Uncategorized, wellness

Eating like the Spaniards

I just recently went on a two-week study abroad trip to Spain to study the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle. It was a foodie’s paradise full of sangria, bread, and cheese, yet they were just voted as the world’s healthiest country. While I did eat my way through Cuenca, Valencia, and Madrid, I really did learn so much through this hands-on experience that I will continue to implement in my diet. So here I present, Health Tips from the World’s Healthiest Country. 

Let Them Eat Bread

Living in a country that demonizes carbohydrates as a whole is exhausting. That’s why it was so refreshing to be in a country where they don’t shy away from bread-based meals, and just eating bread on its own. With the vast amount of walking the citizens do, they know that consuming a largely carb-based diet isn’t going to hurt them, but will fuel them with energy. Which brings me to my next point…

Walk It Out                                                                                                

In Spain, walking is the easiest mode of transportation. Contrary to the US, where we lay on our couches all day then commit one hour to dying at the gym, the Spaniards possess a more holistic and lifestyle-based approach to physical activity. Walking helps lower stress, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, leaving no question as to why Spain is the healthiest country.    

Moderation is Key

Red wine is a huge part of the Mediterranean diet, which is something I can definitely get behind. However, while research shows that red wine contains antioxidants that protect against cancer and heart disease, only a glass a day for females and two for males is recommended. In other words, chugging a whole bottle of Barefoot will do way more harm than good. 

Keep It Simple 

Sometimes here in America it seems like we try too hard with our food. We possess the approach that the more fried, saucy, and salty, the better. Spain takes a much simpler approach, and they’re in better health because of it. Relying on the food itself for flavor rather than a bunch of sauces and spices not only saves calories, but it also lowers the amount of saturated fat and sodium consumed.

Breakfast is best

One thing that I can’t say I fell in love with was the small breakfasts that Spaniards consume. I am used to my morning egg with cheese, two pieces of toast, and veggies, so most days a small croissant and piece of fruit had me starving by lunch. I’m a huge breakfast gal because I know that breakfast helps jump-start my metabolism and fuels me for the day, so this is one Mediterranean trait I will not be picking up. 

Sea food is the key food

There’s plenty of fish in the sea… to eat. My favorite part of the Mediterranean diet is its emphasis on using fish as a source of protein. Not only is most fish low in calories, but it provides good fats that aid in heart health and reducing inflammation in the body. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna also are great sources of B Vitamins, which provide support for cellular health. 

I’m not going to give you a sob story about how ‘Abroad changed me’, but I did leave a piece of my heart in Spain. I’ll continue to eat a little bit more like the Spaniards do until I can sneak my way onto a one-way flight.

Valencia, I love you.

5 thoughts on “Eating like the Spaniards”

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