It became obsessional. I began to think of water as the new thing, a new vital element of life. In Greece, water is as necessary as olive oil is for food. The moment you sit down at a restaurant, the first thing to come is a bottle of cold water. Go to a Greek house and you will be offered a glass of cold water. Their refrigerators are full of bottles of cold water. If you go out for a coffee, a glass of water will always come with it. If you are served a dessert, the water is there again.
Yes, you know water is good for you: our bodies needs water to function and it keeps you from drinking other "things" soft drinks, juice, pseudo-water beverages. You probably keep bottles of water in your car, on your desk and at home as you try to chug down those 8 glasses of water every day. How about just enjoying a plain, cold glass of water with all your meals? Water doesn't have to be like medicine; in fact, it can be "pleasant as honey," as Pindaros an ancient Greek poet once said.
Is the Greek diet the healthiest in the world?
The idea of having dessert after a meal is a fairly new concept in Greece. Thirty years ago people used to eat a dessert, a gliko only during the holidays or when they went out, or if they were offered a sweet as a guest at somebody's house, but you never had a dessert after a meal. In Greece, people would typically eat fruit after a meal.
I remember after every meal my grandma would bring one or two fruits to the table, along with a knife and a plate. She would then sit with us, cutting the fruit at the table and placing it on the platter for all of us to eat. At the tavernes here in Greece, the waiter will automatically bring a complimentary platter of seasonal fruit at the end of the meal.
Fruit is considered an important part of the meal like bread or wine. The next time you eat a dessert, make it something special, eat it alone or with your favorite tea or coffee and really enjoy it. Add lemon and oregano to everything. Okay, well almost everything. We know from research that the Mediterranean diet is not about eating specific foods but rather the incorporation of all the foods to your diet, including condiments. There are two condiments that a Greek kitchen will always have: lemon juice from real lemons -- none of that fake bottled stuff and oregano.
Lemon If you go to a Greek restaurant, almost everything you order is accompanied by a lemon wedge that you are supposed to use, not just as a garnish whether the main course is meat, cheese, fish, beans or vegetables. Greeks add it everywhere. Apart from the fact that it's a source of vitamin C, which is also an antioxidant, vitamin C also increases iron absorption when consumed with foods rich in iron such as meat and beans.
Oregano Oregano is added to meat, salads, potatoes, bread, sauces, marinades and salad dressings. It is an excellent source of antioxidants and it prevents the development of heterocyclic amines, substances present in cooked meat that may increase the risk of cancer; rubbing meat with oregano before grilling can have a protective effect. For recipes and more ways to Eat Like a Greek visit olivetomato. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you.
Remember that when cooking vegetables there is always some oil left behind on the plate, so you are not actually getting those calories from the oil. Drink Water like a Greek Henry Miller best described the special relationship Greeks have with water when arriving in Greece: "The glass of water Eat dessert on its own The idea of having dessert after a meal is a fairly new concept in Greece.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus. Elena Paravantes RD. Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, writer specializing in the Mediterranean diet. Real Life. Real News.
The Mediterranean Diet: A History of Health
Real Voices. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating more heart-healthy fats—poly- and monounsaturated fats—and fewer saturated and trans fats. Saturated and trans fats raise LDL "bad" cholesterol. Swap butter for heart-healthy fats like olive oil to lower your cholesterol and improve your heart health. Featured Recipe: Peach Caprese Skewers. America tends to be a cheese-on-everything society. Instead of dumping cheese on top of everything, aim to eat a variety of flavorful cheeses in moderation.
Choose strong-flavored cheeses like feta or Parmesan a smaller amount suffices , and skip processed cheeses, like American. Enjoy yogurt, too, but choose plain, fermented and Greek when possible.
Skip the high-sugar, flavored yogurts; too much added sugar isn't good for your health. Swap white rice and pasta for whole grains like bulgur, barley and farro. Whole grains are a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet and boast a range of benefits from lowering cholesterol to stabilizing blood sugars to weight loss. Whole grains are also high in B vitamins and fiber. Don't be scared of the fat in nuts. Like olive oil and avocados, nuts are high in poly- and monounsaturated fats—the healthy fats.
They have protein and fiber too. Fat, protein and fiber are the perfect trio for staying full, keeping blood sugar stable, lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
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Nosh on a quarter-cup of nuts between lunch and dinner. Walnuts have the most omega-3s, but all nuts contain healthy fats. Pair them with a fruit or vegetable if you need more to keep you full. Processed cookies, crackers, refined flours and sugars are not a part of the Mediterranean diet and shouldn't be eaten often.
Save cookies and ice cream for special occasions. In the Mediterranean region, people indulge in treats like gelato and baklava in moderation.
What Is The Mediterranean Diet? - How to Follow The Best Diet Of
Otherwise, they eat fresh fruit, including dates and figs, to satisfy sugar cravings. That's about 5 ounces per day for women and 10 ounces per day for men.
If you don't currently drink, you don't need to start drinking. Fish are a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet.
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
Aim to eat more fish than other meat protein sources. Use Seafood Watch recommendations to help determine the best choices for the environment. Eat these protein-rich meats intermittently too. Combine a small portion with whole grains and vegetables for a balanced meal. Instead of relying on the saltshaker, buy a variety of these to spice up your meals.
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