What I love about the Mediterranean Lifestyle is that it’s not just about deliciously good food, but it’s also about getting together to share a meal, share your hopes and dream and to motivate each other to keep moving, naturally.
The Blue Zones group (https://www.bluezones.com) have been investigating this lifestyle for over a decade now and have found what my ancestors knew and lived for centuries – a life in community is a life that gives us purpose and fulfilment to live healthy lives.
I remember when I first visited my dad’s village in Milia, Central Greece the residents had a communal building where everyone gathered on a daily basis to talk, play cards, eat together and do life.
As I shared this experience with my dad (now living for decades in Australia) he said that was his daily experience when growing up in his small village nestled into the hills of this beautiful part of Greece.
Being our first visit to my dad’s village, my uncle was keen to show us how he made yogurt in a small room under the house, the very place my dad grew up making yogurt with his family.
He took us for walks along the side of the mountain where he was growing his seasonal vegetables and showed us the place they used to walk as youngsters to collect water from the natural spring coming out of the side of the hill.
It’s a dreamy lifestyle but I’ve also heard the stories of when my dad and his brother had to walk for miles up and over the mountains through deep snow to get to school or the local shop. That suddenly shattered the dreamy picture I was forming in my mind!
We went there to visit my uncle and his wife, we left with connections with just about everyone in the community, photos we would treasure for years to come and quite frankly, we are richer for it today.
But seriously, how can we live a more ‘communal’ kind of lifestyle where people are not drowning in loneliness, dreams are realized and our body, soul and spirit is nurtured in the best possible way?
Below are 5 keysI believe will help you on your journey of embracing a healthy way of living in community with others. I’ve also included my favourite homemade pizza recipe for you to invite your friends over and prepare together and then sit around your table and share.
Enjoy the read and drop by with your comments telling us how you are living a healthier way. Oh, and don’t forget to hashtag #insofiaskitchen with your photos when posting on social media!
Key 1: Eat together
Eating together is far more exciting than eating alone. If you happen to be on your own, seek out some quality friends and invite them around for dinner. Life is all about good relationships shared – don’t eat alone!
Key 2: Meet regularly with a friend/s and share your hopes and dreams
We all have hopes and dreams for a bigger and brighter future. It’s important to share them with someone you can trust. Open your heart, become vulnerable and make a plan to meet at a café with a good friend and together, share what’s on your heart – make sure you share and you listen – making your friendship a two-way connection.
Key 3: Nurture your spirit – meet with likeminded people and explore how to fulfil your spiritual need
In our very intellectually driven society, we often neglect our spirit side. There are three parts to us and all three parts count. Gathering likeminded people – that is those that seek to discover more about their spiritual side – and explore what it means to be spiritually fulfilled.
Key 4: Stay Active
I love to go swimming – all year round. There is just something special about that ocean water that even when it’s cold, it has a way to bring you alive and fill you with so much hope for your days ahead! It almost sounds like a spiritual experience – and maybe it is – but one thing for sure, I feel like a new woman after I’ve had a paddle around our ocean baths. Whatever activity it is that you enjoy, go for it!
Key 5: Make Healthy Food Choices
Making healthy food choices starts in our mind. Deciding what is good for my body will then not only improve my body health, but also my soul and spirit health. Choose to eat lots of vegetables on a daily basis, a couple of pieces of fruit for energy and metabolism and protein to build muscles and sustain hunger pangs. Set yourself a goal to only purchase fresh food items, avoid packaged food, bottled sauces or dressings and you are starting off well.
Makes 2 medium size bases
3 cups plain flour, sifted * 2 teaspoons dried yeast * pinch of salt * ½ cup semolina *
3 tablespoons olive oil * 1 cup lukewarm water
- In a large bowl, add flour, dried yeast, salt, semolina and oil. Mix with a butter knife. Add water slowly, mixing to a soft dough. On a floured surface, knead for 4 – 5 minutes. Add a little oil in large bowl and return dough to it. Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm, draught-free spot for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.
- Lightly spray 2 medium size pizza trays with oil. Remove dough from bowl and knead on a floured surface for 3 – 4 minutes. Cut into 2 equal parts and roll out on a floured surface each one to fit pizza trays.
1 batch of pizza dough * 1 cup pumpkin, diced in 2cm pieces * 1 cup sweet potato, diced in 2cm pieces * 4 tablespoons olive oil * ½ teaspoon paprika * ½ teaspoon ground cumin * ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper * 1 cup tomato passata * ½ red capsicum, diced in 1cm pieces * ½ cup slivered almonds * 50g feta, crumbled * ½ cup pitted olives, sliced * 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded * 1 teaspoon dried herbs * salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 180*C. Place pumpkin and sweet potato on lined tray. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil on top, sprinkle spices and pepper on top. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until cooked. Remove. Cool.
- Spoon passata on prepared pizza dough spreading with the back of a spoon to the edges. Scatter pumpkin, sweet potato, capsicum, almonds, feta and olives over dough. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with dried herbs and season.
- Increase oven heat to 200*C. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until dough cooked through and cheese melted on top.