Cretan Diet: "Modus Vivendi"
The Cretan diet is currently considered by nutritionists as a "modus Vivendi" that endows people with longevity and sound health, as supported by research conducted on an international scale. It was established that the inhabitants of Crete manifest the lowest mortality indices with respect to cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
For Cretans, the secret of longevity is very simple. They eat anything that their rich soil produces! They consume a lot of fruit, vegetables, greens, fresh produce, legumes, cheese and bread. Cretans use herbs to add flavour to their meals; they make sweets/cakes with natural sweeteners, honey and grape-juice syrup; while the excellent Cretan wine is an indispensable accompaniment to their meals.
Cretans do not eat a lot of meat or, rather, they did not eat a lot of meat until a few decades ago. Meat has always had a ritual quality in Crete, and generally in Greece. In antiquity, Cretans consumed meat only a few times a year, i.e. during festivities or, if wealthy enough, every Sunday. In other words, the dietary code of Cretans has deep cultural and historical roots.
This, however, should not be considered as limiting, or even coercive practice that could undermine the richness of taste. On the contrary, the ingenuity of Cretans exploited fully the entire spectrum of ingredient combinations, which resulted in volumes of recipes for meals and desserts. Snails, for example, are cooked in 40 different ways! Pure olive oil is the sine qua non for all preparations! Fresh produce grown under the most suitable climatic conditions has a prominent place on dinner tables.
Cretans do not require doctor's orders to consume large amounts of fruit and vegetables. Grapes, raisins, oranges, etc. are a way of life. Even on days strictly associated with meat-eating, such as the Easter Day, Cretans do not eat only meat. On the contrary, they cook meat with artichokes, wild greens or vegetables - a delicious choice!
To be continued...on the 11th of May at 12 noon at Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank!