The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 by Dan Buettner

The Blue Zones Kitchen book cover


Goodreads: The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: December 3, 2019

Official Summary

Best-selling author Dan Buettner debuts his first cookbook, filled with 100 longevity recipes inspired by the Blue Zones locations around the world, where people live the longest.

Building on decades of research, longevity expert Dan Buettner has gathered 100 recipes inspired by the Blue Zones, home to the healthiest and happiest communities in the world. Each dish–for example, Sardinian Herbed Lentil Minestrone; Costa Rican Hearts of Palm Ceviche; Cornmeal Waffles from Loma Linda, California; and Okinawan Sweet Potatoes–uses ingredients and cooking methods proven to increase longevity, wellness, and mental health. Complemented by mouthwatering photography, the recipes also include lifestyle tips (including the best times to eat dinner and proper portion sizes), all gleaned from countries as far away as Japan and as near as Blue Zones project cities in Texas. Innovative, easy to follow, and delicious, these healthy living recipes make the Blue Zones lifestyle even more attainable, thereby improving your health, extending your life, and filling your kitchen with happiness.

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The Blue Zones Kitchen includes recipes from the so-called “blue zones,” areas where the residents (particularly older ones who adhere to the more traditional diets) live longer than anywhere else on Earth, largely because of what they eat.

I’ve tried three of the recipes—roasted vegetables, sweet potato tarts, and a ratatouille—and all were approachable and included ingredients I was easily able to find at my local grocery store (some ingredients might be a little tougher).  The sweet potato tart recipe did tell me to use far more potatoes than I actually needed for the filling, but otherwise the recipes worked and were delicious.  I would be interested in making more or even purchasing a copy of the book to consult, since I initially borrowed it from the library.

I’ve seen some complaints in other reviews that the recipes aren’t “really” healthy because they sometimes include things like white rice and sugar, but the book is a record of what people in these areas actually eat—and they sometimes eat sugar.  If you want a zero sugar diet, that’s a different cookbook.  However, in addition to the recipes, The Blue Zones Kitchen includes information on the general diet of each area, the staple foods in each area that promote longevity (such as olive oil or sourdough bread), and other habits that the residents have.  This means that, while sugar is eaten, the people don’t have dessert every day.  (Also, the sweet potato tarts I made had no sugar in the actual sweet potato filling, just some brown sugar sprinkled on top, so it’s clear how this would be a much healthier dessert option than, say, a cupcake.)  Similarly, the people in these areas do eat meat but rarely, so the authors decided to make all recipes vegetarian (though I think fish might be mentioned occasionally).

A communal approach to food and strong social networks all also important for longevity, and the book clarifies this time and again.  It’s not just about cutting out bad foods or eating the “superfoods;” it’s a whole approach to food and living.

If you’re looking for a straightforward cookbook with simple whole ingredients and approachable recipes, I would recommend this.  I don’t personally cook a lot simply because I find it a bit boring and I have other people in my life who actually enjoy cooking, but I had no problem with any of the recipes I attempted so far, and I thought the meals turned out great.  (I also generally do like vegetables and prefer them to meat, however, so I can see how that might play a factor.)

4 stars

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