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Learn from the Greek Diet and Lifestyle

Updated on March 3, 2016

The Greeks have given the world many gifts that range from architecture, science to politics. They have also been drivers of many important fields which are still so relevant these days. All of those things seem to be wonderful in their own respect, but let’s put Aristotle aside for a second, and focus on discussing Greek food and lifestyle that help people there outlive just about everyone else in the world.

The Greeks have been well-known for the now-popular, emphasizing nutrition as well as lifestyle changes such as eating a wide range of foods, eating meals in social situations, and engaging in many physical activities. When it comes to Mediterranean diet, here are great exemplifications of what we can learn and appreciate from the Grecian diet and lifestyle.

1. Eat meals in social settings and gatherings

Have a look at the above Mediterranean food pyramid, as you can see, it’s not just a typical diet schedule, but above all, a “lifestyle”. Starting with the base, the pyramid seems recommend something a bit different than other ones – “enjoy meals with others”.

Eating any meal is an event, and it’s time to share the meal with family and friends. Many people often choose to sit down, eat and clear their plate just to feel stuffed. But just by talking with other people and enjoying the moment, you are slowing down your eating, and therefore eat less (or more exactly speaking, eat just the right amount). Hence, it is totally true when saying this is an “eating less” secret weapon. When eating slow and stopping as soon as you are full, you then give your body time in order to register what you’ve have eaten. Because the fact is that eating in a hurry could disable your body’s ability to do this effectively.

2. Engage in physical activity

When breaking down the above pyramid into more manageable sections, you may also get noticeable with the base of “be physically active”. This means exercise is present, not the following days, and be active for at least 30min a day.

A morning run or an evening walk becomes commonplace in Greece and in the Mediterranean in general. Did you know that Greece was the birthplace of the Olympics after all? You can find too difficult to reach the 150 minutes of recommended physical activity per week. However, try to break down to 30 minutes for five times per week, it is more reachable to you. If you don’t have much time, many studies have shown that even 5 - 10 min can have positive effects on your health and cardiovascular risks.

3. What to eat when living the Mediterranean lifestyle?

In order to answer this question, move up to the second area of the Mediterranean pyramid.

If you’re questing to live the Mediterranean lifestyle, your plate should be prepared with of a good amount of fruits, vegetables, breads, nuts, seeds and mostly whole grains. Keep in mind that processed food is bad for you, so you would be advised to do what most Greeks do – eat what is in season – with the two following reasons. The first point is that, fruits and vegetables are going to be cheaper because they’re in stock. And the second, eating in-season produce is believed to improve its health benefits.

Use olive oil instead of butter or other replacement if possible. The word “possible” is used since olive oil is just where it’s at. You have many ways to incorporate this wonderful “liquid gold” into the daily diet, and replacing butter with olive oil will give your heart a better protection.

Seafood – Eating a lot of fish is crucial for this overall lifestyle structure. You may know or should know that fish is such an important element in the Mediterranean eating lifestyle. So start eating fish few times per week, and if you are feeling adventurous – just eat like a Greek and try some octopus

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