The Mediterranean diet was identified through scientific observations made of the eating and lifestyle habits of long living adults residing around the Mediterranean basin in the 1960s. As for most traditional diets, the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet cannot be considered independently of the cultural and physical activities that envelope it.
The Elizabeth Peddey School of Mediterranean Cookery and Gastronomy teaches beginner and less confident cooks the art of home cooking. Additionally, Elizabeth’s close association with Pisciotta on the Cilento coast in Southern Italy creates a wonderful opportunity for those of you who are keen to experience the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle first hand. The school relocates to the south of Italy for the Italian Summer. It is here that students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the gastronomic and cultural activities that have placed Cilento in one of the famous blue zones of the Mediterranean.
Comparisons made of the diet and lifestyle of Americans in the 1960s and those of the Mediterranean were linked to some important health benefits attributed to those living in the Mediterranean region, including an increased life expectancy.
Claims of these benefits continue to accumulate in both scientific journals and the popular press. Even when taken up in middle age, it is evident that there is a reduced risk in heart disease, stroke, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, memory problems, dementia and depression, observed amongst those who adopt a traditional Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Additional to such health benefits, the mainly plant based, local, seasonal food integral to the diet is is generally inexpensive and leaves a comparatively small carbon foot print.
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are strongly linked to social interaction within families and communities, communal cooking and dining, the activities surrounding local agricultural and fishing, gardening and physical movement such as walking and dancing; Being outdoors, eating seasonally locally grown food, enjoying nature, and not over indulging in food, alcohol or the excesses of a modern world.
The traditional food of the Mediterranean is fresh, colourful and varied, it is simply cooked, unpretentious and delicious to eat. It delivers meals rich in healthy fats such as olive oil, small bony fish, a small amount of meat, dairy and eggs, barely any simple sugars, plenty of nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, herbs and spices, and lots of locally grown, seasonal fruit and vegetables.
I know it sounds utopian but it does not need to be as far out of reach as you think. There are a lot of motivators to reconsider how we live and eat.
For many of us, changing how we eat, spending time with friends and family, engaging with the seasons and with our environment, is the first step towards us moving towards a happier, healthier being. Often learning how to cook the Mediterranean way is a great place to start.
In the cooking courses and classes that we offer you will learn about the importance of local, seasonal produce, discover the traditional ingredients of the Mediterranean, the pleasure of cooking with others and the communal aspect of the table.
The skills that you develop may even become something that you are later able to share with others.