We’ve had a fantastic start to our #SadiesKitchenTakeover series and this week, we’re going back to some of our early posts. The lovely Dr Ciara Kelly of The Irish Balance recently shared her thoughts on figuring out ways to live healthier, more sustainable lives – but in ways that differ from some of the quick fixes and fads we might see online.

Below is a highlight from her Q&A over on our Instagram page.

Enjoy X

“The Blue Zones are parts of the world where people statistically live the longest – and healthiest – lives. From my readings on the topic – some of which are on my blog – I want to share 5 principles of living a healthy lifestyle,” Ciara explains. “These are based on the 9 lessons the Blue Zone reseachers took, that they found all the populations (five in total) had in common that contributed to their longevity and health.”


1. Natural Movement 

The first is natural movement. And that means being active at a low to moderate intensity throughout our day. So many of us might spend all day sitting in our jobs, so it’s really important to break up a period of sitting in our day – even whether we’re sitting or not with bouts of activities.

This might be taking short walks in the morning on our lunch break and evening. Active Transport for example to get to work or school, or taking a little break every hour, if you’re sitting for long periods. And remember you can snack while on the move!

2. Nouishment

Nourishing our bodies in company is really important, so trying to eat as many of our meals, as we can, socially, which is something I think gets forgotten a lot on social media. The really nice part that come with meals – spending time with friends who are enjoying a meal, or with your family and trying to do that at least once a day.

And the second thing is having a plant slant to our diet. So whatever diet you prefer to follow that’s fine, but basing your diet on fruits, vegetables and wholegrains is really, really important to give us all of the micronutrients they provide, lots of fibre and all the health benefits.


3. Connection

Number three is connection, and I think this one’s really important in the world we currently live in where technology makes it so easy to spend more time online than offline, and to neglect real world connection. It’s so important to take computer is to make time, every single week, ideally every single day, for your family and your friends.

Call that friend you’ve been meaning to (stop pretending seeing their Instagram stories is an excuse to not call them!) Call your family, make it happen!

4. Reflection


Number four is what I call reflection, and you can think of it as stress management. So we all know there’s so many different things in our daily lives, particuraly in the 21st century that can stress us out. We know technology makes us ‘on’ all the time as well. So it’s really important to find ways that work for you to manage stress, and it’ll look different for everyone.

It might be breathing techniques I use an app called Calm, some use Headspace. It might be exercise, talking about a problem, whatever it may be, you need to find it.

5. Purpose

The final one is my favourite and it’s a concept known as ‘Ikigai’ – loosely translated it means your reason for being, so what makes you jump out of bed in the morning, your passion in life.

It’s a mix of what you love doing, what you’re good at, what you can get paid for and what the world needs, and if you find the centre point of those four that’s Ikigai. It will look different for everyone.  I think the best place to start figuring out what makes you happy, is to just sit down and write little list of what makes you happy, what you’re good at what you’re getting paid for what the world needs, and see if any of those match up.


Be sure to follow Ciara on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more helpful tips and she has a blog too.