WHAT DOES THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET MEAN?

Mediterranean diet, Mediterranean lifestyle

IT’S NOT A DIET, IT’S A LIFESTYLE 

IT’S AN EXPRESSION OF ALL MEDITERRANEAN HISTORY,  A BLEND OF CULTURAL INFLUENCES AND CUSTOMS EXCHANGED OVER THE CENTURIES

In the Mediterranean — where the sun shines nearly every day and the landscapes are simply breathtaking – there exists a joie de vivre, a joy of living. Family, friends, nature, and food are very important. People know that those who choose enjoyment are usually happier, lead a more fulfilling life, and have less stress!

Normally when we talk about dieting, most people automatically think of a special way of eating that aims to control the types and amounts of food eaten to improve physical condition and reduce excess weight. The word ‘diet’ was adopted by the weight loss industry, to focus on weight loss or how many calories are burned. However, if one looks at the word’s origin, it is evident that ‘diet’ describes equal parts a person’s personal lifestyle and the food and drink consumed. The roots of the word ‘diet’ comes from two millennia-old cultures that helped found modern human civilization.


Back to the time when people started to think more about their health, it was the Greeks and Romans who researched, refined, and eventually taught concepts regarding it. This knowledge learned and shared, helped the early medical practitioners as they developed the foundations of today’s medicine.

It was the ancient Greeks who established the concept of “a sound mind in a sound body”, which is about balancing physical and mental well-being. Probably the most famous and important personality in this field was Hippocrates, a Greek physician from the classical era, whom we know today as the ‘father of medicine’.

Heavily influenced by Greek methods, the Romans quickly adopted many of their ideas and developed their own concepts. A holdover from that era is the word ‘diet’. Just like the ancient Greek word δίαιτα – ‘diaita’, the Latin word ‘diaeta’ means something like ‘way of life’ and describes how each individual expresses his or her life.

The meaning is the same in both languages and describes the essential characteristics of human action in all aspects of everyday life including leisure time, participation in political and social life, physical activity, nutrition, working hours and productive activities to satisfy material and intellectual needs. From the learnings and teaching of the ancient Greeks and Romans about ‘diet’ we arrive at today’s Mediterranean diet, which is really a Mediterranean lifestyle; one that can be equated with enjoying life.


Due to the climate, culture and geography there are three divisible regions:

SOUTHERN EUROPE
Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain and Portugal

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt

NORTH AFRICA
Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco

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