My husband and I along with 11 other people from Rockford just returned from wonderful 10 day trip to Sicily organized by Shirley and Gene Fedeli. I got a first hand view of the Mediterranean diet. Here are some observations:
Appetizers offered included rice balls stuffed with meat and vegetables, eggplant, caponata, stuffed artichokes, sardines, and grilled vegetables.
Pasta and risotto are prepared many ways including with the additions of seafood, eggplant, zucchini, basil, or mushrooms. If meat is added to the sauce, it is only a flavoring.
Soups are nourishing and can be a light lunch accompanied with bread. Many varieties of bean and vegetable soups were offered.
Entrees might include lamb, beef, goat, or a few thin slices of veal and was lightly sautéed. Portion sizes were no more than 3 ounces.
Fish offered included tuna, squid, swordfish and octopus. It is often grilled or stuffed and accompanied with a light sauce.
Pizzas are generally thin crust with a little sauce and sprinkled with cheese. Toppings may include eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, ham, artichokes, or anchovies.
Missing were foods deep fried, foods covered with cheese, the meat being the main ingredient and oversized portions.
We stopped at the grocery store. It was small in comparison to what we have here at home. Very few prepackaged foods were available. Canned goods, meat, cheeses, and plenty of fruits and vegetables were seen. High fructose corn syrup was not an ingredient seen on food labels.
The countryside was filled with lemon, orange, almond, and olive orchards. Fields of wheat and grape vines were seen also. Most of the crops grown here in the Midwest are to feed livestock and make corn syrup. In Sicily, the crops they grow feed people.
Walking is a mode of transportation in Sicily. Despite the hilly, narrow streets, people walked everywhere. Even the nonnas and nonnos used this reliable mode of transportation.
Eating a true Mediterranean diet is a meal of vegetables, fruits, and grains with a little meat and fish prepared simply with sensible portion sizes. Buon Appetito!