A few days ago, we talked about how the economic crisis is making some people return to the Mediterranean Diet. Not everybody agrees with this assertion. The reason is that this lifestyle is considered elitist, select, expensive or sumptuous.
Between the most popular and cheapest food in the Mediterranean region, not very long ago, they were the main dishes, sometimes the only dish, based on legumes … and what your budget and your health allowed you to add to the pot.
Thousands of years ago, when meat, eggs and even fish was scarce, man learned that an adequate combination of legumes and grain could replace the missing food. They did not know much about nutrition, but this was an instinctive way to add the eight (or nine in case of children) essential amino acids to the diet.
Lentils with rice and baked beans on toast are two of the most known and consumed Vegan food combinations. The first one comes from the Mediterranean culture and the second, from the Anglo-Saxon one. And there are hundreds more coming from all over the world. They include many species and varieties of legumes as peas, soy, cheek-peas, lentils, peanuts, etc., combined with the regional grains as corn, wheat, barley, oat, rye, quinoa, etc. Concerning cereals it is considered to be two big cultures in the world: the Wheat Culture and the Corn Culture.
On the other hand, fresh vegetables and fruit can be found very cheap in many city markets, flea markets or even supermarkets. The price of this food products have dropped with the crisis, while manufactured goods have at least maintained their prices. Approximately, the same happens to other vegetal products as potatoes, sweet potatoes and so on.
It is true that beef continue being expensive, but it was not a very frequent food in the original Mediterranean Diet. Even any meat was not a daily dish. Anyway, chicken is not only the healthier possible meat but the cheapest one. A serving of grilled chicken breast is much convenient and cheaper than a hamburger.
By the way, do not forget the small Mediterranean fish like sardines, mackerel, anchovies…