It is well documented that the Med diet is rich in fish, vegetables & fruit and low in animal products including meat and dairy. The health benefits have been associated with reduced incidence of heart disease and more recently with lower incidence of Dementia.
Whilst I totally enjoy eating a Mediterranean diet, I feel that the other factors that are very Mediterranean are not as frequently mentioned. Therefore, if you want to celebrate in full swing this month, the next few tips are what the real Mediterranean people do:
1) Olive oil is added after cooking for example in pasta or potatoes and only use very little oil for cooking
2) Most of the plate is covered with vegetables or salad
3) The vegetables consumed are only of the highest quality, produced by local farmers usually picked the same morning (No fridge ripening or from far flung exotic places)
4) Fish is locally caught and grilled outdoors with bones until just cooked (to maintain flavour and moistness). Fish is hardly ever battered, fried or baked. Another important thing I learnt is that nobody eats fish on a Monday (Fishing boats don´t go out on a Sunday or Monday) which provides an excellent day to eat a vegetarian meal.
5) Meals are never rushed and enjoyed at a dining table. Lunch breaks can take up to 3 hours usually shared with friends or family and accompanied by a little local red wine
6) You will not find any tomato sauce, mayonnaise or fancy sauces,just olive oil and vinegar
7) Dessert is usually fresh or stewed fruit OR homemade desserts. Although fridges in restaurants are full of instant ice creams cones….not great
8) The evening meal is usually vegetable soup garnished with garden herbs with fresh bread dipped in more olive oil
9) Every meal is finished off by an espresso with sugar and no milk… more antioxidants!
10) Every meal counts every day, take-away meals are a rarity
11) Large meals are followed by a siesta or a slow stroll along the harbour or in the park
For those who have not visited the Med, most people I know either do not eat Breakfast, or breakfast is a milky coffee with a biscuit,pastry or roll. This is the only meal of the day I would not agree with. Make sure you have wholegrain cereal,toast and fresh fruit every day preferably seated at the table.
Love Med May Month, eat your food pure and unadulterated!