How To Eat Like You’ll Live To 100

Chef Simeon Hall Jr, of La Hiki at Four Seasons Ko Olina, had a message for a gathering of 40 west siders trying to eat healthier:

“Food that is good doesn’t have to taste bad.”

Then he went on to prove it, with a salad made from fresh local vegetables and Kauaʻi beef.

The event, held in a classroom at the Kroc Center, was part of the kickoff for the Blue Zones project.

Blue Zones are the five places in the world where people live the longest, most active lives.

Barbagia region of Sardinia – Mountainous highlands of inner Sardinia with the world’s highest concentration of male centenarians.

Ikaria, Greece – Aegean Island with one of the world’s lowest rates of middle age mortality and the lowest rates of dementia.

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – World’s lowest rates of middle age mortality, second highest concentration of male centenarians.

Seventh Day Adventists – Highest concentration is around Loma Linda, California. They live 10 years longer than their North American counterparts.

Okinawa, Japan – Females over 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.

The goal of the Blue Zones project is to turn the entire world into a Blue Zone, by promoting the lifestyle that’s lived in those five places—one that ‘s proven to extend life and promote happiness.

The Power 9 Blue Zones

Hall’s demonstration focused on eating. He urged the audience to emphasize flavor. “I don’t care what anybody says,” Hall declared. “If you are going to eat healthy, and it tastes like you’re eating healthy—you’re not going to eat healthy.”

The audience laughed in agreement and relief.

We’re very lucky in Hawaiʻi. We can get fresh fruit and vegetables year round. People trying to eat a plant-based diet in New York, or Boston, Philadelphia, suffer through a dozen weeks without any truly fresh, truly local plant life. The the only fresh veggies on offer come across the country on refrigerated trucks, or are exhumed from cold storage facilities.

It is harder for them to find healthy food that tastes good.

But not for us.

The vegetables in Hall’s salad came from Kahumana Farms, one of his favorite local food producers. It contained:

  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Radishes (two types)
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Celery

He sliced the veggies very thin, using a mandoline, and tossed them in a homemade vinaigrette. (Kahumana Farms is one of my favorites too, and you can read about our love of their weekly CSA box.)

Alongside the salad, Hall added a small portion of Kunoa Cattle Company beef, which is pasture-raised on Kauaʻi. I could of course have eaten five or six more servings, but, in Blue Zones, meat is served in small, 3 to 4 ounce portions—or about the size of a deck of cards.

chef simeon hall blue zones fresh Kahumana Farms vegetable and Kunoa Cattle Company steak salad

I regret not snapping a photo that shows all of the vegetables, but I promise they were there! The cut of steak was flank steak, which normally can be quite a tough cut but certainly was not in this case. Chef Hall said he grilled it to medium rare at the restaurant, knowing that it would get up to medium by the time he served it at Kroc Center.

The salad got raves, and everyone agreed with Chef Hall that we felt full after eating it—but not that kind of full where you need to take a nap.

To find out about future Blue Zones events, follow Blue Zones Project Kapolei-ʻEwa on Facebook.

Photo of Simeon Hall Jr. via BZP Hawaii.