Mediterranean Diet, RIP?

There was a disturbing article in the New York Times yesterday concerning the demise of the Mediterranean diet in its native Greece, as well as in southwestern Europe in general. Elisabeth Rosenthal reports that obesity and high cholesterol are on the rise among the children and youth of the area, resulting in a situation similar to that of America’s – the younger generation will be the first to have a lower life expectancy than that of their parents.

And it’s precisely on the parents that my attention, as well as many of the commenters’, was focused. Apparently, parents on Crete have started to cave on the question of what’s for dinner:

Outside one of Kasteli’s several ice cream parlors, Argyro Koromylla said, “You don’t want your child complaining or feeling left out, so you give him what he wants.”

Sadly, this article could well be written about any region of the world which in addition to increasing wealth has adopted America’s love of fast food, inactivity, and indulgence of children – if you read the comments, they say as much about places from Katmandhu to Spain.

None of this is terribly new news, but it is an urgent reminder that traditional diets, whether Mediterranean or Asian, are something that should not only be treasured by their originators but also explored and celebrated by the “outsiders”: learn to cook something “exotic” today – it may save your life down the road!

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