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Food in the Mediterranean - Essay Example

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Introduction The Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world, and for good reason. The sun-soaked region surrounding the Mediterranean sea – including North Africa, the Middle East, France, Spain, Italy and Greece – is known for preparation of food with fresh ingredients grown from the land…
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Food in the Mediterranean
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"Food in the Mediterranean"

Download file to see previous pages The Mediterranean cuisine is particularly suited for workers who are looking for an alternative to the cafeteria or vending machines at work. Discussion Mediterranean food is considered, by Martha Rose Shulman, to be the “World’s healthiest cuisine,” which is why her book, Mediterranean Light is subtitled “Delicious Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Cuisine” (Shulman, 1989). Shulman states that part of the reason why the region’s food is so healthy is because the food is prepared with fresh ingredients. This is due to the fact that many of the countries in the Mediterranean region are poor countries, so the cuisine reflects the fact that the citizens in those countries take advantage of what nature has to offer, as opposed to eating processed foods. Thus, they are more apt to “live off the land,” and their recipes reflect this ethos. Moreover, Shulman states that part of the reason why the food is so healthy is because of the ingredients – for instance, olive oil is a staple in many of the dishes in Italy and Spain, and olive oil is thought to reduce bad cholesterol in the people who consume this kind of oil on a regular basis. Vegetables also form a focus in this kind of food, including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, artichokes, sweet peas and beans. These are all known to be very healthful ingredients as well. The fruits which are a part of the cuisine are also healthy, and they include figs, melons, peaches and apricots. These dishes are also centered around lean protein, such as rabbit, chicken and fish. Shulman also praises the Mediterranean cuisine because of the flavor that it receives from the fresh, wholesome ingredients and herbs. Because the herbs are so pungent – common herbs include parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, coriander and mint, along with a lot of garlic – the cuisine is flavorful without adding a lot of sodium and fat. Other ingredients which are used in the Mediterranean, including Parmesan Cheese, are so flavorful that a little goes a long way. Even the desserts in Shulman’s book, such as fruit enhanced with honey and lemon, are healthy and low-sugar (Shulman, 1989). Shulman’s book consists of food from throughout the Mediterranean, so she has recipes from Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, and the Middle East. The website “AroundSicily.com” zeroes in on Italian food, and the benefits of this kind of cuisine. This website states that Italian food, true Italian food, centers on fresh ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, dairy products, fish, poultry, eggs and moderate amounts of wine. This website states that a typical Italian breakfast consists of yogurt, milk or coffee; snacks are fruits and juices; lunch is a pasta and salad; and dinner consists of fish, meat or chicken with a vegetable side dish. Pizza, the Italian dish that many non-Italians consider to be a staple, is only consumed sparingly in Italy, with most Italians eating this once a week (AroundSicily.com). Nestle (1995) is particularly concerned with Mediterranean food, and its current status of being somewhat of a lost art. She states that the Mediterranean people show the rate of chronic diseases to be the lowest in the world, with some of the highest life expectancies in the world. For instance, Nestle notes that the Cretes subsist on a diet of olives, cereal grains, wild ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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