Showcasing the Mediterranean diet and Asian diet  
 
 




 

Decades of research has confirmed the health-giving benefits of traditional Mediterranean and Asian dietary and lifestyle practices (see Scientific Research). In fact, the evidence of these benefits is so strong that respected members of the scientific and medical communities decided in the 1990s to fully educate the Western public on the merits of this way of living.

The great pyramids


At an international conference in San Francisco, California, in 1994, a group of experts from three major organizations—Oldways Preservation Trust, Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization—released the Traditional Healthy Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.

The aim of the pyramid was simple: to illustrate, in a graphical form, the traditional healthy dietary and lifestyle practices of Mediterranean cultures. It's based on a culmination of research dating back to the Seven Countries Study in the 1950s. The Mediterranean Diet pyramid was followed in 1995 by the Traditional Healthy Asian Diet Pyramid which was developed by the same organizations as the Mediterranean pyramid, and also by senior scientists from Cornell University including Dr. T. Colin Campbell, director of the massive China Study.

 





 

The pyramids are marvelous blueprints of the traditional dietary and lifestyle practices of Mediterranean and Asian cultures. They also highlight the remarkable similarities between traditional Mediterranean and Asian dietary and lifestyle practices:

 




 


Thanks to the publicity generated by the pyramids, many of us are now aware of the healthfulness of traditional Mediterranean and Asian dietary and lifestyle practices—the huge boom in sales of olive oil and soy products in recent years is testimony to that. But how do all the guidelines set out in the pyramids translate into real life for a Westerner living in this fast-paced modern world?

Next we'll go through each of these guidelines individually. We'll reveal why each guideline is so health-giving, and provide you with lots of tips on how to easily incorporate that guideline into your life. We'll also discuss one guideline that wasn't included in either the Mediterranean or Asian pyramid—the fact that Mediterranean and Asian cultures have known for centuries that emotional health is just as important as physical health. Indeed, more than 2000 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle defined the goal of all human endeavor as Happiness. We agree wholeheartedly!

Now let's look in detail at the nine key guidelines that form the building blocks of a MediterrAsian way of living.

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