Monday, October 31, 2016

What is a Mediterranean diet and how did I get it so wrong?

My parents are Greek and love to hold their traditions and pass them on to their kids. However I grew up in Australia where I wanted to be just like everyone else and eat their foods. So I was brought up with Greek dinners but packed a regular lunch to school and often had cereal for breakfast. Snacks were western local types too.

Here is what is a a Greek type of diet:

  • Lots of meals with vegetables as their base
  • A lot of those meals have tomato sauce bases which are rich in Lycopene
  • Greeks love herbs, particularly oregano, dill, parsley, basil and put them in their cooked meals and fresh salads
  • Main fats are olive oil (extra virgin of course) and a little margarine
  • Meat isn't the main dish but incorporated into other dishes, such as stuffed peppers etc.
  • Roasts and meat main courses are for special occasions
  • Feta goes with everything, but only a little piece, perhaps one or two serves
  • Fruit is mainly for children but adults can eat a serve often after meals
  • Fruit juice is not encouraged, but sour cherry or tart cherry drinks are common for special occasions.
  • Breakfast is often coffee or milk with bread or pastry or piece of fruit
  • Lunch is at home and not packed, kids at school used to eat tiropita (cheese puff pastry) to hold them over till they get home for lunch usually by 1
  • Lunch is the main meal of the day
  • Rests often occur after lunch
  • Dinner is small and accompanied by a walk in town afterwards by the whole family
  • Snacking is usually seeds (or a few nuts), ie pumpkin seeds but they buy them unshelled and shell them while eating. This forces you to slow down and give you something to do
  • Milk is mainly for babies or young children
  • Yogurt can be a light meal or snack, usually plain with a touch of drizzled honey, delicious
  • Meals are a group affair with other people or often crowds
  • Fish is plentiful served more often than meat and served to even very young children
  • Wine used to be made at home and everyone can have a sip even children
  • A small glass is used for wine and you can have a little at meals
  • Bread is allowed and served as an extra at meals but you only eat it for saucy dishes or if you weren't full with the veggie main
  • Legumes are very popular and incorporated into soups, bakes, dishes and more
  • Rice is used for a side for saucy dishes or in the stuffed vegetables and in soups or bakes
  • Greeks eat bulgar, a cracked whole wheat
  • Goat and lamb was the usual meat back in the day
  • Sweets are for children or only in small quantities for special occasions
  • Fasting from meats, dairy and oils was common before special occasions
  • You have to sit down and eat, with no distractions just company, eating on the run is rude and uncouth
  • Tea was popular and served often
  • Chocolate was ONE piece wrapped and was delicious but overeating wasn't allowed
  • Overeating or drinking too much were akin to sins and rude/crude behavior
  • If you find that you aren't getting full by eating a regular portion then stop anyway, it isn't food that is the problem
  • Water is served with all meals and for all visits
Read how I got it wrong in this post.

Health to Happiness

No comments:

Post a Comment

My store