March 14, 2017
Who invented the Mediterranean Diet? Nobody did
Through the keyword analysis I have been collecting the most frequent questions and doubts about Mediterranean Diet. I’ll try to clarify the most commonly detected. The Mediterranean Diet Loss Weight Plan is now in the previous post. You can find it at the right column or go to Mediterranean Diet Loss Weight Plan. Later, I’ll put the plan in a permanent page so that it can be viewed easily.
Mediterranean Diet FAQ’s
1) Who invented the Mediterranean Diet?
Nobody did. It has been existing for thousands of years in spite of that nobody in the Mediterranean Basin knew t its name and how important it was for Humanity. Everybody knows that the World is divided in three types of Food Civilizations. The Corn, the Rice and the Wheat Civilizations. The Mediterranean Diet is inserted clearly in the last one. The Corn was domesticated in Mesoamerica. Consequently, it was not known until XV Century. Rice was consumed more in East countries and in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nowadays, three grain are eaten all over the World. The Spanish more known dish, Paella, is made out of rice.
We have to clarify that until less than a century, in the Mediterranean Region was not possible to have refined wheat flour. The bread was made with ground wheat after separating most of the coarse bran. We had the flour with the wheat germ and a small percentage of that bran. Today, what you get as “integral bread” is 99,99 % made out of a mixture of refined flour and bran, with no wheat germ at all. Some medical tests have proved some relation between bran and osteoporosis, as Bran decreases the gastro-intestinal absorption of calcium.
Concerning the simple sugars, The Mediterranean Diet had honey (organic honey*) as its mainly sweetener. Everybody knows the properties of this natural food. Mediterranean sweets were made out of it (and most of them still are in genuine Mediterranean homes). Its consumption did not produce obesity, due to the low percentage of these products in the Mediterranean Diet and the intense and/or continue physical activity of the people.
The potato was introduced to Europe in the middle of the XVI Century by European mariners. So it didn’t belong to the original Mediterranean Diet. Later, it was added to the daily diet without any problem, as its source of starch was needed to provide a clean energy to the working body, as all carbohydrates do.
Bread, either leavened or unleavened, can be traced to prehistoric times. The discovery of leavened bread could probably be due to an accident. Yeast spores mixed with the dough and produced fermentation. Until 19th Century, all leavened bread used to have a sour taste, not coming from the yeast, but from the lactic acid excreted by a lactobacillus that lives in symbiosis which the yeast. This lactic acid protected the bread from spoiling as most microorganism cannot survive in an acid environment. Today, the lactobacillus has been removed except for the “sour bread“. Nowadays, you have unleavened bread in Mediterranean Diet. An example is the “Feast of Unleavened Bread in Israel”, a millenarian tradition.
Sourdough bread (original Mediterranean Diet leavened bread) is made without commercial yeast. It was the way that leavened bread was done for thousands and thousands of years before you could buy a packet of yeast. You have to make an “starter” , in which the wild yeast will grow with the lactobacillus and then mix a part of this fermented started with flour, water and salt, to produce bread after a few hours of fermentation. It is not easy to make the started from scratch but you can try mixing whole grain flour with natural pineapple juice , and add every day more juice and more flour. At the fourth day you mix it (or a part of it) with the same volume of water and the same volume of flour (1/3+1/3+1/3). At the fifth day, you repeat the process until you see bubbles and smell yeast. As it is a natural process you may have to try it several times, as it happened at the beginning of the times. Better, buy the starter if you are in a hurry.
Anyway there is something that made the Mediterranean Diet unique and a World Heritage: The olive tree ((Olea europaea). A native species of the Mediterranean Region.
*According to USDA regulations, labelled organic honey cannot contents even traces of not allowed chemicals, drugs or any type of antibiotics.