Cretan Cuisine & Diet

Cretan Cuisine & Diet Secret of Health and Longevity dakos koukouvagia crete

Cretan cuisine has its roots in antiquity, specifically the Minoan and Classical Eras. Through the procession of history, many other cultures have influenced this cuisine, such as the Byzantine, the Asia Minor (Smyrna), the Arabic, the Venetian and the Turkish. The uniqueness of Cretan traditional Cuisine lies in the fact that it is effected by climatic changes (4 seasons) and religious factors (fasting periods).

Traditional Cretan Nutrition is solidly based on 7 types of food:

  • olive oil
  • legumes
  • fresh vegetables, greens, salads
  • fish, poultry, lamb
  • fruit
  • herbs, both aromatic and therapeutic
  • cereals, thickly-cut barley, wheat, hondros (ground wheat), bread, dakos (Cretan rusk)

This traditional Cretan diet is acknowledged and applauded by contemporary dieticians from all over the world. The diet includes abundant fruit, legumes and vegetables, boiled or raw. Characteristically, while in the rest of Greece it is customary to eat lamb on the spit on Easter Sunday, in many areas of Crete people eat lamb with chicory, artichokes and lettuce or ofto (grilled lamb cut into four pieces, which loose most of its fat while cooking), accompanied by a bottle of good, pure Cretan wine on their table.

The secret of traditional Cretan cooking is based on the following triptych: Health, Taste & Pleasure. Cretans offers this secret of life by teaching their guests to appreciate the traditional Cretan diet and all its health benefits. Keep in mind that Cretans never eat alone but always in the company of relatives, friends and often strangers, who after a good meal are also friends. All our products (meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, salads, wine, raki, bread) are biologically grown and produced, with no fertilizers or harmful chemicals.

Cretans secret of health and longevity

The effects of nutrition on health and longevity of man have been known for thousands of years. Hippocrates taught us “Nutrition should be your medicine”, but despite his advice, since the industrial revolution, the value of good nutrition has been forgotten. Many inhabitants of industrialized countries have paid for this forgetfulness with their health.

The interest of researchers concerning the significance of nutrition was rekindled in the 1950s. Organized epidemiological studies presented some very interesting results. In the 1960s, 7 countries took part in a relevant research (Finland, Greece, Holland, Italy, Japan, USA and Yugoslavia), which proved that the lowest mortality rate, as well as the lowest appearance rate of illnesses such as heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, was seen in the inhabitants of Crete.

The results of the research can be attributed to the nutritional habits and the way of life of the Cretans. Their daily diet included bread and raw cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables and virgin olive oil as well as a regular consumption of legumes, fresh fish and seafood, poultry, yogurt, cheese, dry fruit, honey and locally produced wine. Looking at this combination of food groups, we discover that no nutritional component is lacking. The same diet is consumed throughout Greece and the Mediterranean region, and we have therefore come to know it as the Mediterranean Diet.

Crete offer you the secret of longevity: the traditional Cretan cuisine promotes life, health, taste and enjoyment. The Cretans by nature are considered the most hospitable people in Greece and feel the need to share what nature has provided with good company.

Photo Source:commons.wikimedia.org

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