The Mediterranean Diet for Life

The Mediterranean “Diet” by nature is a very loose term and is applied by many…

The Mediterranean “Diet” by nature is a very loose term and is applied by many with a wide array of interpretation. Whether it’s location or geography, however, the Mediterranean region shares many common attributes regarding people, history, culture, climate, religion and certainly food.
Regardless of how you define the Mediterranean diet, it is still the best food to eat as far as health and fun are concerned. The Mediterranean diet, cuisine and lifestyle are the very things that have primarily shaped the people, their devotion to and love of the land which has built an undeniable passion for their way of life and cooking. The result is a worldwide appreciation for the Mediterranean cuisine as the ultimate for its tasty and healthy options.
A common misconception I’ve come across is that many people believe that the Mediterranean diet consists of a relatively small number of staple dishes. In fact, the beauty of the cuisine is that there are distinct differences as you go country to country in flavors, spices and other specialty ingredients as you go country to yet, there remains a common string of characteristics throughout the region and individual countries. These are the essential elements of the Mediterranean diet, including food lower in saturated fats, high fiber content, a great emphasis on fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, fresh herbs, lots of olive oil and an abundance of spices.
Make no mistake about it; one of the most crucial aspects of this diet is the overall lifestyle of the people living in the Mediterranean. The use of locally grown foods and fresh ingredients, the scarcity of red meat, and the geography all influence Mediterranean cuisine. Red meat is an occasional treat, especially around the holidays and special events. On the other hand, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese play a prominent role in the cuisine. Yet, this will vary in degree from the eastern part to the western part of the Mediterranean region. You will also see the differences in the consumption of wine, especially as dictated by societal and religious acceptance, tolerance or influence. Regardless of geography or climate there is an abundance of olive oil [the main fat], thus making it the main ingredient, influencing cooking style, life style, and providing an important link in the diversity and healthy aspect of the Mediterranean cuisine. During my childhood in Jordan and still to this day, olive oil remains the most important ingredient in all of Mediterranean cooking.
Many studies have been documented in support of the Mediterranean diet and the lifestyle and culture of the people that live in the region. Even with all the studies completed which have attributed good health to this diet; lifestyle also plays a large part in this determination. Let’s not forget that physical activity and daily walking or exercise does go a long way in contributing to and reaping the benefits of such a diet.
So what exactly is the Mediterranean Diet? The following is the exact description which was delivered at a 1993 conference held at the Harvard School of Public Health: Plenty of fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, with olive oil as the principle fat; lean red meat consumed only a few times per month and in small portions; moderate consumption of dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry and moderate consumption of wine at meal time.
The Staples of the Mediterranean Diet Include:
-Diligence about eating time and serving portions.
-Use of Olive Oil in all cooking and dressings.
-Use of whole grain, legumes and beans.
-Eating vegetables and fruit daily.
-Reducing the amount of saturated fats, especially the amount of red meat consumed.\
-Eating fish and nuts rich Healthy Habits For Students in omega-A?3 fatty acids.
-Serving red wine with meals rather than other alcoholic drinks.
-Reducing the amount of salt in cooking and sugar, especially in buying packaged goods.
-Visiting your local farmers market more frequently.
-Choosing an exercise regimen consistent Importing Food Supplements Into Uk with your doctor’s guidance.
-Eating Better, Fresher, Smarter overall and you will be happy you did!
Having grown up in the Mediterranean region and having lived and experienced the culture, I realize it is a way of life and way of thinking, and the respect for the land that enabled us to produce and grow the food we ate. Paying attention and being aware of what food is and where it comes from was considered sacred and a gift of the gods and was treated that were not “above” food. It is with this attitude that food was treated whether it was raised or grown on the land we knew, owned and loved.