Centenarian-Style Vegetable Feast

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Happy New Year!

This year, the Fun Food Feed will be featuring dishes inspired by the Blue Zone (BZ) discovered in the United States, and BZ Project Communities.

Blue Zone is a “small, homogenous geographical area where the population shares the same lifestyle and environment, and its exceptional longevity has been scientifically proven.”

BZ Project Communities differ from Blue Zones, in that they are not discovered, but intensionally created.  The BZ team works with the community’s local leaders, government, businesses, schools and parks to create an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice.

This environment supports the nine shared BZ lifestyle habits:

  1. Plant-Based Diet, including legumes as a staple
  2. Moderate Calorie Intake, stopping eating when feel 80% full
  3. Limiting Alcohol Intake to 1-2 glasses per evening, or abstaining altogether
  4. Moving Naturally, growing gardens, walking to the store, house and yard work by hand
  5. Life Purpose
  6. Stress Reduction, with meditation, prayer, naps and socializing
  7. Belonging, to a positive community, often faith-based
  8. Family, with members committed to helping each other
  9. Social Circle, of several supportive members with healthy behaviors

BZ Project Community examples include Albert Lea Minnesota, Fort Worth Texas, Spencer Iowa, and Beach Cities California.

BLUE ZONE – LOMA LINDA, CA

Researchers found one Blue Zone in the United States.  Unlike the other Blue Zones, it was not in an isolated region, atop a mountain range or an island.  Instead, this community lies within the largest county in the country – San Bernardino, California.    Their healthful choices, believed to contribute to their longevity, are guided by religion.

Winter’s featured longevity Blue Zone is the Adventist Community of Loma Linda California.

Wholeness and health has reportedly been an emphasis of the Adventist church, since it began in the 1860s.  It advocates abstaining from animal products, alcohol, tobacco, drugs and caffeine.  Each Saturday is a day of rest, a time when Adventists can “commune with God and one another.”  Regular nature walks are part of how they stay active, relax and connect with each other.  Other activities include cycling, water skiing and volunteering in their communities.

Adventists’ diets are reportedly rich in whole grains, nuts, beans and colorful fruits and vegetables.  In Loma Linda, they have diverse tastes, enjoying many regional cuisines.  Tex-Mex is a said to be a favorite.  Breakfast often includes whole grain cereals, like oatmeal and Weet-Bix.

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This Winter’s Featured Recipe is for Centenarian-Style Vegetable Feast.  As the temperature drops outside, we often turn toward hearty comfort foods.  Firing up our ovens and cast iron crowned ranges for dinner, fills the home with warmth and delicious aromas, and brings friends and family together.  A bright green pesto, made from fresh herbs and garlic, gives the feast dishes a punch of flavor.

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CENTENARIAN-STYLE VEGETABLE FEAST

Preparation Time: ~60 minutes
Yield:  ~4 – 8 servings

Ingredients:

Mushroom assortment (~1 pound portobellos, maitakes, king oysters), cut into thick slices
Root assortment (2 carrots, 4 parsnips), cut into long thick slices
Brussel sprouts, halved
Bragg’s liquid aminos (ideally in spray bottle, soy sauce or tamari can substitute)
Salt & pepper to taste
High heat oil
Pesto
Nuts, olives and fresh herbs for garnish

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Equipment:

Cutting board
Knife
Steamer pot
1-2 baking sheet(s)
2 large cast iron skillets
Hot mitts
Spatula
Processor & rubber spatula (for pesto)
Serving platter(s)

Steps:

1.Cut mushrooms and vegetables.

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2. Lightly steam vegetables in steamer pot, until slightly softened but not yet fork tender.

3. Spray (or sprinkle) mushrooms and vegetables lightly with aminos.

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4. Pour a little oil onto palms, and use to lightly coat vegetables.

5. Arrange vegetables in single layer on baking sheet(s), and bake at 400F until browned and fork tender, flipping half way through cooking.

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6. Meanwhile, heat two large cast iron skillets on high heat, until very hot.

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7. Donning hot mitts and taking great care to protect oneself from heated pans and steam, sear maitakes between two skillets until browned, flipping maitakes halfway through cooking.  Set aside.

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8. In skillets on medium high heat, saute portobellos and king oysters until browned, flipping halfway through cooking.  Set aside.

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9. Arrange mushrooms and vegetables on serving platter(s).  Spoon pesto into serving bowl. Garnish platter(s) with a little pesto, fresh herbs, nuts and olives.

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REFERENCES:

Blue Zones website

Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and living like the world’s healthiest people. National Geographic Books, 2015.

Pes, Giovanni Mario, et al. “Male longevity in Sardinia, a review of historical sources supporting a causal link with dietary factors.” European journal of clinical nutrition 69.4 (2015): 411.

Poulain, Michel, et al. “Identification of a geographic area characterized by extreme longevity in the Sardinia island: the AKEA study.” Experimental gerontology 39.9 (2004): 1423-1429.

Adventist website

 

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