Friday, May 7, 2010

The Mediterranean Diet


Almost 6 months ago I received an email for the Global Gateway Program. There were three trip possibilities – China, the Pan Pacific, and Greece. My department head suggested that I apply for one of them. (Now if your department heads suggests you apply to go on a trip, apply.) I choose Greece, because I am a faculty in the nutrition department and I have an interest in the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet (yeh, right. I know. But it was a good cover). On Mother’s Day, I am headed off to Greece with 40+ students and faculty.

I am nervous as this is only my second international trip. But more than anything, I am EXCITED. When I became a faculty member in the nutrition department, I started to teach a lecture on Soul Food in the Cultural Aspects of Food and Nutrition class. Since starting to teach this lecture, I have become more aware of the importance of culture and food and what food means to people. It is my belief that food is an excellent vehicle to come to some appreciation of the culture of other people. With time, I have become more aware of the importance of learning from the culture of others. All of us have something to learn from someone else and hopefully, something to teach.

As this trip has gotten closer, I have been trying to learn about Greek food, by eating it. Sorry, I haven’t had the chance to cook any of it. I tried shrimp spiedini from Macaroni Grill. A spiedini is basically anything on a skewer. I have also tried pastitsio, which is a casserole dish consisting of pasta, ground beef or lamb, grated cheese, tomatoes and a b├ęchamel sauce. Now I can’t wait to compare these to the real dishes.

If you want to read about the Mediterranean diet, check out the site for Eating Well magazine - http://www.eatingwell.com/. They have a wealth of articles and recipes on the Mediterranean diet. Also check out this article by dietitian, Rachel Johnson. http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/the_worlds_healthiest_diet

Why not try some of these dishes. They may just become a regular in your diet. As I travel in Greece, I will be posting pictures of Greek foods. I hope that you will enjoy them.