The Mediterranean Diet has drastically changed my life over the last 14 years.
I was brought up during the crazy dieting of the 70’s by a Mom who was constantly trying anything to lose weight and feel better. From Weight Watchers to Overeaters Anonymous to the cabbage soup diet to dangerous hypodermic needles shot directly into her kidneys, my Mom tried it all. She taught me everything she knew and at a young age I went from a healthy weight to being overweight. Then I started dieting and I too began trying all kinds of ways to lose weight and be healthier (although I never went to the lengths my Mom did).
I brought these habits into my adult life. I also learned to be very empathetic to others who were struggling and this is why I became a dietitian. I wanted to learn how to help myself, but I also wanted to help others. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that until, in 2002, I started consulting for a lifestyle modification program that worked with people who had had a heart attack. The creator of the program, a cardiologist, named Reed Schneider, was convinced that a Mediterranean Diet was the best for heart disease. I fell in love with this incredible way of eating right away. Here was a diet that wasn’t a diet at all. It had nothing to do with counting calories or restricting food. It was about celebration, eating with abandon, community and most importantly, it was beyond delicious.
A few years later, after learning as much as I could about Mediterranean diet from cookbooks and research, I spent a month on the Greek island of Crete. Crete is known to be one of the healthiest places in the world. In the 1950’s, researchers could find only one man on the island who had any kind of heart disease. They had the highest longevity rates in the world and the men lived to be the same age as the women. The food there was incredible: spinach pies, meat stews, vegetable dishes drenched with olive oil, beans with herbs, and wild edible greens dripping with olive oil and lemon juice are just a few examples of what I tried. While I was in Crete, I met Koula Barydakis, a Cretan chef who cooked food so spectacular that I wanted to move to Crete permanently. Koula and I wrote our best selling book: Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes from the Healthiest People in the World. Now, Koula teaches Mediterranean cooking in Crete and I teach here in America.
After traveling all over the country, leading thousands of workshops, I started Mediterranean Living in 2011. Our mission is to teach others how to change their lives with Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle. I truly believe that this way of living and eating can change your life just like it changed mine. We have been creating some amazing programs over the past year and we are excited to roll them out in the next few months. More about those later! I hope you enjoy our site and please let me know if you have any questions or if there is any way we can help.
Kali Orexi! (Greek for Bon Appetit)
Bill Bradley, R.D.