The Mediterranean diet in the wild
I have long since dreamed of sitting by the sea in a warm breeze, eating the foods common to the mediterranean. Greece in particular! I’ve hosted Greek pot-luck food parties back when I was in University. My first real cookbook was Lebanese and the only reason I bought it was for the recipe for hummus. This was pre-internet, before every grocery store carried prepared hummus and before anyone really knew what a chick pea was. My wedding featured all sorts of mediterranean inspired dishes on the dinner menu. I prepared everything myself, with the help of my family sous chefs.
All of this dreaming has always been just that. Even as we began to plan our year away, Greece was not really on the list. Finally my daughter put her foot down and said, “I want to go to Greece”. The one thing she has asked for, besides an excursion to the Lush store in London.
Finally I get to satisfy my life long dream to eat olives, where I can see the trees they came from. Focusing on vegetables, fish, olive oil and salty cheese. Lemons, so many fresh lemons. Garlic. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. For all these years, I have had to settle for the local versions, or the imported items. In less than a year, I will finally taste the real deal and I can’t wait.
As I am still in dreaming and planning mode, I came across a great article about the importance that the mediterranean diet plays in reducing inflammation. The Ultimate Guide To An Anti-Inflammatory Shopping List by Positive Health Wellness presents a good overview of the situation. What is inflammation and why people feel better if it is reduced or eliminated. Part of the clean eating craze which has become so popular lately is simply another way of talking about foods which reduce inflammation.
I have personally experienced the huge benefit from managing inflammation. I didn’t realize that was a problem until I started to experiment with foods which could reduce or eliminate it. My joints became free of pain. My body seemed less ‘puffy’, especially around my face. I felt less brain fog. I could run without any pain, especially in my knees. I had more energy, all day long, not just in the morning. My digestion became regular. I felt happier and more optimistic.
Part of the reason I felt so much better was also the foods I took away. Anything highly processed. Stuff in a box. I now treat those food-like items as very once in a while indulgences. The fact is, the more I focus on fresh, whole food which is in season, prepared with a light touch, the better I feel. Oh I can’t wait to experience the mediterranean diet and lifestyle for real!