Transform your pantry—start cooking like the Blue Zones
We’re hearing a lot about people living long, vibrant lives well into their 90’s and 100’s in the Blue Zones.
photo credit: Shantanu Pal
We can eat for longevity, and the new bestseller, The Blue Zones Kitchen shows us how.
The Blue Zones Kitchen – 100 Recipes to Live to 100 brings us traditional recipes from homes around the world—Sardinia, Okinawa, Nicoya, Ikaria, and Loma Linda. These recipes rely on spices, herbs, beans, whole grains, and rarely call for any long list of ingredients.
As long as your pantry is stocked with essential spices and the Asian-inspired staples, this can be an easy transition to healthier eating.
Start by organizing your pantry.
Dedicate just a few hours to take everything out of your cabinets or spice rack and check expiration dates. Make a list of what you already have, along with what’s expired and needs to be replaced.
You’ll need most of these dry herbs on-hand for your Blue Zones Kitchen:
red pepper flakes
And fresh herbs. Grow your own when you can and save money. Some of these may be substituted with dry herbs (exceptions: garlic, cilantro, ginger, parsley, dill, mint):
Many of the Asian/Okinawan recipes for the Blue Zones call for ingredients that can be more difficult to find, especially organic.
Having Asian pantry staples on-hand is the key to quick and easy Okinawan-Japanese inspired meals: soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, white miso, red miso, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, mirin (sweet rice wine), kombu, bonito flakes, tempeh, somen noodles, dried porcini mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shitake mushrooms.
Finding reliable online sources saves time, money, and frustration from driving all over just to find a few essential items.
I began searching for organic food sources online and discovered some companies only sell in large bulk quantities or require paid memberships. Neither works for me. Unless you own a restaurant or run a co-op this is not practical.
I’ve narrowed my search down to two sources:
vitacost.com - Ships anywhere in the contiguous United States. Free shipping with orders over $49 ($4.99 shipping on orders less than $49). Thousands of products are available with many organic brands you’ll recognize. Filter your search by brand to target favorites. I signed up for emails and got a 20 percent off code on my first order, received four email updates until delivery, and just two days after ordering my box arrived via FedEx with high-quality packing and protective dividers between items.
wholefoodsmarket.com - If you live near a Whole Foods brick-and-mortar store you can get same-day home delivery, but this is only available in areas with local Whole Foods. This is a good source for organic dry spices, rice, beans, and fresh produce. Asian specialty items may be limited.
How we eat is all about routine and habits. Habits won’t be changed by motivation alone—you need determination backed by preparation. When you’re ready to avoid falling back into the same-old routine of restaurants, take-out, and frozen food, you can enjoy healthy holistic meals every day.