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 Austin, TX 78759, USA


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©2017 by Optimal RD: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists


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The Blue Zones-naps and more wine?----Ikaria, Greece

February 11, 2019

Mediterranean diet is regarded as one of the most healthiest diet in the world. Well, the last Blue Zone region we are going to see here is indeed another mediterranean diet follower.


Ikaria is a tiny Greek island in the  Aegean Sea. It has been a historically isolated place where people there focus a lot on family values and traditions. Similar to the Mediterranean lifestyles the Sardinians in Italy have, Ikarians as well show the world that red wine is the secret to their long lives.


Besides the diet, the “centenarians” in Ikaria share an interesting habit--they are used to take a nap as an afternoon break. Do you know that people who nap regularly are 35% less likely to die from heart disease? It is probably because that napping can rest our body and lower our stress hormones. Stress hormones such as cortisol can lead to not only weight gains but other health complications--we would not want a rocket-high stress level. Napping may not always be possible for some of us, but there are many other ways to relax; meditation is an awesome way of relaxation and it does not require anything more than a place to sit. Other options include doing physical exercises, going out with friends or even just taking a nice shower! It is very important for you to find your own way to deal with stress, and relax yourself physically and mentally. Ikarians have showed us how important that is!



Ikarian Longevity Stew With Black Eyed Peas


Great recipe from the “Blue Zones” region, Ikaria, for a rainy day (or any day). It’s also perfect for anyone following the Mediterranean diet.




  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 fennel bulb

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) black eyed peas (with dried peas, bring to a boil, boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour. Drain, rinse, and use.)

  • 1 large, firm ripe tomato, finely chopped

  • 2 tsp tomato paste, diluted in ¼ cup water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • salt to taste

  • 1 bunch dill, finely chopped


  1. Heat half the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, and fennel bulb stirring occasionally, until soft (about 12 minutes). Add the black-eyed peas and toss to coat in the oil.

  2. Add the tomato, tomato paste and enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the black-eyed peas are about half way cooked. (Check after 40 minutes, but it may take over an hour.)

  3. Add the chopped dill and season with salt.

  4. Continue cooking until the black-eyed peas are tender. Remove, pour in remaining raw olive oil and serve.



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