Have you been to the Caribbeans? Awesome beaches, amazing food and the most friendly people! Yes, the Blue Zone regions we are going to talk about is in a Caribbean country, Costa Rica. Costa Rica has a good economy and health care to begin with. Many people in the peninsula of Nicoya can live up to over 100 years!
What is special about their lifestyles that mark them apart from other Blue Zone regions? Well, they get a lot of sunshine! As you can imagine, being in the most tropical region of the world, Costa Rica never misses the sun. The sun is the best source of vitamin D, and vitamin D work with calcium to helps us build strong bones. Our bones are the “backbone” of our lives! When people get older, hip fractures become serious issues. Statistics tell us that a hip fracture can result in a mortality of 10% at one month and 30% at one year. So, we definitely prefer our bones to be good and strong. In fact, if you can get about 15 minutes of sun exposure (on the legs and arms), you should have no need for Vitamin D supplements!
Another characteristic of Nicoyan lifestyle that sets it apart from other Latin American lifestyles is that they eat an early and light dinner. Eating major calories early in the day and less in the evening gives them more energy during daytime, and placing less metabolic stress on their bodies at night. This is a great lesson to learn! We have heard people saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and it is true! Pacing ourselves with meals throughout the day helps us stay energized and reduces the chance of overeating. So, let’s start on developing a healthy eating habit from now!
5-Minute Tasty Squash and Beans
“Arguably the most perfect meal you can eat, this 4-way beans, rice, squash and avocado are food cornerstones in Nicoya, Costa Rica—consumed by centenarians there for centuries. This is high in fiber, complex carbohydrates and offers complete proteins. You could eat only this meal and be healthy for life. And it’s incredibly easy!”
1 cup black beans
1 cup of brown rice
1 large squash
4 T olive oil
hot sauce of your choice
dash of salt
Slow Food Way
Soak beans overnight, rinse thoroughly and boil (add laurel or garlic if desired) for 50 minutes.
Peel and seed squash, dice into half-inch cubes and toss lightly in olive oil.
Place the squash on a cookie sheet and bake 350°F for 50 minutes.
Serve all hot ingredients together. Top with sliced avocado with a dash of hot sauce.
1 can of black beans
1 pouch of precooked brown rice (available at Trader Joe’s)
1 bag of seeded, peeled and cubed squash, tossed lightly in olive oil
Microwave all ingredients in separate bowl until hot.
Serve together. Top with sliced avocado with a dash of hot sauce.