A Blue Zone Ministry
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
If he is open to the experience, a psychiatrist receives wisdom in listening to his patients and their families.
In 2005 Lena Pope Home, a nonprofit community organization, awarded me the position of consulting psychiatrist and a special opportunity. The opportunity to learn from foster parents. To appreciate the contributions of Lena Pope Home to Fort Worth and Tarrant County refer to www.lenapope.org.
It has been the better part of a decade since I consulted at Lena Pope Home. Certain foster parents and the lessons learned from them remain clearly in my memory. I most especially remember parents who not only raised biological children and foster children, but also adopted children. These parents lived their faith through loving and caring for children.
One couple afforded me the opportunity to observe their faith in action and learn what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist. I observed their values derived stemming from faith in their caring for their biological, adopted and foster children. The official site of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at www.adventist.org describes these values.
The Blue Zone of the United States
Reading Dan Buettner's The Blue Zones Solutions and The Blue Zones, 9 Lessons for Leading a Longer Life and informing myself about "The Blue Zones Project" through www.bluezones.com, I was not surprised to read of a Blue Zone in the United States, having learned about the members of Seventh-day Adventist Church through Lena Pope Home.
Mr. Buettner writes of the California city of Loma Linda, sixty miles east of Los Angeles, noting "...Loma Linda appears to be one of the few places in the United States where a true Blue Zone has taken root." Many residents of Loma Linda are Seventh-day Adventists.
According to the Pew Research Center at https://www.pewresearch.org, "Seventh-day Adventists make up one half of 1% of the U.S. adult population ... Seventh-day Adventists are among the most racially and ethnically diverse American religious groups..."
The most well known member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church may be Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson, a world famous pediatric neurosurgeon and the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Roots of Health
The history of the Adventist healthy lifestyle is noted on the church’s official website. “The 1860s marked the beginning of the Adventist Church’s expansive health reform efforts and healing ministries. Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan was established in 1866 as the first Adventist owned and operated medical institution ...In addition to organized healthcare institutions, early Adventist health reform involved early support of the germ theory of disease, evidence of the benefits of a vegetarian diet and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs.”
Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center is a major research and teaching institution. There are Adventist hospitals in seventeen states in the United States and twenty countries across the world.
Recently Adventist Health announced, “Hospital and clinic network Adventist Health acquired Blue Zones, an organization working in dozens of cities to promote longevity and community well-being.”
Lessons from America’s Blue Zone
Mr. Buettner describes ten "Loma Linda Blue Zone Secrets" of good health, wellbeing and longevity in The Blue Zones, 9 Lessons for Leading a Longer Life.
* "Find a sanctuary in time." The Seventh-day Adventists observe a twenty-four hour Sabbath.
* "Maintain a healthy body mass ... " for your body build and height. According to the Center for Disease Control, “Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems…”
* "Get regular moderate exercise." Seventh-day Adventists hike, among their physical activities.
* "Spend time with like minded friends." Adventist families routinely share meals with other families.
* "Snack on nuts." Adventists eat nuts throughout the week and eat all types. The nutritional value of nuts is described in a Healthline post by Ruairi Robertson, Ph.D. at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-healthy-nuts.`
* "Give something back." The foster parents I had the privilege to assist are an example. The official website for the Seventh-day Adventist Church explains, “We must be good stewards of our time, energy and bodies: the environment, material resources and each other.”
* "Eat meat in moderation." Many Seventh-day Adventists are vegetarians or pescatarians.
* "Eat an early, light dinner." Many Seventh-day Adventists eat a relatively large breakfast.
* "Put more plants in your diet." Adventists consume vegetables throughout the week.
* "Drink plenty of water." Adventists avoid popular American beverages.
Inspired by words of The Bible, members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church live out lengthy lives of good health, wellbeing and productivity. As exemplified by the foster parents of Lena Pope Home, they engage in ministry with quiet integrity.
It is very consistent with the history, culture and values of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that Adventist Health supports the mission of Blue Zones, “Informed and inspired by the world’s longest-lived cultures, we help people live longer, better lives by improving their environment.”