By Doreen Colondres for the National Pork Board
The term “Mediterranean diet” should be called “Mediterranean lifestyle.” I say this because the countries that follow this “culture” lead a very particular lifestyle.
The Mediterranean “diet” has passed from generation to generation over several centuries, becoming a cultural heritage in all European countries who practice it. Over the years, Mediterranean culture has evolved, but for me it includes traditions, a way of living, recipes and even climate. It can be said that all this together benefits your health, helps control weight, increases your sense of physical well-being and improves your body’s functions.
We’ve heard before that my beloved olive oil as the main source of fat, the consumption of vegetables and fresh cereals, the careful balance in portions, the use of fresh fish and eggs are all promoted while red meats are limited in Mediterranean culture.
But little is said about these important aspects:
- A lot of pork is consumed—mostly tenderloin and sirloin—for its wonderful nutritional value and low-fat content. Pork is seen as versatile, balanced and a pillar of a healthy diet. Mediterranean culture involves cooking at home most of the time.
- The temporality of fresh ingredients is respected.
- Local and organic products are supported.
- The recipes are simple: usually grilled, baked, roasted and steamed. - Many fresh herbs are used, which also provide flavor, aroma, color, and a lot of nutrition.
- The quality of the ingredients is excellent, which makes everything taste tastier.
- "Fast" and processed food does not exist in a Mediterranean vocabulary.
- Lunch is rich, dinner is light and snacks are homemade.
- Wine is consumed in moderation.
- Bread and pasta are allowed, but of good quality and in moderation.
- And most importantly, Mediterranean people walk, walk and walk. They live an immensely active life from the time they wake up until they go to bed.
In my book, The Kitchen Does not Bite, I ask, "at what point did we start believing that we are smarter by eating quickly and cheaply?” My friends, we are going back to the kitchen, we are going to follow a Mediterranean way of life and protect this culture so that the next generations will enjoy it. Eating well will make us feel better and live healthier. Do not let yourself be threatened by the lack of time and the "fast" factor.