Mediterranean Food is a way of life and a cuisine built on the ingredients of a region that just happens to be among the healthiest foods in the world!
Lifestyle of the Mediterranean would certainly be healthy when your cheese comes from animals that have been herded in open land since ancient times!
Desserts would certainly be healthy when the desserts you love are most often made from the sweetness of local bee farms and the ingredients are often nuts and fruit!
Dining approach would certainly be healthy when large families seek to share at least one meal a week together; not rushed, elegantly indoors or al Fresco!
Yogurt would certainly be healthy when you’ve been making your own yogurt since you were a kid and it was always used as the starter for the next batch… ie Real Yogurt!
Many dishes are made with yogurt. While Americans have become familiar with Tzatziki, there are so many other dishes made with yogurt.
Cilbir, a traditional Turkish dish of poached eggs over garlic yogurt. This dish is a savory meal in itself. Beautifully enjoyed with a bread Turkish bread known as Simit.
Cold Cucumber Soup, often associated with French cuisine, is a soup made with mostly Greek flavors. Refreshing and bold on a hot summer day.
Mediterranean Plant Milk
Plant milk would certainly be healthy when you grew up making your own almond and grain milks long before it was ever sold in a grocery store!
Bread would certainly be healthy when all your bread is made at home, from scratch, with whole grains or at least from the local bakery that made their bread the same way!
Herbs would certainly be healthy when garden grown herbs, used for cooking, are cultivated year round, even if it’s in a windowsill pot, or spices were roasted, ground and blended by you often!
My Mediterranean Heritage
Yes, MY Mediterranean Heritage! I was born in America, of a first generation Syrian mom. Her only girlfriends were Lebanese, Egyptian, Italian, Greek and Spanish, from Spain. They were all either immigrants themselves or first generation.
These women all had a common desire to share ‘their’ recipes, their techniques for food preparation, along with their stories.
It was this memory, that filled my mother’s kitchen every weekend. I grew up with this memory and have sought to weave it throughout my own life.
From Greece and Spain to Syria and Egypt, the region of the Mediterranean Sea and the countries surrounding the sea all have one thing in common: spectacular ingredients.
Grapes to olives. Sheep milk cheese to tomatoes. An abundance of seafood to animals herded on open land, the Mediterranean region is rich in some of the healthiest ingredients for cooking, in the world.
We don’t have to live there to cook and eat like we do. If we develop the mindset to cook like we do, then for sure we’ll swear that we’ve moved there!
What is your usual, go-to breakfast? Do you put something in your tummy after 8-10 hours of rest time in the morning; or just jump up and start running that tank on empty?
Small meals, often throughout the day, plenty water, lots of fruits and raw veggies are all the way to eat, no matter the cuisine, but do we?
Let’s take a look at some of the Mediterranean ingredients that are easy to keep readily available in your kitchen. This will make it easier to incorporate the Mediterranean dietary as a way of life.
Olives and Olive Oil
I suppose I never thought of olives as a fruit, but darn if they’re not! Olives fall into the same category of fruits as peaches and cherries. Almonds and pistachios are also in that fruit category, which sure surprised me when I learned that.
Olive oil is most often the fat used in the Mediterranean diet or cooking of that region. While I love olives in so many of the savory foods I prepare, I also love the flavor olive oil gives in the making of cakes and pie crusts.
Dare I tell you that garlic not only makes food taste fabulous but it is also a powerful form of medicine? Yep! The use of garlic and its health benefits have been documented by many major civilizations that again are part of the Mediterranean regions.
While I am not a nutritionist, I do know that Mediterranean food is rich in nutrients, based on its ingredients.
Veggies In Mediterranean Cuisine
From Tomatoes on a pizza made with a homemade pie crust, to our favorite Mediterranean salad. Let’s not forget roasted veggie sides, eggplant, artichokes, radicchio to name a few. These ingredients make for a variety of scrumptious dishes, all loaded with health benefits!
Seafood, we certainly can’t forget seafood from the abundance of the Mediterranean Sea! The dishes, recipes and ways both the sea life as well as salt from these waters make the Mediterranean Cuisine nothing less than Rich!
Cook And Dine With Me!
Have I stimulated your appetite for the Mediterranean Diet that’s NOT a diet yet? There’s more, so I invite you to browse through my blog, explore my recipes and lifestyle because for sure… they will keep you coming back for more!