Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives

Traditional Diets


Mediterranean and other Traditional Diets

The Mediterranean diet is the most well-known traditional diet, but there are 22 countries in the Mediterranean region so a one size fits all in this category is a misnomer. Each country along the Mediterranean Sea boasts a different diet, religion, and culture. For the most part the Mediterranean diet is filled with grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices, and smaller amounts of fish, poultry, and yogurt, while limiting red meats and sweets.

In a traditional Latino diet, there might be more tropical fruits, prickly pear, jicama and Mexican squash, chilies, and the oil choice might be lard. Bean choices might be black or pinto beans.

An east Asian traditional diet might include soy products, Chinese long beans, and bitter melon.

An African traditional diet will most likely include tubers, whole grains, and peanuts.

A Nordic diet might include beets, herring, juniper berries, and barley.

These are simplistic and obviously partial lists of food included in the various diets. Old Ways offers traditional diet pyramids that are fun to peruse and possibly combine components of each traditional diet.

What do they all have in common?

Lifestyle components and lack of processed foods.

The social aspect of cooking and eating together — enjoying food in the company of family and friends is a common denominator.

They all rely on minimally processed foods, locally grown and loaded with fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes which are all high-fiber foods, essential for good health.






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