Here’s Why “Mediterranean Diet” has Been Your Answer All Along!
Being Egyptian is dope in so many ways. Smack in the middle of the globe, we could say we are Arab, Middle Eastern, North African, Pharaohs (because why not), Nile people, Mediterranean.
The one I will focus on here is the Mediterranean component. We share the Mediterranean Sea with so many cool countries, and each has its own unique twist on Mediterranean cuisine. You have, for example, the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards eating moussaka, buffalo mozzarella and grilled paella, and us here eating foul w ta3meya.
Anyway, it’s been found that people who live in this region enjoy longer life spans and are less likely to develop chronic disease! Because you are what you eat, we Mediterraneans must be doing something right. Even Egyptians!
Lets dive deeper into what a Mediterranean diet looks like; or rather, lets call it lifestyle (because no one likes the word diet!).
It is mostly plant-based, so it includes loads of veggies and fruits, beans, nuts & seeds, and of course OLIVE OIL. Plant based diets have been proven to prevent disease, improve mood, and keep your waist trim (yay!). The cuisine is also mostly seasonal and locally sourced, and this is all good stuff for your health too.
Moderate amounts of yogurt and cheese are consumed, and a bit of fish, poultry, and eggs. This makes it balanced and maintainable, as you aren’t deprived of your favorite food groups.
But the best thing about this lifestyle is (drum roll), RED WINE!! Red wine (in moderation) has an anti oxidant called resveratrol that keeps you alive forever and prevents disease. You could alternatively just eat red grapes, but most of us prefer the prior route to longevity!
So how can we “Gypos” make the most of our heritage?
1- Use olive oil on basically everything. Olive oil is high in antioxidants that’ll keep you young, it’s an anti-inflammatory due to the high concentration of oleic acid, and it’s considered a healthy fat since it contains mostly mono-saturated fats. Look for cold pressed types, it usually says on the label.
2- Use Mediterranean-style cooking methods like grilling, roasting, searing, slow cooking, olive oil drizzling, and very little frying.
3- Eat foul, and other beans of your liking. As if we don’t eat enough foul, eat more foul, and drizzle some good quality olive oil on there. It is a plant-based protein and will keep you full for ages. For easy digestion soak the beans (any beans) overnight in a teaspoon of sea salt or apple cider vinegar before cooking.
4- Enjoy local produce that is in season. The crops that grow in the winter provide nutrients needed for the winter, and vice versa. Mother nature knows what she’s doing.
5- Season with herbs rather than tons of salt. Mediterranean cuisine is famous for its use of fresh and dried herbs and spices. Think rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, saffron, sage, parsley, za’atar, cilantro. On top of giving your dishes flavor without added calories, each herb has its unique health benefits.
I’m sure you relate, as Mediterraneans we also enjoy company, aka food for the soul. And few things are better than some resveratrol to share with your favorite people as you indulge in delicious wholesome med cuisine.