The Mediterranean diet is famous with both nutritionists and chefs alike because of its delicious (and healthy) foods such as: garlic, herbs, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and, of course, copious amounts of olive oil.
Science has long since supported the Mediterranean Diet as well for its tendency to lower bad cholesterol, reduce heart disease risk, and even help protect the function of the brain as we age.
However, it is not just the qualities of the food in the Mediterranean Diet that are beneficial, but the qualities of HOW the food is eaten as well.
Here are some pointers on not just what to eat, but how to eat it:
Good Food is a Priority
“There is no word for ‘foodie’ in Italian. Food is central to everyone’s life here. It’s normal to care deeply about food.” Italy and most of the Mediterranean respect food, care for food, and prepare food with love and tradition in mind. This is very different from the warehouse manufactured, low quality, hyper-processed foods that are often on the supermarket shelves here in the States. This kind of care and passion for the quality of ingredients and the taste of fresh food are what keep you coming back for and craving whole ingredients, and not Taco Bell.
Eat with the Seasons:
This one is very important. The planet provides the kinds of foods that give us the kinds of nourishment we need for each season. Think about it – in the summer, refreshing, juicy fruits are in season; in the winter, hearty root vegetables are in season. Even though we now live in a world where, if you can afford it, you can get any kind of produce in any season, fruits and vegetables taste the best and have the most nutrients when they are grown in their natural season. It is also better for the environment.
Here in the States, we tend to be proud of our fast eating options, such as drive thru’s, quick service diners, pizza-by-the-slice, and so on. One of America’s favorite burger joints is even called ‘In-N-Out’. On the other hand, in many Mediterranean countries, it is not uncommon for sit down meals to take a couple of hours. This is because they choose to eat more courses in smaller servings, allowing you to really taste the different flavors you are eating. During this time, they are relaxing, chitchatting, people watching, and overall making the whole eating experience a memorable time. Now, it is understandable that many of us here in the States do not have the ability to take a 2 hour lunch break every day at the café; but, instead of cramming a microwave burrito in your mouth at your desk while you send in your spreadsheets, we do have the power to be mindful of our eating time, turn off electronics for a couple of minutes, take a few deep breathes, and really cherish the eating process.
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