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5 Tips to Improve Wellness From the Mediterranean

I became a local writer for a tourism magazine in Malta focusing on the healthy food and lifestyle of the island (a GMO-free country) since I moved here in 2020. For almost three years I have followed every food that comes into season and learned from the farmers the way they harvest their seasonal foods. I will share what I experience here first and then add a tip for how you can make it your own.

First, The Mediterranean diet is not actually a diet. It’s a way of life and it does not come with a set of rules and restrictions the way that we have translated their wisdom to be. Here, they eat locally, seasonally and mindfully as much as possible. They eat real (full-fat) foods without guilt.

“Stop counting calories and start treating each meal as an experience. Use those healthy fats and let them nourish your brains out!”


#1. Go with the Flow

Everything about the Mediterranean approach to life goes with the flow, not against it. They take each course of food as a complement to our body’s natural digestive process. They give our bodies the foods in smaller quantities but in a larger number of courses. They finish with a coffee to aid in digestion.

Tip: Invite friends for either a home-cooked meal or at a local place that serves the kinds of foods that make you close your eyes and hum when you take a bite. Sit there for as long as you want and order all the courses (and stop feeling guilty for enjoying every moment of it).


#2. Eat Locally

Eating locally means something very different to me now. I look for olive oil that was grown locally and I buy it direct from the growers. I can taste such a difference in the fruits and vegetables I buy right from the farm trucks that are parked in every local town on the island. Food is so much purer when you get it locally sourced.


Tip: Start shopping at the local co-ops or farmer’s markets. Changing to foods grown by hand, in healthy soil, by people you know and can count on will be one of the biggest healthy game changers of your life.


#3. Exercise For the Fun of It

Physical activity is a way of life in the Mediterranean. People get out and about without thinking “I have to get my steps in.” They mostly say “I want to play under the sun!” There is pure joy to be found in moving the body. It isn’t forced. When we eat out, we have learned to walk around following the meal before heading back home and the change feels so much heathier.


Tip: Do something active that you enjoy and do not watch for the time, number of steps or number of calories burned. Just move to move!


#4. Community is Key

One of the biggest things I have observed that is the healthiest of all is the interconnectedness of the communities here. The island is small, and people live close. Homes are rarely without another home on either side of them. People show up for each other in completely different ways here and it has been one of the most refreshing parts of our new life. The community way of living is an ultra-game changer. You can show up at someone’s door and be welcomed with wide open arms. Love and meals made with love still runs the show over here and I am here for it!


Tip: Join a group, meet your neighbors, do something that connects you with like-minded, loving and healthy people. It doesn’t have to be daily, but make it a part of your life in a way that you can show up for and benefit from.


#5. You Must Rest

Quality sleep, naps and rest are all key ingredients to the lives of these hard workers — especially the farmers who are up at insane hours and then get home and go to sleep for as long as their bodies need to rest and recover. Another example is the fisherman who leaves home around 3:00 am every morning to go out on the boat. He arrives back when the fish are done biting. He walks right to bed and sleeps until dinner time. He eats dinner with his family every night and then goes to sleep again until it’s time to get on the boat. Other local farmers are up at 4:00 a.m. to hand pick and then deliver the morning picks to the fresh markets. Their body clocks are different and yet the amount of sleep might be more and the quality is very good. Not everyone needs to sleep in an 8-hour session, but it is important to aim for at least 8 hours however that works with your personal schedule and body clock.

Tip: When you are tired, take a nap! Do whatever you can with your daily schedule to carve out time for rest or for a nap if necessary and to get to bed at a decent hour. Follow your own body clock for the proper hours to sleep.

Emily A. Francis
Author: Emily A. Francis

Emily has a BS in Exercise Science and Wellness with a minor in nutrition and a master’s degree in Human Performance. She now writes a column for the tourism magazine, Oh My Malta titled Emily in Malta and also has a column with a world-renowned chef A Chef and a Foodie On Tour to review local family restaurants. She is also a contributing writer for Malta’s Gourmet Today magazine. To know more about the author and her latest book The Taste of Joy: Mediterranean Wisdom For a Life Worth Savoring, visit:

Website: https://www.emilyafrancisbooks.com