life, join me in Red Deer next Wednesday, Jan. 8, at the Sheraton at my Taste of Change talk. Check out for more information on how to register for free.

Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Thursday. She can be reached at

Just Posted

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

WATCH: Setters Place grand opening in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Setters Place officially opened to the public Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month