Health experts have been observing people living in the Mediterranean Basin and they’ve concluded that it’s their lifestyles that makes them healthy more than just their diet, and you should live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way too!
Living the Mediterranean lifestyle is not that difficult to do despite having some sets of rules that we will discuss later on, but there are some level of strictness that you have to adhere to in order to become as successful as the people living around the Mediterranean Sea. It’s not the same as being a Shaolin or a Catholic monk or being a member of an Amish community, even though there are some similarities, but it is about living life one day at a time. Alright! I admit, that’s a way too idiomatic expression of saying it, in layman’s terms it just simply means that you don’t do everything at once. There is no fun in multitasking life! Life is meant to be experienced moment by moment and our current so-called “modern lifestyle” is going against what life intended for us to be.
There is no such thing as “work-life balance” if you’re working more than 50 hours a week in a 9-5 job! If you’ll ask a simple goat herder in Sardinia Island whether he is happy with his career choice or not, he’d tell you without any reservation that he is fully and completely happy with being a goat herder. This is a fact and no amount of money or any other incentive will make him change his mind. Ask the same question to an average blue collar employee in a city that foster stress and mental instability and they’d probably break down in tears, cry and wish for a better life – this is true despite having all the material incentive they could ask for. If you want to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way, then you need to look back at the history of the people living on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
History of the Mediterranean Diet: How Ancient Empires and their Culture Brought About One of the Healthiest Diets on Earth
There are approximately 22 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and scientists have found that the diet patterns of these countries have the highest nutritional content, are among the healthiest in the world, has the least amount of calories, and they also have the best lifesytles in terms of improving mental health and stability. Their way of eating is known as the Mediterranean diet and their lifestyle is considered as one of the best in the world, and is called the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Before we go into the modern scientific findings that reinforce the noteworthiness of the Mediterranean diet, however, let us first return to the ancient past where its roots was first established. The empires and powerful kingdoms that have risen and fallen around the Mediterranean Sea left not only moments in stone, but also their individual cultures that had survived the passing of time. Indeed if one wished to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way, one must remember and recognize its roots in the ancient past in order to understand how we got here. The empires of the,
And their culture is what made the food delicious and nutritious in the Mediterranean region. Archaeologists found evidence of these empires making vegetable-based porridge, which probably was the basis for the idea of making hummus and other similar side dishes. Fermentation of food and wine cellary in the Caucus Mountains and in some ancient Greek towns some 9,000 – 6,000 years ago! Two things are rich in the Mediterranean region and those are sea food and vegetables and is the reason why most of the ancient cities near the shores live off of these food sources, which was further enhanced through the mixing of cultures and their food groups. But the most amazing thing of all is that despite having huge cities even in those times, the people developed a closely knit small communities that made life inclusive and alienated no one, this was the precursor to the Mediterranean lifestyle.
The bluish-green and in some cases turquoise hue of the Mediterranean sea with white sandy beaches and high carved cliffs made walking to and fro more appealing than riding a horse (or in our case a modern vehicle). The mountainous regions forced the people to herd goats and sheep, instead of cows and it proved that dairy products from these animals are far healthier than inland-dwelling cows. Also hiking up and down the hilly regions made people no only physically active but have a healthy heart and overall physical wellness that some of them are still herding sheep and goats all the way to their 90s! Obviously there aren’t a lot of hills and mountains where you live now, right? So you’re going to have to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way.
How you Can Live the Mediterranean Lifestyle in your Own Way
Let me be absolutely clear about this; there are no specific rules for living the Mediterranean lifestyle, so I’m only going to generalize things. Having said that, the lifestyle pattern should not be ignored and you only need to adjust to each of them based on your current situation, geographic location, resources and other minor details. Meaning, if you live in 10m2 loft in Asia in a big bustling city, you need to find a place to “escape” or go to where you can walk for at least 20 minutes a day without inhaling polluted air. Stuff like this is what you need to do to adjust your current situation and turn it into a Mediterranean lifestyle.
Below are some of the ways you can live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way:
Start and End your Day with Gratefulness
This principle stems from the mindfulness meditation and it has been scientifically proven that our thoughts or consciousness has the power to reshape our DNA. Some ancient eastern medicinal philosophy claims that our mind can even heal our body! It’s funny because the people living around the Mediterranean Sea mostly have a positive outlook in life. In fact, rarely will you ever see someone in public with anger issues, depressed or unhappy. I’m not saying that they have a festive mood all day long (although some do in Sardinia Island) but compared to average Americans in a stress-filled big city, they’re mostly satisfied with their lives. If you want to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way, you have to copy the positive mood that the Mediterranean people put on day in and day out.
Walk, Don’t Drive
If you’ve ever been to any of the 22 countries along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, then you will understand why they prefer to walk than drive to wherever they go. Living in these countries or in any of their islands is like literally living in Paradise! The picturesque view of the landscape, the clear blue skies that’s almost consistent 200 days a year, the miles and miles of white sand beaches (some are black sand) and the turqoise waters that feature thousands of ships ranging from small sail yachts to super and mega yachts just makes taking a stroll so inviting at any time of the day.
Okay, I know it may not be as aesthetically invigorating to walk in the slums of an Asian city (or wherever you may live that’s less than pleasant compared to the Mediterranean region), but surely there are nature reserves near you or a park or a beautiful beach that you can go to and enjoy leisurely walking at least 20 minutes a day, right? Basically just do what you can with what you’ve got. A 20-minute brisk walk will cover at least one mile will burn 70 to 100 calories, depending on your weight. Walk daily and enjoy the scenery as you go along, it will lighten up your mood and make you feel good. If you can, invite your friends to take leisurely walks with you to make it even more enjoyable. This is what it means to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way.
Shop Food Ingredients at a Local Farmer’s Market
The goal is to use the freshest ingredients for your Mediterranean diet recipe and it doesn’t get any fresher than your local farmer’s market, where vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices are harvested literally just a few minutes to a few hours from when they were displayed for sale. The fresher the ingredients, the more nutrients your body will absorb, in fact, if you have the means, I suggest you make your own backyard garden where you can grow the fruits and vegetables yourself. This way, you’ll always have fresh ingredients ready to be prepared at any time you need them for your meals.
Learn to Do Home Cooking
If you hope to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way, then you must do what they do – cook their own meals at home. There are so many benefits of home cooking, which is why so many women who are wives and mothers prefer it over eating at a restaurant or fast food store. Among the benefits of home cooking include;
- Fresh ingredients means more nutrients absorbed by your body
- You get to control what type of ingredients goes into the food and at what amount they should be
- It’s cheaper
- Saves you time
- Avoid food allergies and sensitivities
- Portion control
- Brings family closer together
You can always be sure that you have a healthy diet when you cook your meals at home and there’s unfettered joy in doing it also.
Recommended Reading: The Pros and Cons of the Mediterranean Diet
Share your Meal with Family and Friends
One of the best health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle is its ability to improve people’s mental health. Now you may wonder how the Mediterranean people was able to achieve this. One simple answer is that they’ve built close family ties and a closely knitted community that practically not a single member of the family or community is left out in family or community gatherings – and they basically gather on a daily basis to commune and have fun. This is essentially the essence of living the Mediterranean lifestyle! Now if you want live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way, you must also find a way to copy their lifestyle and reap this rare but crucial benefit.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys and experiences happy moments shared on the dinner table, then you are very much alike those Mediterranean folks! Every day they gather in street corners, young and old, some are 4 or 5-year olds while others are 99s and centenarians but everybody’s welcome in these gatherings and no gets excluded. They poke fun and make jokes about each other, laugh at their each other’s antics, dance to their traditional music, enjoy the beautiful scenery at the beach, watch the sunsets, enjoy the sound of the birds chirping, drink a glass or two of their favorite wine and just basically living life in every moment.
Make this a daily habit whenever you get the chance. You have no idea how beneficial this can be.
Enjoy Every Bite and Savor the Varying Tastes of your Meals
Hunger is satisfied in 2 ways: 1) is by filling your stomach in order for your intestines to absorb the nutrients from the food, and 2) is by satiating your taste buds because they also help release endorphins and give you pleasure. To do this, you need to tase, chew and swallow your food slowly and intimately. If you shortcut your food and send them directly into your stomach, it’s almost guaranteed that you won’t be satisfied. That’s because satisfaction starts in the mouth and your taste buds, without which we won’t even have the appetite for eating. Ironically, this is how Mediterranean people do it – they enjoy their food and share this experience with the people who they share their food with. Are you keen on wanting to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way now? You should be!
Play, Laugh Often and Have Fun Like you Did when you were a Child!
You have to understand that your mental health depends on how much endorphins and dopamine your brain produces – naturally (artificial drugs won’t help). These are called “happy hormones” and as their name suggests, you need to socialize and have fun with the people in your community to achieve this. This should actually be a no-brainer as it is like breathing and we do it unconsciously; however, the busy city life and urban lifestyle challenges impede your natural ability to connect with others. If you are to live the Mediterranean lifestyle in your own way, you must find ways to escape your degenerating situation.
There are many ways to do this and they include:
- Joining groups or local associations that help people socialize
- Engage in sports, music, literary, artistic and other similar activities
- Join motorcycle groups
- Join surfing associations
- Join custom car enthusiasts
- Sign up as a volunteer crew member on a sail yacht (there are a lot of them going on right now, and they even do vlogs on YouTube and other similar sites)
- Join hiker groups
- Join campers and outdoor enthusiasts
- Join a chess club
- Join a paintball competition
- Join a sky diving association
- Join swimming association
- Volunteer for charitable groups
- Anything good thing that will make you feel good about yourself and make you laugh and enjoy life
You can even join kids playing on the streets or their front lawn, help the homeless or your local community in any way you can. The desire to be happy is a natural emotional response in all human beings and if you’ll just open your eyes and pay attention, your instinct will guide you where you need to go and what you have to do.