The Mediterranean Diet was ranked the number 1 diet in the world for the sixth consecutive year. This prestigious ranking, conducted by U.S. News and World Report at the close of 2023, involved the expertise of over 30 nutritionists, doctors, and epidemiologists.
At Stop Italian Sounding, we’re hardly surprised by this accolade. However, beyond the celebration, it’s crucial to delve into what exactly the term diet means when we talk about the Mediterranean Diet.
Originating from the Greek word diaita, meaning way of life or lifestyle, the essence of the Mediterranean Diet goes far beyond a list of restricted foods that one cannot eat. It’s about fostering a sustainable way of living that not only reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular conditions but also promotes overall well-being.
The Mediterranean Diet is based on the diets of people from Italy, Crete, Greece, Spain, Southern France, and Morocco and focuses on whole grains, good fats (fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts etc.), vegetables, fruits, fish, and low consumption of any non-fish meat. However, to fully embrace this wholesome approach to eating, we must recognize the seven foundational pillars that support its sustainability:
Conviviality: Strengthening bonds of friendship and community.
Tradition: Embracing a rich cultural heritage that spans centuries.
Seasonality: Consuming seasonal products means reducing environmental pollution and eating tastier food with less preservatives.
Physical activity: Outdoors activities and movement have an enormous positive impact on health.
Togetherness: Cooking and dining together to preserve and renew the Mediterranean culinary legacy.
Education: Food education should not be a list of restrictive rules, but a reflection on the value that food had and will always have in the history of humanity.
Zero Waste: In a world where 800 million people suffer from hunger, it is morally imperative to minimize food waste and ensure access to food for those in need.
As we celebrate the Mediterranean Diet, let’s remember that it embodies far more than a mere list of dietary guidelines—it’s a testament to a way of life that nourishes both body and soul, while honoring our planet and those who inhabit it.