The Cretan diet in 15 steps

Régime Cretois (c) BluePalace

Régime Cretois (c) BluePalace

Cretan diet (c) Blue Palace

Unless you live in a cave I think you all know the Cretan diet. A variation of the Mediterranean diet, it combines dietary moderation, fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses, cereals, olive oil and active living. It is known to be good for your health, especially as it reduces cardiovascular risks and increases life expectancy.

Its basic principles are easy to understand and follow. I benefited from being in Crete last week to find out more, so here are 15 steps to take to get the most out of it in the long run.

1 – Use simple ingredientsunprocessed, produced in your region.

2 – Follow the guidelines of the food pyramid that reflect the Cretan diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency.

In a word :

  • Satisfy most of your energy needs with starchy foods: wholemeal bread and traditional barley rusks (see my recipe for dakos to discover paximadia).
  • Eat lots of different fruits and vegetables, seasonal ones of course.
  • Eat more fish and less red meat.
  • Eat chicken, rabbit and snails.
  • Cook exclusively witholive oil and eat nuts and olives as an additional source of fat.
  • Consume dairy products on a daily basis. Limit eggs and potatoes to a few times a week.
  • Eat legumes several times a week.

3 – Cooking ! On a daily basis. Do not consume industrial products.

Cuisinez (c) Yeko Photo Studio shutterstock

Cooking (c) Yeko Photo Studio shutterstock

4 – Opt as much as possible for low temperature cooking that preserve, flavors, nutrients and vitamins. Click here to discover all my low temperature cooking recipes.

5 – Use and abuse aromatic herbs : a few sprigs of parsley on grilled fish, a pinch of thyme on cooked meat and lots of fennel plumes on vegetables.

Herbes aromatiques - Thym sauge romarin (c) martiapunts shutterstock

Aromatic herbs – Thyme sage rosemary (c) martiapunts shutterstock

6 – Do not eat alone. Have company. You will be able to pass on good eating habits to your children but also share your day (good or bad news) with your loved ones.

7 – Eat lots of vegetables. Flavoured with a little olive oil, they are delicious.

8 – Enjoy natural sugars : Do not hesitate to use honey (good quality please) instead of sugar. Be careful however, they do not have the same sweetening power. Use figs or grapes to sweeten preparations.

9 – Salt in moderation and use fleur de sel instead. Less salt helps lower blood pressure.

10 – Garlic and onion are renowned for their medicinal properties. Eat them raw or cooked and benefit from their unique nutritional value.

Ail et oignon (c) Timmary shutterstock

Garlic and onion (c) Timmary shutterstock

11 – Opt for healthy snacks fresh and dried fruits (almonds or nuts for example).

12 – Eat a solid breakfast : wholemeal bread rusks with fresh cheese and honey, fresh cheese and vegetable pie, fresh green vegetable omelette.

13 – Do not overdo it. Whether it’s farming practices, portion size, choice of ingredients, everything must be environmentally friendly.

Tisanes (c) Chamille White et vin rouge (c) Sedlacek - Shutterstock

Herbal teas (c) Chamille White and red wine (c) Sedlacek – Shutterstock

14 – Consume herbal teas daily : sage, verbena, linden, thyme, vary the pleasures!

15 – Consumption of a glass of red wine a day.

There, you know as much as I do about this famous Cretan diet. Personally, I find that it is not a diet but common sense in eating. I don’t know what you think?

Click here to discover all my Cretan recipes.

Thanks to Aegean and DiscoverGreece.

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