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BLUE ZONES: Grandma’s china
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DODGE COUNTY BLUE ZONES PROJECT

BLUE ZONES: Grandma’s china

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Trina Justman Reichert

Community Health Advocate

When I was little, I had a designated dresser drawer for my “Sunday Best.” Some of the things inside were my most treasured socks. They were simple white cotton that folded over at the ankle, but they were adorned with sweet, delicate lace all around the cuff. I was only allowed to wear them to church on Sundays or for other special occasions deemed appropriate by my mother. Sometimes, at random times during the week, I would sit on the floor and open that drawer just to pick them up and look at them.

What do you keep tucked away for safe keeping until an event calls for its unearthing? Do you have, perhaps, your good dishes and plates that you use only for holidays or when company comes? It seemed to be more common in years gone by that when couples would get married, they would pick out their china pattern or be gifted a lovely set of dishes as they created their home together. Thinking about those dishes, it always feels extra special to have a meal when it is served on those cherished pieces. It may feel like a stretch, but Grandma’s china feels like an easy metaphor when thinking about your health and well-being. Studies by Dan Buettner, creator of Blue Zones Project, reveal that the people that live the longest tend to regularly practice nine longevity habits; fittingly, they are called the Power Nine. One of them is eating until you are about 80% full. Many of our traditional portion sizes in America have grown, and along with that, the physical size of our dishes have done the same. When eating on Grandma’s china, it is likely that your portions will be smaller, as the size of your plate may often be smaller as well. What does the food around this beautifully set table look like? Do you see brightly colored fruits and vegetables? It’s likely that the event that prompted this meal may not seem complete without the contribution of a fresh garden salad or vegetable platter or someone’s special sweet potato or green bean dish. People who live longer fill their plates with plants, the habit we refer to as plant slant. If they consume meat, it is less often and in smaller amounts, about the size of a deck of cards about once a week. It may also be likely that if you are eating on your good plates, you may have gathered with some important people in your life. At the very core of our health and wellness is the foundation of our human connections. Having family and loved ones with whom you can celebrate life’s precious moments and offer encouragement during the struggles is essential to longevity.

If we’ve learned anything over the last year, perhaps one lesson may be to not just save our good things for a special occasion. Maybe health is reason enough to pull out the good china, put on the pretty socks, and toast to having another day to love the ones we’re with.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first certified Blue Zones Project site in the state. For more information, call 920-356-6547, email mmcbdbzprojectdodgecounty@marshfieldclinic.org or visit bluezonesproject.com.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first certified Blue Zones Project site in the state. For more information, call 920-356-6547, email mmcbdbzprojectdodgecounty@marshfieldclinic.org or visit bluezonesproject.com.

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