If you’ve been hanging around me long enough, you know I’m passionate about the Blue Zones. The 5 Blue Zone regions of the world, where more folks are living to the age of 100, free of disease of modern day society, include: Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica and Loma Linda, California.

This past March, good fortune allowed me to meet two amazing Blue Zoners in Loma Linda. This area has the most concentrated population of Seven Day Adventists of all different nationalities. Most are completely vegetarian, abstain from alcohol and caffeine, and live on average, 12 years longer than most Americans. Take a look at what these witty and with it centenarians+ had to say.

Meet Loma Linda, Blue Zoner: Benita

She’s a sassy and savvy centenarian, plus! At 103 years of age, rosy-cheeked Benita Welebir greeted me with a bright smile and even brighter hue of pink lip stick. I noticed her bountiful and thick head of hair! She looked decades younger than her years! I commented “Oh you are so beautiful, Bonita!” She replied,
“It’s Benita, not Bonita, after my father Ben!”

Benita studied me, then reported, “You don’t have any wrinkles! Is that your natural color hair? I like it, it looks good on you! You have nice high cheek bones.” I thanked her and then said, “lets talk about you!”

Skilled on her iphone, Benita pulled up a Blue Zone article highlighting when Dan Buetner came to visit the centenarians. “Here I am sitting at the table in the red sweater!”

What’s your secret to a long and happy life?

BENITA: “I’m not complete vegetarian. I’ll eat what is served but I prefer not to eat animals. I’m extremely fond of vegetables and would be happy with a big plate of them. I love being in the garden looking for green beans!”

Other tips: Everything is beautiful. Put a smile on your face. Live to serve others. Get married (she was married over 75 years). Get enough rest. “A person who is well-rested can do twice as much. I’m sure to get 8 hours of sleep!” No alcohol. “My children are trying to tell me differently, but I stay away from the wine!”

Benita is very religious and states there is a better place we need to prepare for and that she’s been preparing all her life. “Go to church and spread the word”