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That means "cheers!" in Gaelic. Which also translates loosely as "to your health!" And what better of a land to explore and learn about health and food and lifestyles than the bucolic green landscapes of Ireland and and the jaw-dropping ancient hills and glens of Scotland. Besides their charm and ability to laugh and have fun (think trad music in the pubs), these ancestors of the Celtic tribes still eat a lot of fresh, delicious food and move naturally - two of the key indicators for quality and longevity in life.

The Scottish and Irish tend to eat a lot from their own pastures and seas, a lesson we should all build on here at home. The pubs serve fish and chips with cod and haddock caught in the harbor across the road and potatoes from their own farmers. Granted, the plates of these could be shared by the whole table due to its large portion, but that's just a good reminder to split meals. The pubs also provide a spot for folks to gather and socialize while listening to live music - perhaps some dancing. Spending time like this with a circle of friends has also been shown to promote longevity.

Here's a fun fact: Ireland itself is home to more cattle than people! They take great pride in their beef and make delicious stews with it which include hearty, healthy root vegetables. Paired with a side of homemade soda or sourdough bread and a Guinness, it's the perfect meal - balanced, local, healthy. Speaking of Guinness, who knew it only contains 4 ingredients and that includes barley from Ireland's emerald fields? Have you taken a look at the list of ingredients on your beverage of choice lately? The goal is 5 or less ingredients to qualify as a wholesome food. Maybe I'm stretching it, but Guinness seems pretty healthy to me!

Let's talk about moving naturally..... another thing this corner of the world excels at. They have walking paths everywhere.... the hills, the lakes, the mountains, the beaches. If you surround yourself with options to walk outside, you are more likely to do it, rain or shine. And every day. Take your dog.... an Irish Wolfhound perhaps?! Research shows that simply walking 6000-10,000 steps per day can add healthy years to your life. In contrast, the fitness industry in the USA is worth roughly $35 billion per year, and yet almost half of our population is now classified as obese. Compare that to 23% obesity rate in Ireland.

The message is simple and almost "boring" all around the world...... eat local meat, eat your veggies, bake some bread from scratch, take daily walks in the outdoors and enjoy time with your friends.

But that message works. I sure hope to "haste ye back" here!

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