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Healthy 2024-

Updated: Jan 26

Let's learn from the Centennials of the Blue Zones

Blue zones are places where people live longer, healthier lives. Scientists have studied these places to understand why people live to be 100 years old or more.

There are five main blue zones located in different countries. The first is Okinawa, a group of islands in Japan where people eat a lot of vegetables, tofu, and fish and practice "hara hachi bu" which means eating until you're 80% satiated. The second blue zone is Sardinia, an island in Italy where people follow a Mediterranean diet that includes many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. They also drink red wine in moderation. The third blue zone is Nicoya, a region of Costa Rica where people eat a diet rich in beans, corn, and tropical fruits and lead an active lifestyle. The fourth blue zone is Ikaria, an island in Greece where people also follow a Mediterranean diet, take naps daily and have a strong sense of community. The fifth blue zone is Loma Linda, a city in California, United States, where people follow a low-fat vegetarian diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. They also prioritize their spiritual and social connections.

Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and dried peas are commonly consumed in some blue zone countries. However, in Okinawa, Japan, lentils, chickpeas, and dried peas are not traditional foods in their diet. They consume a lot of tofu, which is made from soybeans.

While legumes may not be prominent in all blue zone countries, they are generally considered healthy and nutritious foods that can be included in a balanced diet.

We have created the following recipes, taking inspiration from five Blue Zone locations and adding a Montana twist using locally grown lentils, chickpeas, and dried peas. We hope to inspire you to try these recipes at home and add more vitality to your day.

Tuna and Chickpea Croquettes with Lemon Aioli

These bite-sized nibbles are a healthy and filling snack. Similar croquettes can be found in Sardinia, where many centenarians can enjoy them with family and friends at the end of the day. We used canned tuna, but you can substitute fresh flaked fish.

Ingredients for the croquettes

• 2 cans of Tuna, line caught

• 2 beaten eggs

• ¼ cup peeled chickpeas

• 1 ½ tablespoon chives

• ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• ¼ cup of cooked beluga lentils

Ingredients for the aioli

• ½ cup mayonnaise

• 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

• zest of ½ lemon

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

• 1 teaspoon chopped capers


1. Combine mayonnaise, dill, chopped capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, and chives. Set aside.

2. Combine tuna, chickpeas, eggs, one tablespoon of chives, and paprika and form into 20 small patties.

3. Preheat the pan over medium-high heat and add oil.

4. Cook the tuna and chickpea bites for 3 minutes per side until golden brown.

5. Add to a paper towel-lined plate for 5 minutes.

6. On a tray, decorate the croquettes and sprinkle them with the lentils.

6. Serve with lemon and dill sauce.


It can be served warm or at room temperature.

You can also form larger croquettes and serve as a main dish.

Arugula Salad with Beets, Lentils, Goat Cheese & Almonds


Arugula is an excellent source of Vitamin K, which forms and strengthens the bones and limits neuronal damage in the brain. Along with essential vitamins, arugula is a good source of calcium, a mineral needed for the typical structure of bones and teeth, nerve and muscle function, and the function of digestive enzymes.


In this recipe, we use arugula as our main ingredient and enhance this salad's nutritional value by adding beets, which increase oxygen uptake, lengthening the time it takes to become fatigued and allowing people to stay active longer. Beets also contain antioxidants, compounds in foods that help repair DNA.


Most Blue Zone regions do not eat much dairy; instead, they opt for goat cheese and milk.


For added protein and creaminess, we spread store-bought hummus onto the plate and lay the salad on top.


Ingredients for the Salad

6 cups Arugula

1/3 cup Goat Cheese, crumbled

Two beets, halved and sliced into thin wheels

1/2 cup cooked brown or black lentils

1/3 cup of sliced almonds

1/4 cup of store-bought hummus, per plate as the first layer


Ingredients for the Dressing

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

2 Tablespoons Rasberry jam

Salt and Pepper

Raspberries, for garnish (optional)



1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan with a steamer basket. 2. Place sliced beets into the steamer basket. Steam until fork tender. Once steamed, cut them into 1/2x1/2 cubes.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

4. Drain the beets and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle the beets with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

5. Roast for 5-7 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool off

6. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and raspberry jam until evenly mixed. Add a few fresh raspberries, salt, and pepper for additional raspberry flavor.

7. Spread 1/4 cup of store-made hummus on the six plates.

8. Toss the arugula with the dressing, the goat cheese, roasted beets, sliced almonds, and additional raspberries if desired.

8. Top the mixed salad on top of the spread hummus.

9. Top with more almonds, goat cheese, and a tablespoon of cooked brown or black lentils.

10. Enjoy in good company.


Fish with Lime and Coconut-

If we were close to the Caribbean Sea, we would be using different types of fish, like red snapper, bass, grouper, or mahi-mahi. The idea is to procure smaller fish versus large predator fish as they have more mercury than the small, faster fish.


Serves 6

2 lbs. skinless fis from the list above

5-6 TBS lime juice, about 2-3 limes depending on size

1.5 TBSP olive oil

1 1/2 cups of chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)

Three large garlic cloves

3/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk

One teaspoon grated lime peel1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup cooked beluga lentils, as colorful protein-dense garnish.


1.     Preheat oven to 350.

2.     Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; place in an 11x7x2 inch glass baking dish.

3.     Drizzle with two teaspoons of lime juice.

4.     Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic; sauté for about 7 minutes.

5.     Add coconut milk and remaining lime juice; boil until thick, about 4 minutes. Stir in lime peel.

6.     Spoon sauce over fish. Bake until fish is opaque in the center, about 20 minutes.

7.     Transfer to a platter.

8.     Whisk in juices in the baking dish. Spoon around fish; top with cilantro and cooked lentils.

9. Enjoy in good company.

Endive with curried yellow pea hummus

This recipe is both easy to make and highly nutritious. While it may not come from any of the blue zones, it incorporates Mediterranean ingredients like endive, tahini, orange, peas, and lentils. It's perfect as an appetizer for your next meeting or happy hour, and we all know that eating with others is great for both our physical and mental health.

Ingredients for Hummus

• 1 cup dried yellow peas, rinsed and drained

• 2 1/2 cups of water

• 1/3 cup tahini

• 1/4 cup orange juice

• one clove of garlic, chopped

• 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

• ½ teaspoon of ground food

• one teaspoon kosher salt

• two tablespoons (30 ml) or more of warm water

• olive oil

• 2 or 3 endives, petals only

• ¼ cup beluga or brown lentils, cooked, as garnish


1.To make the peas tender and soft, combine the dried peas and water in a medium pot. Cover the pot and bring the water to a gentle boil. Now, reduce the heat and let the peas simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes. Once done, drain the peas and rinse them with cold water. Let them cool down before using them in your recipe.

2. In a food processor, blend cooked peas, tahini, orange juice, garlic, cumin, curry powder, and salt until smooth. Scrape down the sides occasionally.

3. With the motor running, add warm water until you achieve the desired consistency.

4. On a serving tray, place the endive petals. Spread with a tablespoon of hummus.

5. Sprinkle with Sumac powder and a drizzle of olive oil on each petal.

6. Garnish the tray with the lentils.


• If you want a creamier texture, add 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) of oil when mixing all the ingredients in step 2.

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