Shop Local as Part of the Mediterranean Diet
One of the big differences between the North American lifestyle and that of the Mediterranean is where people shop for food. Many people in the Mediterranean, whether they live in large cities or small towns, depend more on local markets, butchers, bakers, and produce stands (though the big-box stores you’re used to are popping up more and more in the Mediterranean). This dependence allows them to have fresher foods.
In North America, people often shop in big grocery stores whether they live in large cities or small towns. The conveniences of a big grocery store make life easy, but you often forego the benefit of seasonally fresh foods. Much of the produce found in grocery stores is shipped in from other states and even other countries. The longer the transport time, the more nutrients are lost.
Living in a big city does have some advantages if you want to shop someplace besides a large grocery store. A big city gives you opportunities to shop in specialty stores such as local bakeries and butchers. Take some time to explore your city.
Although rural areas may not have the convenience of many different specialty markets, these regions do have their own positives for getting into the swing of Mediterranean cooking. For one, they may have more local produce stands where you can get fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. You may even have room to grow your own garden, which is the best way to get truly fresh produce.
If you don’t have a lot of options or time and only can shop in your local grocery store, take some time to really explore your produce section. More and more grocery stores are carrying locally grown foods. It’s usually not a very large section, but it’s a great way to get some fresh, seasonal, local foods and still keep the convenience of your grocery shopping!