Having lived and traveled in Europe, the so-called Mediterranean Diet (not the faux Mediterranean Diet) has never mystified me. It's not a diet at all. It's a culture, and when you live there, travel there a lot, you'll understand.
Here, Let a reader whom I'll call 'M', explain.
I truly enjoy your no BS approach to the paleo/primal/common sense approach to life. The banter and repartee you have with various neanderthal know-it-alls has made for many an entertaining read. At 49 I have made the jump from the dark side and the results, while slow to show, are taking shape. Thanks in part to your efforts and guys like Sisson too.
Now for the reason I am writing. I've had the good fortune to spend the last 2 weeks traveling across Italy with my wife and 2 teenagers. Nothing opens your eyes and gives one perspective like traveling and experiencing anothers' cultures, customs and FOODS.
First some observations. ...By the way these observations are so unscientific, I don't know where to begin; but I think you'll get the message. Nearly all Italians I met and interacted with were thin. That's not to say there are no fat Italians. But by and large, I did not see any Walmart fat Italians. Now granted, I was exposed to a small sampling of the population. Only a few thousand.
Second, the food. 100 out 100 restaurants I either walked by or ate at while in the country of Italy served the same basic foods. Pasta, pizza, salad, meat, melon, cheese and oh yes bread, olive oil and wine. Now, I know in our part of the world how many of these foods are being demonized with regularity. My wife even let me know how thin everyone was while eating pastas, breads pizza etc. And, that I should go back to eating like the Italians. What's up with all the pasta and grains? I know this stuff isn't paleo. While they do serve meat, it does not appear to be the staple of the diet. Tempting as it was, I able to resist temptation and have pizza on only one occasion. And sweets. Italians love chocolates and pastries. It's everywhere. Wine with lunch and/or dinner every day.
Third. People in Italy walk everywhere. That's just how they get around. Yes there are cars, mopeds and bicycles, but for the most part, point A to point B is on foot. I'm sure I logged about 20 miles over the time I was there.
I'll wrap this up by asking how can a culture eat and drink like the Italians and not get fat while we Americans load up on many of the same foods and look like the Stay Puft marshmallow man? Is it walking? Could just moving a little more be the difference? Again, not scientific, but most I interacted with seemed in good health.
By the a way a 12 ounce coke is about 6 bucks. Probably the answer I have been looking for as to why no one is obese. Lastly have to mention that the Italians love them some coffee and cigarettes. Thanks for listening.
Alright, given that Free the Animal is the absolute World Headquarters for the smartest international blog commenters on diet and nutrition...from a Godless, evolutionary perspective—just as I love it—except some of the commieness—let's get started. I know it'll be fun. I'm going to reserve my own thoughts and comments for my international and expat worldly friends, in comments. Sorry. Jump in if you like.
...OK, a couple of tidbits, but you have to click links, read, connect dots. From Beatrice's & my trip to Italy in 2010, back to the very place we loved the most in a 3-week tour in 2006.
- At the Beach
- The Drive: Rome to Monterosso (Check out that video Bea took of me scaring her to death on Italian seaside 1-lane roads)
- The Food
- Back in the Loop With Some Odds & Ends