What is it that makes life in the Mediterranean so great?
The Mediterranean is still one of the healthiest, happiest, cleanest, and nicest places to live on Earth, thanks to thousands of years of culture and history being handed down from generation to generation regarding diet and a balanced lifestyle, not to mention exceptional climate and natural beauty.
The Mediterranean has such a broad variety of fresh and healthy food available that it is hard not to like most of it, no matter where you are from. Plus, despite its warm and arid climate, nearly anything will grow here so there is always something in season and fantastic fresh seafood from this inland sea is available all year long.
“The Med,” food - olive oil, cheese, stews, pastas, soups, salads, tapas, juices and wines.
People around the Mediterranean love food, and they understand that eating well makes people happy. Alcoholism, obesity and heart disease rates are among the lowest in the world, even though wine, oil, fat, bread and meat are common. Indeed, many people in other countries are now adopting the “Med-style” diet to try to naturally lower cholesterol. The key is fresh ingredients, lots of fruits and veggies, and portion control. And the fact that fast food chains are not very popular or common helps too.
Of course food is part of the lifestyle, but what else defines everyday life in the Mediterranean region? Despite economic struggles and general diplomatic skirmishes, people in the Mediterranean have a reputation for enjoying life and not taking things too seriously. This means less self-inflicted stress, something that can contribute to illness. This doesn’t imply that people are lazy (in fact they are typically quite hard working, as one would have to be if raising a large family, which is common in the area), but work is kept in its place – at the office.
If keeping stress at bay seems like a difficult mental adjustment, learning to take a two hour lunch break and a quick nap should be less so. In the warmer months, that nap may even be followed up by a swim in the sea to get the blood flowing before heading back to work for a couple more hours. Few things are rushed in this part of the world, and in passing the region’s ancient architecture everyday, you are constantly reminded that making time to relax is a system that works.
Massive numbers of annual tourists and poor controls over this have taken a toll on the Mediterranean Sea; resulting in pollution, overfishing, and ecological damage that has affected aquatic life. More action is needed to stop these problems, but still, the Mediterranean remains one of the most pristine though heavily-populated areas in the world. It’s one reason the region got so popular with tourists in the first place.
Filling your lungs with clean salty air, enjoying the cool breezes and letting the sun shine on your face are some of life’s simplest pleasures. Naturally, like so many places, better environmental protection must be put into practice, but the climate and environment of the Mediterranean are still hard to beat.
One of the benefits of high fuel and transportation costs is that more short trips are made on foot or by bicycle. And with such nice weather most of the year, there is no good reason not to get outside at every opportunity, even if just to get from point A to point B. Walking and biking also keep people healthier, provide daily exercise, promote better sleep and reduce air pollution to keep the sky a perfect blue.