What do the terms ‘January Blues’ and ‘Blue Monday’ mean to you? According to a thick flurry of news headlines, this is the most bleak time of year and Blue Monday - 21st January 2019 - is the most depressing day. So, we’re turning the concept of feeling ‘blue’ on its head and sharing the secrets of ‘blue zones’ - the happiest, healthiest places on our planet. By celebrating the blues of a different kind, maybe we can lift spirits in Scotland…and beyond!
According to studies, the ‘blue zones’ of health boast the highest concentration of centenarians and clusters of people who grow old without health problems. Two famous blue zones - Greece (Ikaria) and Italy (Sardinia) - are known for their traditional, mediterranean diet, which is high in vegetables, healthy fats and contains smaller amounts of meat and dairy. It’s naturally high in locally-grown, unprocessed dishes too. Here in Fife, we’re lucky to have the Ardross Farm Shop and lots of markets, including the regular event at Bowhouse. So, there’s plenty of inspiration if you want to get busy in the kitchen. Or, treat yourself to our ‘blue zone’ style dishes at Cocoa Tree Cafe. We highly recommend our:-
thick and nourishing mixed bean soup
mediterranean-inspired toasted focaccia (Barnetts Bakery) with tapenade, roasted peppers, tomatoes and greens
hummus and tapenade snack plater
Charm Of Costa Rica
According to research, Costa Rica is a blue zone for both health and happiness. Author Dan Buettner believes their all-round wellness can be attributed to 3 magic ingredients: pleasure, purpose and pride. Of course, we also know that this beautiful country is a home to the mood-boosting cocoa bean! Learn more about the endorphins-inducing power of cocoa and dark chocolate via Readers Digest. And you can find our collection of dark chocolate - handmade in Pittenweem - in our village shop and online.
Spirit Of Community
Feeling a sense of connection to the people around us is vital to our health and happiness. While social media has a part to play, there’s no substitute for up-close community to combat feelings of loneliness. In the world’s blue zones, there’s a clear emphasis on family and connection. For example, in Okinawa, Japan, people have a close-knit ‘moai’ to offer support throughout the ebb and flow of daily life. Even if social clubs and group activities aren’t your thing, it’s still worth getting out and about. Here in Pittenweem and around the East Neuk, we’re so lucky to have an abundance of traditional, village market places - from butchers and bakers to libraries, post offices, pubs and cafes. And if you get out there, you may just bump into someone who’ll help to put a spring in your step...
What’s The Point?
The answer to that question is different for each one of us. Yet, blue zone studies show that having a passion - sense of purpose - is vital to wellness. What do you care about? What gives you pleasure? Can you plan an experience that will lift your spirits? It might be taking a course, de-cluttering, volunteering, writing to a loved one, helping a neighbour, organising a day trip…or just arranging coffee with an old friend.
The Walk Of Life
Connecting with the natural world - and getting some exercise - is another ‘blue zone’ staple. Here in Scotland, we have an abundance of beautiful coastal walks, parks and country trails, so there’s every reason to explore. And of course, if you want some serious exercise, look no further than the steep, historic wynds of Pittenweem. Start at the harbour and work your way up to the high street. We’ll be in our shop and cafe, ready to welcome you with a warm fire and well-earned refreshments…
Discover more via these uplifting articles:-
National Geographic (Blues Zones - Happiness)
National Geographic (Blue Zones - Health)
Time Magazine - 5 Places Where People Live The Longest And Healthiest Lives
Equally, if you’re concerned about suffering from ’seasonally affected disorder,’ or feeling depressed, you can find more advice via NHS.
Wishing you health and happiness….