Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) senior Nathan Hall was on a mission Thursday morning. The newlywed — armed with a list of preferred items from his wife — had a grocery cart to fill and just a few minutes to get it done — literally.

Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) senior Nathan Hall was on a mission Thursday morning. The newlywed — armed with a list of preferred items from his wife — had a grocery cart to fill and just a few minutes to get it done — literally.

During OBU's recent Spotlight on Shawnee event, Hall was among 68 OBU students who had entered for a chance to win a Blue Zones Project-sponsored Homeland Grocery Shopping Spree.

Just a couple days later he received the news that he had won.

So, first thing Thursday morning, up against a three-minute timer, Hall went whizzing through the store seeking out as many Blue Zones-Inspired items as he could.

Hall said his wife scouted out the store the night before his timed race through Homeland.

He said the produce section offers lots of things the couple was excited to load up on. Frozen vegetables and tamales were also high on his list of priorities.

“When she found out they had actual vanilla beans, she was super pumped, because she likes to bake,” he said.

After digging through the produce aisle, Hall spent a good portion of his race at the spice racks, gathering various seasonings. He said grabbing olive oil was another big bonus of the spree. According to the rules, Hall focused on Blue Zones-inspired foods and was limited to securing a maximum of only two of any particular item.

Encouraged merchandise was tagged with Blue Zones Food shelf tags and blue or white balloons. Included in the Shopping Spree were foods inspired by Blue Zones centenarians such as: all fresh or frozen produce, beans and legumes, whole grains, whole grain or sourdough bakery items and fresh or dried herbs.

In the end, after Hall's time was up and his groceries were unloaded, the register rang up a total nearing $370. As an added — though unexpected — bonus, Hall was given a Homeland gift card, as well.

“Events like this highlight how grocery stores play a key role in the Blue Zones Project as more and more customers are demanding healthy options,” Miriam Bell, organizational lead of the Blue Zones Project, said.

Shawnee's local Blue Zones Project approved grocery stores — Homeland Grocery Stores and FireLake Discount Foods — are pointing customers toward improved well-being, Bell said.

Brought to Pottawatomie County through a sponsorship by the Avedis Foundation in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to enable community members to live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic diseases and a higher quality of life.

Based on principles developed by Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author of “The Blue Zones” and “The Blue Zones Solution,” Blue Zones Project is designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to the built environment, policy and social networks.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project, contact the Blue Zones Project team in Pottawatomie County at (405) 765-8071, or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.