Sharing food is a key to long wellness

Friendsgiving has evolved into a totally customisable, modern tradition to celebrate friendship, says Dan Buettner. Food-with-friends is as old as civilization, but the term “Friendsgiving” was fittingly popularised by the TV show Friends.


1. There are no rules to Friendsgiving.

Unlike traditional Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving doesn’t have the expectations of a lavish meal with perfect place settings. It can be a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres affair, a take-out feast, a picnic in the park, or a board game night with your best buds. You can do it the weekend after Thanksgiving, the weekend before, or even as a leftovers celebration the Friday after Thanksgiving. 

2. Celebrate stress-free.

Stress can reduce the ability of your immune system to fight off illnesses and adds to your body’s overall inflammation. Although one of the Blue Zones Power 9 longevity principles is Family-First, there is no denying that sometimes holiday togetherness can be stressful, whether it’s too many cooks in the kitchen or bickering about politics or family squabbles. Friendsgiving is a way to sit down at the table with your family of choice, those who are your cheerleaders and support system. Recent studies support a notable link between brain health and having a group of close friends.

3. Play games.

A recent study associated activities like reading books or magazines or playing board games or cards with a lower risk of dementia in older adults. Pull out your old favorites like Twister to get everyone moving, or try a new game that will get everyone laughing.

4. Practice active listening.

To celebrate friendship and take your relationships to a deeper level, remember that conversation should be a two-way street—it’s important to share and be vulnerable, but it’s even more important to listen.

5. Embrace potluck-style dining. 

Bring something everyone will love—it doesn’t even have to be traditional “Thanksgiving” food. Adventists from the blue zones area of Loma Linda participate in weekly potlucks that are a fixture in Seventh-Day Adventists’ social lives.

Dan Buettner’s latest book is The Blue Zones Kitchen,


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