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8 Rules We Can Learn From the Greek Diet and Lifestyle

8 Rules We Can Learn From the Greek Diet and Lifestyle

The Greeks have given the world many gifts, ranging from politics to science as well as architecture. The Greeks have been drivers of so many important fields that are still so relevant today. While all of those things are wonderful in their own respect, let’s put Aristotle aside for a second and discuss Greek food.

Greek food belongs to the now-popular Mediterranean diet. The Greek diet emphasizes nutrition and lifestyle changes, such as engaging in physical activity, eating meals in social situations, and eating a wide range of foods. Many have studied the effects of a Mediterranean diet, leading the United States Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to endorse it in their 2015 Scientific Report.

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Since the Greek diet exemplifies many different aspects of the Mediterranean diet, it got me thinking about the 8 things that we can learn and appreciate from the Grecian lifestyle and diet.

1. Eat meals in social settings and gatherings

There was a reason that My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia became such cultural sensations. Who could resist the Greek approach to food in these movies? Though I have only been to Greece once, what I most remember from my time there is how social their meals really were. Wandering through small towns, it was so common to see large groups of people coming together to enjoy their meals each and every day.

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2. Enjoy red wine (in moderation!)

The Greeks are really onto something here. Red wine is rich with phytonutrients, which support a range of cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. Several studies have shown that moderate consumption has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. If you are already enjoying wine in your diet, know that a small glass a few times a week is doing good things for your overall health.

3. Eat a variety of foods

Try to eat the rainbow of fruits and vegetables! The Greek diet also emphasizes protein from fish, eggs, and poultry as well as legumes. For carbohydrates, choose whole grain options like bulgur, quinoa, and barley. Get your healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds. Switching to these foods have been shown to have significant health effects.

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4. Get your probiotics

Don’t forget about the gut-promoting probiotics that is found in yogurt and cultured vegetables. Additionally, making the switch to Greek yogurt will not only ensure you get your probiotics, but also guarantee that you get an extra boost of protein in your diet.

5. Embrace healthy fats

Healthy fats help you look your best by promoting healthy hair, skin, and nail. Additionally, healthy fats support heart health. A recent study showed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts significantly reduced the risk of combined heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease in people at risk for heart health problems by about 30%.

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6. Slow down and appreciate your meals

We are all on the go these days, and it directly impacts how we eat. We scarf down breakfast on our morning commute, eat lunch at our computers, and then collapse on the couch to eat dinner in front of the TV. I totally struggle to take a break from my computer and enjoy my lunch at work. However, this is so important. Paying attention to what you eat will help keep you from mindfully noshing on that bag of potato chips.

7. Engage in moderate physical activity

A morning run or evening walk are common place in Greece and in the Mediterranean in general. I mean, Greece was the birthplace of the Olympics after all! It isn’t too difficult for people in this region to reach the 150 minutes of recommended physical activity. While 150 minutes of cardio or resistance training per week may seem overwhelming at first, it breaks down to 30 minutes five times per week. Does 30 minutes seem like to much of a commitment? No worries. A variety of studies have shown that even 5 or 10 minutes have positive effects on health and cardiovascular risk.

8. Have a healthy relationship with food

It seems like everywhere you turn, there are negative discussions about food, leading to fear and anxiety being associated with food. It doesn’t help that fad diets distract us from fully developing a healthy relationship with food, but that is what’s so great with a Greek approach to food. A Mediterranean diet isn’t just another fad diet that forbids various food groups or encourages consumption of specific foods. Gluten-free or acai berry diets, anyone? Rather, the Mediterranean diet is holistic lifestyle that encourages a healthy relationship with food.

In this case, it really is “all Greek to me” is the way to go. Embrace the Greek approach to food and you will be on your way to a more healthful life.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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