Med Diet: quenching a thirst
As June melted into July, our micro-climate here on the south coast of Spain protected us from the extremes of the European heatwave. However, temperatures are still high, and while we have a coastal breeze to help keep us cool, the mid-day sun is something to be respected. Indeed, I’m now grateful for the invaluable tip I was given by not just one but several estate agents while sifting through hundreds of properties late last year.
In London, when home-hunting, the most sought-after properties are south facing, offering the fullest benefits from the best weather. This is especially the case if you are a gardener. Yet early in my Spanish property search I was advised to avoid south facing options, especially for bedrooms or verandas. I admit to an initial scepticism, wondering if this was just a ruse to help agents shift properties, but in the end, I decided to respect the advice and ended up with a property with the bedrooms facing east and the receptions and outdoor space facing west.
The natural relief from heat has been most welcome, while I have also enjoyed stunning sunrises and sunsets. But this has also brought to mind another aspect of the sun’s dominance on the Med Diet as experienced compared to how and why it is preached.
I’ve already touched upon some obvious impacts, such as the attraction of fruits and vegetables for their refreshing water content, but another area is in drinks. And the one that has surprised me, and worth highlighting, is Kefir.
Research has well established kefir’s beneficial impact on our microbiome, helping the friendly bacteria in our guts, but once again researching the benefits of something is not the same as appreciating a product in its natural environment. Of course, while Kefir in Spain is readily available (both cow and goat varieties) it is very different to what I used to see in London. Here, Kefir comes in plain tubes and it is exactly as it should be, no fancy coloured liquids claiming to be the same as the wonderful fresh yet slightly sour dairy drink it should be. Here, all you need do is give it a good shake and then pour yourself a glass to feel refreshed.
I can’t begin to put into words how a cooling glass of Kefir can revive on a sultry afternoon, but it does provide another example of how the Med Diet is much more than an academic construct to be adopted by people, but a logical extension of an environment that provides an incredible variety of seasonal food that nourishes and satisfies and also happens to be very beneficial for health.
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