Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Omnivore Opus by Barbara Quinn

I’m grateful I’m an omnivore who was raised on a Mediterranean diet, and grateful that more and more studies are touting this diet as good for your heart, your brain, and your waistline. Because of this trend, now when I go out to eat it’s much easier to find healthy and tasty food. Places are used to people like me asking for olive oil instead of butter, or veggies instead of French fries. At home, I’m as happy eating a plate of grilled vegetables as a dish of veal marsala. Peppers stuffed with bulgur are as pleasing as fish or chicken on the barbecue. It’s a relief that dining out there are lots of healthy alternatives whether the place is Thai, Spanish, Italian, or American.

Back in my youth, in summer we grew vegetables such as lettuce and zucchini, had peach trees, and an herb garden. I still go to the back yard and pick the herbs, lettuce, and zucchini, but the squirrels eat my peaches so I’ve given up on those! I buy tomatoes at the local farm stand. Summer’s bounty included pasta with clams, or crabs. In winter there was meat sauce, pasta with lentils, or pasta with peas. Year round there was fish and fresh baked bread. A pound of pasta, or a pound of veal cutlet fed four people, and there was always pasta leftover. Yes, there were roasts such as lamb and beef, but you ate only a couple of slices. Stringbeans in tomato sauce, with a couple of potatoes added, or pasta with spinach were standards. Cheese was sprinkled lightly on pasta, and never on fish sauce. No rubbery mozzarella covered anything we ate. But, fresh mozzarella in water, now, that was a special treat!

I hope that the next trend will be to smaller portions. That’s probably un-American. But, hey, between us, it’s one of the secrets to a long and healthy life. Add a glass of red wine and we’ll all really be on the healthy highway!


Kathryn Magendie said...

I feel my best when I eat small portions, watch the "simple' carbohydrates, eat little or no meats, and watch the sweets big time (i have a huge sweet tooth) - and I KNOW it when I'm off my "healthy diet" because I become sluggish, bloated, and my weight goes up.

The Med diet is quite healthful ... !

Angie Ledbetter said...

Love love love Greek, Lebanese foods and the olive oil/garlic combo...is there anything better?

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