When I heard that it was International Mediterranean Diet Month, it made me stop what I was doing and reflect on that for a minute or…10 (as they would in the languidly paced Mediterranean).
When we think of the Mediterranean we think of azure blue seas and leisurely days. I think of robust feasts served in olive orchards on one of our many trips to Italy with family and friends. With the table groaning under the weight of freshly cooked whole grains, beans and seasonal vegetables prepared in wildly simple and imaginative ways, I am transported there.
I get it. I know why the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest in the world. Sure, the food. The un-messed with olive oil, wine without additives, fresh seasonal foods all join together to help us to create health and wellness in the most delicious ways. You can read study after study on the diets of the long-lived people of this region, linked to why they don’t suffer from “lifestyle diseases” as we do.
The food certainly is the star of the show here, but there’re more to it.
It’s the lifestyle as well…and we can take a lesson! Most Americans are what we call Type A personalities, moving fast; making it happen; getting it done. We are overscheduled, burned out, frustrated and stressed. We count the days to our weekends when we hope to chill a bit. Then Saturday comes and it’s cleaning, laundry, kids’ activities and family obligations. We hit Sunday night feeling not one bit refreshed because we raced around for our two measly days off trying to do all the stuff we don’t have time to do during the week.
And cycle begins all over again on Monday morning.
I spend a lot of time in Italy. I would classify most of the people I know there as having a Type Eh personality. What, you say? Type Eh. Was I late for the meeting? Eh. Did I get everything done today? Eh, there’s always tomorrow to get it done.
There’s a more languid pace to life in the Mediterranean that we have lost touch with here in the States. Yes, we accomplish great things and do great work. They do, too, with less stress.
Look, I’m not saying that we all ditch our jobs and lives and sit on a terrace sipping on Bellini’s for the rest of our days (although…). I am saying that life would go on and we would still get a lot done if we just took a step back, breathed deeply and slowed down a wee bit.
As this month moves into the lazy days of summer, let’s celebrate the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, cooking simple, delicious, seasonal foods and living our days with a little more ‘Eh.’