On my recent awesome adventure to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico this past weekend to attend my cousin’s Quinceañera, I re-learned some great lessons.

Usually my trips to Mexico aren’t planned far in advance and right now, I have a lot on my plate so I wasn’t sure if it was a great idea to go.

Yet, I booked my flight.

A bigger incentive was that my sister and mother would be there too! And that’s not always possible with our varied schedules.

I told myself that there’s no point in stopping my work and life only for funerals which is often what we all do. I want to enjoy friends and loved ones while they are alive not when they’re gone. So off I went to Guadalajara for the weekend…

I took loads of pictures but only posted this one.

My trip reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called, “Blue Zones.” I think you’ll love it.

While Mexico does not have a “Blue Zone” community (i.e. curated environments that encourage healthy diets and lifestyles by community leaders, citizens schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores, to optimize residents’ longevity and well-being), in my opinion, Mexico’s culture of eating in community, socializing, and volunteering checks some of the  “Blue Zones” highlights.

Mexicans connect with family, friends and neighbors just like the world’s longest-lived people! They eat in community daily and there are plenty of social circles that support healthy behaviors. Social isolation is not an issue.

 

9 shared qualities to follow from Blue Zones communities for living past 100:

 

1. The communities are built for movement

Blue Zones communities don’t have the conveniences that we have in America right in our homes. For example, in Costa Rica, to make the corn tortillas, people have to manually pound the corn with their hands, rather than have a food processor. A 104-year-old woman was found mowing her lawn each day with a machete.

2. Every person has a strong sense of purpose

Every person could articulate what they contributed to their community…and that’s tied to seven years of longevity.

3. A plant-based diet reigns supreme

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet was found to be a significant contributor to longevity. They did eat meat, but it was only about four times a month, so a lot different than here.

4. Overall, they simply eat less

If you look at America’s menus and diets, the caloric intake is through the roof.

5. But, they still drink red wine

Filled with antioxidants and heart healthy benefits, red wine is not off the table for the long-living residents in these communities.

6. They know how to downshift

Stress is linked to chronic inflammation, which is tied to most age-related diseases. Between napping, ancestor veneration, or other religious ceremonies, people in Blue Zone know to take time for themselves every day.

7. Blue Zone are faith-based communities

These community-driven goals and beliefs helped create purpose, connection, and fullfilment for all residents—which are all huge indicators of lifespan.

8. They put their families first…

Even beyond faith, people in Blue Zones prioritize their loved ones. Isolation is becoming an extra-indicator of stress and disease—people who have strong connections to loved ones are happier and healthier for longer.

9. …but have friends to call when they need support

Twenty-five years ago, the average person had three best friends. Today, it’s down to 1.5. At the end of the day, no diet or exercise is more important than having friends you can call up whenever you need to just talk or vent about something going on

 

Your environment is the biggest, most important, and most impactful thing you can change to favor your own happiness.

 

HOW we live and eat can favor our longevity and happiness.  Share your food, eat in community often, and relax in your day-to-day as much as possible.

Also make sure you get a good laugh in when you mess up. 🙂

Among many of the things I love about Mexican culture is the endless daily jokes they have about everything. I think I laughed every day that I was there. Their sense of humor is awesome! And it is actually what Blue Zones communities with centenarians embrace in order to live long, healthy, and happy lives.