Written on

What is European Style Eating? The secret to a longer and happier life.

We’ve all gone on a European vacation, spending the days admiring the architecture and eating as much of the rich delectable foods we can carry, food that somehow never causes any digestional flare-ups or any excess weight gain. How is that even possible?? Well, the secret behind the European diet is the ingredients they use. You heard that right, European style eating, or the “mediterranean diet” boasts simpler ingredients in smaller portions. And (hint, hint) one of the major ingredients they DON’T use is CORN and the 1800 corn derivatives (i.e. preservatives, fillers, and fortifications) that are abundant in the American diet.  Including a small breakfast, large lunch, and optimal dinner. Read on to learn the secrets of mimicking the European diet within your own home! 

To Start, What is “European Style Eating”?

European style eating encompasses a wide array of cuisines, each with its own characteristics and flavors. However, one of the most celebrated and renowned European diets is the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet takes inspiration from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Spain, and Italy.

This diet revolves around a foundation of vegetables, whole grains, fish, and dairy. It's a treasure trove of super nutritious and overwhelmingly flavorful yet simple staples that are renowned for their ability to combat obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This diet predominantly includes:

  • Abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, providing essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice, are rich in fiber.
  • Olive oil is the primary source of healthy fat, replacing saturated fats like butter.
  • Moderate consumption of fish, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Limited intake of red meat, with poultry as a leaner alternative.
  • Nuts, legumes, and beans for protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
  • Occasional wine, particularly red wine, in moderate quantities.
  • Herbs and spices to season dishes, reducing the need for excessive salt.

The Mediterranean diet's health benefits have been validated by research, with studies showing that adherents have a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a longer lifespan.

The Importance of Blue Zones 

If you’ve been on Netflix recently, you’ve probably seen the documentary “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones.”  Blue Zones are regions where people live unusually long, healthy lives. Researchers have found that many of these Blue Zones are located in regions where the Mediterranean diet is a way of life. These areas include two locations in the Mediterranean: Sardinia (Italy) and Ikaria (Greece).

The link between Blue Zones and the Mediterranean diet underscores the diet's role in promoting longevity and well-being. These communities serve as living proof of the diet's effectiveness in fostering vibrant health and longevity.

5 Health Benefits of European Style Eating

European style eating, especially the Mediterranean diet, has a lot to offer when it comes to keeping us feeling our best. Here are five fantastic reasons why we're totally loving it:

  • Heart Health: The Mediterranean diet is like a superhero for your heart. It's been proven to lower the risk of heart disease in various studies. Thanks to its focus on good fats like olive oil, omega-3-packed fish, and cutting back on the bad stuff, your heart will thank you.
  • Diabetes Management: If you want to keep your blood sugar levels in check, this diet has your back. With its whole grains, legumes, and foods that won't cause sugar spikes, it's a powerful ally in managing diabetes.
  • Weight Management: If you're looking to shed a few pounds or maintain a healthy weight, the Mediterranean diet is a game-changer. It's all about satisfying, nutrient-packed foods like fruits, veggies, and fiber-rich grains. Plus, it encourages portion control and smart eating habits.
  • Antioxidant Boost: Say hello to a diet loaded with antioxidants! These little powerhouses help your body fight cell damage, reduce inflammation, and even ward off chronic diseases like cancer.
  • Happy Mind, Happy Life: It's not just about the body; it's about your mind too. The Mediterranean diet has been linked to better mental health. Those omega-3s and nutrient-rich foods might just give you a brain boost and lower the risk of feeling blue.

Some Mediterranean-Based Recipes & Things To Stock Your Cupboard

3 Mediterranean-Inspired Recipes:

  1. Greek Salad:
  • Ingredients: Tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and fresh basil.
  • Instructions: Chop vegetables, crumble feta cheese, toss with olives, drizzle olive oil and lemon juice, and season with oregano and basil.
  1. Spanish Paella:
  • Ingredients: Arborio rice, saffron threads, chicken or seafood, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, paprika, and peas.
  • Instructions: Sauté onions and garlic, add rice and saffron, then add broth, protein, and vegetables. Simmer until rice is cooked and garnish with peas.
  1. Italian Caprese Salad:
  • Ingredients: Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  •  Instructions: Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a plate, tuck basil leaves in between, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

7 Must-Have Mediterranean Ingredients to Buy:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Choose a high-quality, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and drizzling on salads.
  • Whole Grains: Stock up on whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, sorghum (!) and simple, minimally processed durum wheat or semolina pasta
  • Legumes: Keep dried or canned beans, lentils, and chickpeas in your pantry for hearty, protein-rich dishes.
  • Fish: Opt for fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Fresh Vegetables and Herbs: Load up on tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, garlic, and plenty of fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and rosemary.
  • Nuts: Include almonds, walnuts, and pistachios for snacking or adding crunch to salads.
  • Fruits: Enjoy seasonal fruits like citrus, figs, and pomegranates for added flavor and antioxidants.

Now you know all about the enchanting world of European style eating, particularly the Mediterranean diet, and its secret role to a longer, happier life. This culinary journey emphasizes simplicity in ingredients and portion sizes, with fresh fruits, heart-healthy olive oil, whole grains, and the occasional sip of red wine playing pivotal roles. It boasts impressive health benefits, including safeguarding cardiovascular health, aiding in diabetes management, supporting weight control, and providing a rich source of antioxidants. Beyond physical well-being, the Mediterranean diet also contributes to improved mental health, aligning with the lifestyle of Blue Zones, where longevity is celebrated. Embark on your European culinary adventure to savor not only delicious meals but also a healthier and more joyful life, European-style!

Corn-free updates poppin’ straight into your inbox + 15% off your first order.