The Secrets of the Cretan Diet

November 19, 2020  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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Fish at the market on a cooking vacation in SicilyThinking about the Greek Islands for a cooking vacation? Then the island of Crete should be at the top of your list! While all of the Greek islands are known for their healthy Mediterranean cuisine, Crete is, time and time again, regaled as having one of the healthiest (and delicious) of cuisines. In fact, studies (such as this one) have shown that Cretans have a lower mortality rate than their fellow Mediterranean dwellers.

Browse all our cooking vacations in Greece.

What makes the cuisine of Crete so healthy? For starters, they — like much of the Mediterranean — focus on seasonal ingredients. Even their meats are locally sourced, and the animals are traditionally free range, which, it can be argued, makes them even more healthy and their meats even more delicious.

Learn about the ancient Greek tradition of wine toasting.

The olive harvest at the farm during your Greek cooking vacation.The people of Crete also heavily focus on the use of olive oil; in fact, olive oil is often the only fat you’ll find in many of their dishes. The oil adds a certain flavor, whether the dish is meat or vegetables. And speaking of vegetables, the island has such a wonderful array of vegetables — and herbs — year round, meaning Cretans get their fill, in a good way, of Omega 3s, which come from the wild plants. They do eat grains — as their bread here is something to be experienced and enjoyed as well — but their diet is really heavily informed by what grows on their land.

A delicious Greek salad made during a Greek cooking vacation with The International Kitchen.Is there more to their secret healthy diet that, supposedly, makes the island’s inhabitants “forget to die”? Of course. But to discover more about their cuisine, you’ll just have to go and experience it yourself, such as during our Cooking and Traditions of Crete culinary vacation.

Try a Cretan recipe for Prawns Saganaki.

Try more Greek recipes such as: Soufico (Ikarian Eggplant Casserole) and Hare Stifado (Greek Hare Stew).

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