When I first came up with the Wild Mediterranean concept, I described this revolutionary approach to health as “age-old, science-new.” Returning to the rituals of simpler times armed with the knowledge of now is a potent combination for our wellness of body, mind, and spirit. I’ve always known that immersing myself in the way of life practiced by my Greek relatives made me feel more vibrant and strong. I could see it in the mirror too—the way spending just a month in their village would yield supple, sun-kissed skin; shiny, lustrous hair; and a lean, bloat- less physique. It made sense: I was eating whole foods prepared at the peak of their seasonality (while not denying myself any essential macronutrients—hooray for healthy fats!), moving my body regularly and organically, connecting with nature on a daily basis, and participating in traditions that connected me with a sense of shared heritage. I was truly happy, inside and out. So it came as no surprise that the newest frontiers of science validated the results that I’d observed empirically.
Researchers have the ability to look at every nuance of our bodies in ways that were unimaginable ten years ago, connecting dots that have eluded the medical community for generations. Can all that data be overwhelming sometimes? Absolutely. But the beautiful thing is that all signs aren’t pointing to taking the next miracle pill or undergoing newfangled surgical procedures when it comes to reclaiming our health. Quite the opposite. These findings tell us that we desperately need to get things back to basics. The Wild Mediterranean lifestyle is composed of those basics. Innately, in stripping things down to their simplest practices—from what we eat to how we move to how we interact with others—we are benefitting our health at the deepest, most crucial level.
Our bodies were not built to withstand the abuse of modern inventions, whether industrial farming practices and pesticide-soaked crops; or foods stuffed with additives, preservatives, and artificial coloring; or animals fed unnatural diets laced with hormones and antibiotics; or diets made up mostly of refined carbohydrates and little to no plants; or desk-oriented jobs that require long stretches of sitting (followed by hours vegging on the sofa); or isolation that comes from increasing depen- dence on technological communication; to almost complete separation from real, live nature. It’s no wonder so many of us don’t feel well! And yet, people are beginning to realize this on their own. Take just five minutes to scroll through the social media outlet of your choice and you’ll see no shortage of images of people reclaiming age-old practices. They’re returning to the farm, returning to the kitchen, returning to tables shared with families and friends. They’re saying no to processed food and yes to plants grown in their own communities (or backyards!); no to “timesavers” like microwaved meals and yes to simply (and quickly) prepared meals with a few quality ingredients; no to not knowing where their food is coming from, yes to digging in and getting their hands dirty (literally—hello, bacteria-rich soil) by growing their own. Whether it’s in Omaha, Nebraska, or Los Angeles, California—that’s the Wild Mediterranean way!