The Cretan Diet Manifest
Since 1960, numerous studies including those of Harvard University and the National Health Institute of France have recognized the health benefits of the traditional Cretan diet, consistently showing that the Cretan diet may be the healthiest diet in the world.
The quintessence of the Cretan lifestyle:
- Passion and love for life, the Cretan art of enjoying life, humor, spontaneity, pride, bravery, and Cretan mantinades (the art of musical declamation in form of a spontaneous, usually sarcastic narrative or dialogue, sung in rhythm)
- Friendship, generosity, ethos and the traditional Cretan hospitality. Cretan hospitality is part of the Cretan DNA.
- Τhe Cretan terroir, the Cretan wine varieties, Tsikoudia, the local spirit, the unique flavors and aromas of local products, the biodiversity of the island with its 1,742 endemic plants, the wild goat, Cretan cheeses, honey, aromatic plants, as well as the contemporary producers of Cretan products that propagate and modernize tradition.
- The Cretan diet as preventive and therapeutic medicine at the same time, that is in turn a necessary precondition for enjoying life and reaching the ideal state of wellness.
- The local cooks, that are keeping tradition eternal. The modern Greek, women and men, Chefs who get inspired from the traditional Cretan food and create new, innovative dishes.
- The greens (horta) as well as the different recipes with local products that come from the rich soil of Crete (vegetarian & vegan). The modern Cretan remains dedicated to the practice of his/her forefathers of collecting food from the nature; this tradition of collecting food from nature in combination with Crete’s rich flora explain the protagonist role that greens have in the Cretan diet.
- The Cretan diet is an environmentally friendly diet, thus contributing to the environmental sustainability of the planet, so that the planet remains sustainable beyond 2050.
- The decrease in food waste through numerous imaginative and unique recipes that make use of “yesterday’s leftover food” and through the use of seasonal recipes.
- The Cretan dakos as the symbol of the Cretan diet. People’s basic need to eat is what gives birth to gastronomy through the use of simple, natural yet tasty ingredients. Dakos, aka koukouvagia, combines taste, colors, aromas, textures, and the high nutritional value of its ingredients. Paximadi – rusk/dried bread made of barley is high in fiber. Extra virgin olive oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Goat/sheeps milk cheese has proteins and GLA. Wild oregano has antimicrobial properties. Capers have quercetin.
- Extra virgin olive oil is the most iconic Cretan product and the basis of the Cretan diet. It plays a protagonist role in the Cretan lifestyle not just for cooking but also in the Cretan culture and everyday life traditions such as baptism. Extra virgin olive oil gives aromas and flavor to Cretan greens, local vegetables, legumes; it’s considered the “miracle” of the Cretan diet”.
- For 5000 years and from the murals of the prehistoric times depicting feasts and food products, until today, the products characterizing the Cretan diet remain unchanged. The 1st winery in the world, the 1st documented use of olive oil in diet in the world. Crete’s local products that were protagonists in the prehistoric Minoan diet remain protagonists in Crete’s modern gastronomy.
The eternal, quintessential values of the Cretan diet:
- Love for life, the joy of life, radical joy.
- The healthy profile of the Cretan diet, probably the healthiest diet in the world, leading to the ideal state of wellness.
- Environmental sustainability. The Cretan gastronomy built itself 5000 years ago around the sustainability of the planet
- The generosity of Cretans, the joy of sharing their products, their diet, their food, their happiness, and their way of life.
- Cretan hospitality, which comes from the Cretan’s hearts.
- Respect to tradition.
- Crete’s extra virgin olive oil.