Part 5- Mastering the Mediterranean Diet: Conviviality
The 5th and final instalment in our Mediterranean Diet guest blog series. Thank you to Sonya Douglas, Director & Principal Accredited Practising Dietitian at Dietwise Nutrition Clinics for sharing her knowledge. If you would like to learn more, you can get in contact with Sonya via her website, www.dietwise.net.au.
It is often thought that the health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle, such as assisting in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, and even dementia, are solely due to the nutrients found in the diet. However, the Mediterranean diet is just one part of the holistic health promoting Mediterranean lifestyle. In short – this means it is not just ‘what you eat’ but it is also ‘how you eat’. With the ‘how’ part involving the self-care and social aspect of food and eating.
The self-care part of the lifestyle includes being mindful of balance in the diet – listening to hunger signals, enjoying food by eating slowly, eating when hungry and knowing when you have reached a level of satisfaction. People often find this hard, as large meals may be served when we are hungry, and we may feel we need to finish certain portions to be satisfied.
However, in the Mediterranean lifestyle more doesn’t mean better, and this is particularly important when it comes to food. Satisfaction isn’t related to portion sizes or how much is eaten, however, satisfaction is from the quality of the food, the love that has been put into creating the meal and eaten with people we love and care for.
Just as the quality of the food increases satisfaction, so does the quality of the environment. In the Mediterranean lifestyle, this is called conviviality, and it involves centring food enjoyment around friends and family, and focusing on the experience. This also means dedicating time to meals, not eating on the run and making sure meals are shared with others to increase the overall pleasure and satisfaction of the meal experience.
So, a final note from Sonya, The Mediterranean Dietitian: Yes, you can eat pasta, but eat beautiful tasting ‘al dente’ pasta, eat it slowly in the company of family or friends always tuning into your hunger-fullness levels. Remember if it tasted so good, leave any 2nd serves you may be tempted to eat for the following day for double the pleasure.
Sonya Douglas, Director & Accredited Practising Dietitian
Dietwise Nutrition Clinics