Ever since the start of our course, Professor Sidossis has been emphasizing the fact that we are studying the Mediterranean Lifestyle, not just the Mediterranean Diet. When he spoke on the importance of moderation for health, we all nodded and agreed. But I don’t think that we truly understood his point until we tasted, drank, danced, swam, shopped, and basically lived by this tenant during our two weeks in Greece.
Yes, the Mediterranean diet is a key to the success and longevity historically associated with the area. However, other components like exercise, socialization, reduced stress, and healthy relationships with drugs and alcohol are necessary for a well rounded and enjoyable life.
For example, if you have a perfect diet but do not exercise, you can only be so healthy. And if you exercise every day but chain smoke, or are chronically stressed, your body is going to take a hit.
This emphasis on moderation is actually comforting and rather forgiving. You do not have to be perfect in every aspect of your lifestyle, but as long as you practice overall healthy habits and moderation, you are on the right track. Diet and exercise are useless if you are alone and unhappy, hence the Mediterranean Lifestyle’s emphasis on socialization and “breaking bread” surrounded by friends and family.
These moderate practices are why the Mediterranean Lifestyle has lasted for so long, ever since its origins on Crete Island.
As a college student, I feel pressure to be perfect academically and in so many other ways, but my two weeks in Greece have changed my mindset and how I approach both my goals and problems. I will start a new semester with new friends that I made on my trip and a new found optimism and drive to live healthfully. I can not recommend this program more!