In 1950, ‘A Book of Mediterranean Food’ was published in the UK. The author, Elizabeth David, was a formidable cookery writer of her time. Little did she know that her book would unleash a whole new colourful way of eating to a tired and grey post-war Britain.
Even though the Mediterranean Diet has now been popular in the UK for around 70 years, it was crafted through thousands of years of cultural exchange between Mediterranean communities. Something that’s taken that long to develop – must be good!
Here’s five reasons why we love the Mediterranean way of eating:
It’s a way of life.
The term ‘Mediterranean Diet’ gets thrown around like a hot potato by the media, often without understanding it’s true meaning. UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) defines the diet as interwoven into the cultural heritage of several Mediterranean countries, encompassing the way people harvest crops, go fishing, process ingredients, cook and how food is shared. Contrary to what you might think, the Mediterranean Diet doesn’t just include Europe. It’s roots span Northern Africa and the Middle East as well. To follow the Mediterranean Diet is so much more than a few healthy recipes, it’s a way of life that encompasses the values of community, creativity and diversity.
The power to save lives.
A whopping thirty percent of the population in England suffers from obesity – that’s roughly 13 million people. Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of the NHS, warned that “obesity has become the new smoking”. The Mediterranean Diet, if followed properly, has the power to put an end to the obesity crisis with healthy eating that is utterly delicious (unless you’re not a fan of olive oil). Researchers have discovered that it has better results at stopping heart disease than statins!
If we all changed our eating habits to the Mediterranean Diet, by tucking into olive oil, fruits, nuts, and vegetables; with a little bit of fish, meat and dairy (not forgetting the cheeky glass of red wine) – we would all be better off for it, whilst also giving our NHS a bit of a breather by reducing our chances of ending up in hospital.
Recipes that taste heavenly.
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the few things in life that tastes great, whilst miraculously being healthy at the same time. With flavours as rich as the colours of the Sistine Chapel, there’s everything to love about the Mediterranean way of eating. Shakshuka, a baked egg recipe, is so versatile – you can just as easily eat it for breakfast, as you can for dinner. A quick Google search will reveal a plethora of easy Mediterranean salad recipes, some of which contain no more than three ingredients! These are perfect for staying healthy, without spending hours slaving away in the kitchen.
Have a peek at the #MediterraneanDiet hashtag on Instagram and you’ll soon discover the sheer variety of delicious Mediterranean Diet meals that can be concocted from staple fresh ingredients. We also have some great Mediterranean recipes you can try, including a tomato and mozzarella salad and Turkish baked eggs.
A better state of mind
A recent study discovered that eating a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and lean meat (such as the Mediterranean Diet) reduces depression – whilst a poor diet contributes to it. The scientific reason behind this is because the Mediterranean Diet is rich in nutrients that help to regulate our mood – providing the necessary fibre and probiotics for good digestion, along with aiding the production of neurotransmitters that make us feel a sense of calm. Amazingly, following the diet also has the power to reduce memory loss – which (fingers crossed) means less mornings where you forget where you left those darn keys. We need all the help we can get to tackle the daily challenges of modern life, with all its stresses and challenges. By sticking to the Mediterranean Diet, you’ll be helping to keep yourself fuelled and ready for whatever comes your way.
It brings people together.
The Mediterranean Diet is the art of eating well, but it’s also all about shared experiences. UNESCO puts it rather concisely – “It is a moment of social exchange and communication, an affirmation and renewal of family, group or community identity” – eating as a group, with visitors or the people you live with, family or flatmates, is just as important a part of following the diet as any of its recipes. Eating together is key to a happy life, and one that we take seriously at Fooditude. Our business is all about helping people relate to one another over a shared meal – in person or even virtually. The folks down at the Mental Health Foundation say that shared mealtimes “can evoke deep feelings of contentment and security”, in other words – improve the mood by sharing food!