What is a cyan zone?

What is a cyan zone explains how we can combine the powerful concepts behind blue and green living, caring both for ourselves and the planet.

Most of us know that a greenie is a person who is passionate about preserving the planet for the next generation. And the more we see the garbage building up in landfills, the plastic in our oceans, and begin to experience the impact on our own well-being, the greater the appeal to join the movement, albeit perhaps in a small way; like recycling your own trash.

Add to that the trash that now contaminates the food we eat, even the best of our drinking water and the air we breathe, and it is becoming difficult for even the denialist to look the other way, and pretend that all is well in the state of Denmark.

The blue zones, less commonly known, are those areas of the world where folk are ten times more likely to reach a happy, robust old-age. Longevity is the word; one in a thousand achieve one hundred years old.

What is cyan?

There are three primary colours; red, blue and green.

If you mix blue and green light you get a colour called cyan; turquoise might be a more well-known term.

So, cyan is a mixture of blue and green light. It comes in many different shades.

Helen in her Leaf; is it blue or is it green?

Is the Leaf blue or green? It is a mixture. It adheres to the requirements of those trying to create a cyan zone; it is powered only by energy from the solar panels on our roof. It has no engine, just a very powerful motor, and makes no contribution to green-house gases.

What is a cyan zone?

What is a cyan zone is not a question that many people will be asking. Yet it is such an important concept. By combining all the virtues of blue and green living we can preserve not only ourselves, but also the planet. That means longevity, free from many of the chronic diseases that plague mankind whilst also sustaining and protecting Mother Earth from the rapacious human beings that inhabit her; that means us.

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Blue zones

It is fascinating that in the five blue zones there are many common features. They are all gardeners and much of their food is from their own backyard. They grow and eat broad beans, known to be one of the few natural sources of L-dopa, the phytochemical that the body can transform into dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter. They are also the richest source of vegetable protein. 

Family is strong, as are relationships with friends and neighbours, and in all the blue zones, religion is prominent.

For a fascinating study of the blue zones of the world, watch this 19 min YouTube video of Dan Buettner. "How to live to be 100" is a story for all of us. Find it here.

Not just 100 is their boast; strong and full of zest right into the nineties.

It really is not impossible to, in some small way, to clock into blue zone longevity in your own backyard. Some things will have to change, of course, often drastically. These people make more time for things they consider important; we will have to alter some of our priorities.

The pay-back is that the hours spent on these priorities is multiplied many times over in both quality and length of life. Does the thought of reaching ninety years of age, and perhaps even a hundred, with all your marbles and joints intact, and full of energy not appeal?

Green Zones

Harvesting rainwater

An underground brick reservoir is amazingly cheap to construct.

Caring for the planet is an incredibly complex subject. We start wherever we are. That might be with recycling the trash, like doh-re-me a very good place to begin.

Our particular need when returning to our native South Africa was for a reliable supply of clean water. Storing our harvested rain as they do in the Netherlands was the obvious place for us, and it proved remarkably inexpensive. Far cheaper than tanks, visually not unattractive once the bushes had grown and extremely cold for less possible contamination.

This is how we store rainwater and nine-years later it still provides for our total needs; only twice in that time have we had to use the utility and how awful it tastes and is.

A complete underground rainwater reservoir.

All the predictions are that the wars of the future will be over food and water, not oil. Yet we allow the rain falling our our roofs to run off to waste without a thought.

Every family living in a free-standing property should be considering a rainwater harvesting model.

Harvesting sunshine

2.5kW of west facing solar panels.

Either the planet Earth is going to harvest energy from renewable resources like sunshine, or our grandchildren will be witnessing the most horrific climate change that will end civilisation as we know it.

In countries with a reliable grid building a solar generator need not be an expensive business and the payback time no more than perhaps five to seven years. In others like South Africa one must have expensive batteries to cope with load-shedding. Fortunately the technology is improving in leaps and bounds and the price dropping.

We have settled for an admix of north, east and west-facing panels to cope with the extra need in the early morning and late afternoon.

cyan zones

Obviously there is a synergy as we endeavour to capture many of the virtues of both the blue and green idealists, trying to create our own cyan zone.

It has not only been supremely satisfying but the improvement in our own well-being has been nothing short of dramatic. We take absolutely no medication and visits to the doctor are an annual affair for a check-up; even visits the dentist.

I will admit though that regular care for our stretched and strained bodies has meant regular treatment for our joints and muscles. Gardening is hard work as is clambering on the roof to check and clean solar-panels. 

Gardening for your own organic-food also provides the moderate exercise we all desperately need, and the escape for our souls from the trials and tribulations of modern life.

Keeping worm farms and making your own compost reduces the need for factories that manufacture fertilisers and pesticides for modern agriculture. I wonder if anyone has done any research on how many farmers today succumb to leukemia or lymphomas, and what the prevalence is compared to the rest of humanity.

Law suits against the companies that manufacture many herbicides are hitting the press with massive payouts.

Understanding humus would improve the soil and create facets of the cyan-zones in our gardens.

Harvesting rain from the skies would not only reduce our exposure to microplastics and chemicals like the artificial sweeteners in our drinking-water, but it would help preserve a thirsty planet.

fava beans

Green fava beans in opened pods are a feature of cyan zones.

Fava beans are grown in all the blue zones where wellness and longevity are the buzzwords. They provide the plant protein and L-dopa that our bodies need.

But simultaneously, enjoying more fava beans would reduce our need for red meat which requires ten times as much water to produce; cattle also contribute large amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere whereas plants harvest carbon-dioxide.

Old and starchy broad beans are dreadful but, fresh from the garden of someone passionate about creating a cyan zone, they are the most delicious protein-rich vegetable. Enjoy them for example in this avocado and fava salad.

One word of caution is important. Because young, fresh fava beans like those above are so difficult to obtain there is often the recommendation that after shelling them they should be peeled. That greatly increases the glycemic index; cyan zone people grow their own and enjoy them when they are young and tender.

How to plant broad beans is a much favoured page at our site.

Getting sufficient omega-3 in the diet is a controversial subject for those trying to create a cyan zone; the best sources are in the deep blue seas, and that means denuding our oceans.

However there are also sources of anti-inflammatory omega 3 that we can harvest from our gardens.

Laughter is the best medicine

When you are seriously into these blue and green matters life can get a little heavy; just for laughs reminds us of the lighter side.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa