“I’m glad I am a woman who once danced naked in the Mediterranean Sea at midnight.”
When people hear the phrase “Mediterranean lifestyle,” most will probably think of diet, but it’s so much more than that. What we consume is what constitutes our lives, but it’s not just about food and drink: it can be culture, beauty, poetry, architecture, and that irresistible Mediterranean sunlight that drenches everything white.
Maybe it’s the sheer beauty of the landscape that makes inhabitants of Mediterranean countries happier and healthier. These countries of Europe, North Africa, and Asia in the west are almost achingly beautiful; everything is old and kept in beautiful shape (they actually appreciate their culture and want to keep it intact). History is very important; old buildings are preserved and cherished, and monuments and statues are revered. Architecture and art are a way of life, and beauty is extremely important!
Europe especially reveres its artists. People can be seen dancing and singing in the streets; there are actual troubadours who will serenade you in the town plazas of Spain!
Greece, Italy, Spain, and France, oh my! These are some of my favorite places in the entire world (and I don’t think I’m the only one).
Some tips on how to live like a local and reap that glow that only these countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea can offer.
“I love Spanish food. My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food. I eat well.”
Indulge in food and drink (the Mediterranean diet): olives, olive oil (which is called “liquid gold” for a reason: it offers not only culinary greatness but is beneficial for silky, shiny skin and hair), freshly caught seafood, oranges, herbs and spices, whole grains, vegetables, paella, tapas, etc. Eat fresh! Go to the market every day and see what looks ripe and delicious (never eat processed food if you can help it, and everything in moderation). Take your time to really enjoy the flavors. Of course, France, Italy, Spain, and Greece are known for their little outdoor cafes that are so charming, and we all know more time spent outdoors is very good for our mental and physical health. Because the Mediterranean diet focuses heavily on fruits and vegetables and is low in saturated fats, it’s heart-healthy. It’s a way of life, not a fad diet.
- Bathe in the sea, go for a boat ride, smell the lavender and rosemary, literally take time to smell the roses, so to speak. We all know that Spanish is the loving tongue, the French have a “joie de vivre” sort of attitude, and the Greeks are culturally steeped in the beauty of gods and goddesses, so it’s no surprise that they’re very sensual people. Living by the sea is also very calming and tranquil.
- The Mediterranean light is so captivating and, because it gets very hot and arid during the summer, it’s customary for shops to close in the afternoon so everyone can take a little siesta. Then, in the evening, around nine o’clock, restaurants and cafes reopen so townspeople can enjoy dinner until late. Meals can last for hours. Enjoy wine or an Aperol Spritz and laugh easily and often. Try to take it easy so you, too, can live a laid-back life.
Community and family are very important. People actually talk to each other in the streets; meeting friends for coffee seems easier in these parts of the world.
- Generosity and hospitality. Go somewhere where things aren’t mass-produced: try a tiny French bakery and see how much love goes into the sweet delights.
- Walk a lot! Move freely. Don’t think of exercise as a chore but a way of life. If you do something daily, it becomes much easier.
- Adopt a zest for life, for conversation, and for meeting new people.
- The décor is sublime, especially with colorful tiles everywhere.
Artists who have captured this Mediterranean feeling…
Isn’t it amazing that so many of the greatest fine artists the world has ever known are from Mediterranean countries?
(Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “The Farm at Les Collettes,” 1914)
Some of our favorite painters—from Baroque to Impressionist—include:
- Van Gogh (especially his paintings of Arles and Avignon)
For more tips and musings on life and beauty, see what’s on the blog.
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