The week before I left for Spain, a bunch of stories on the health benefits of the “Mediterranean diet” were hitting the news.
Nice timing. I was already looking forward to eating in Spain. This just gave me a good excuse to indulge even more. If it’s healthy, I should do more of it, right?
We talked about this at dinner with the host family with whom my daughter is living, over homemade paella (which was, in a word, fantastic!) They said that yes, it seems healthier. But there were a number of ideas as to why: they tend to eat what’s in season and available locally; lots of fruits and vegetables in addition to all the olive oil; the big meal is in the middle of the day with the evening meal being lighter; wine with meals. But then an interesting thought came up: maybe it’s because we have nice weather and people are generally in a good mood.
Hmmm. Coming back to the awful “spring” weather at home, I think there might be something to the weather idea.
But I was more interested in the food ideas. Most cyclists I know will admit that they “ride to eat”. When you combine big rides every day with being in a great food location, you have a recipe for a good cycling trip.
Each day while riding I found myself thinking about what would be good for dinner. And then found myself taking pictures of every meal and emailing them. It was too good to keep to myself. Paella. Iberian ham. Seasonal vegetables. Many different kinds of tapas.
The best part was seeing my daughter before my eyes being transformed from the “picky eater” into someone willing to try octopus.
My first trip to Italy permanently changed the way I looked at food. It was there that I learned of the “slow food movement”. We ate simple, but amazingly-prepared, meals. Family-style, and in no hurry to finish. I can’t say that I always follow that at home, where I’m often more concerned with just getting something in my stomach after riding.
But trips like this are always a good reminder for me to practice slow food whenever I can.