Traveling through the Greek Islands was a beautiful, food-centric escape for me and my husband. We spent 10 days eating, drinking and relaxing our way through Greece. It was as blissful as you could imagine. This is a trip we have been planning and dreaming about since before we got married, nearly three years ago. Not only did we want to experience the beauty of the Greek Islands, but I was on a personal mission to taste as much authentic greek food as possible.
I've heard so much research on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss is about! The diet centers on plant-based, whole food meals. The Mediterranean way of living has been researched as a way to promote healthier, longer lifespans. In fact, the Greek Island, Icaria, was just featured in Dan Buettner's book, The Blue Zone. Buettner is a Longevity Expert that has studied different cultures to understand what diet and lifestyle factors contribute to a long, happy life. So of course, I wanted to immerse myself in the whole cultural experience.
I'm not a fan of complicated recipes, so I was in love with the simplicity of Greek meals. Nearly everything we tasted was simple, fresh and full of flavor. What I enjoyed most, is the use of herbs and spices to flavor instead of gobs of salt. This was even true for snack foods! Before heading to the beach on day, I grabbed a bag of chips to snack on and was pleasantly surprised to find they were pretty low in sodium and seasoned with oregano!
It's not just the delicious food that make up such a unique eating experience. It's the pace. The tone. The entire experience. Mealtime is meant to be enjoyed - with wine and lively conversation. I really enjoyed getting into the rhythm of long, mindful meals. It's so easy to get wrapped up in our overachieving, overcommitted lives that we forget that mealtime is meant to be nourishing. With that said, here are a few ways I plan to incorporate my lessons from the Greeks into my daily life:
- Give myself permission to make food that is stress free and simple. That means no more "Pinterest Perfect," complicated meals. I'm going to focus on simple, clean recipes that keep me from spending tons on random, only use once ingredients.
- Limit screen time during meals. Netflix, Facebook, Instagram - you name it, I've been way over consuming during mealtime. I'm going to make an effort to be present while I eat. After all, eating food is meant to be nourishing and that nourishment is enhanced when you see, smell and really chew food, mindfully.
- Long lunches with friends. Going to lunch with a friend makes me feel guilty. Somewhere along the way, I got the notion that I shouldn't do things for fun or pleasure in the middle of a work day. Man is that wrong. I've put this new lesson into action this week and have found that by allowing myself guilt-free time with people I care about, I am more productive, motivative and creative.