Alistair Angelakis had the chance to make and, more importantly, eat authentic buffalo milk ricotta on Italian plantations and farms this summer. After completing their experience at the cheese shop, Angelakis (Sargent ’25) and her classmates ended the day with a Prosecco tasting and lunch under the property’s pergola overlooking the mountains of Treviso, Italy ( Were you envious?).
This farm-to-table cooking lesson is part of this summer’s Sargent University of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences four-week course, “Mediterranean Diet: Food, Culture, and Food,” to give BU students a taste of the food-active Mediterranean. It was just one of many field visits aimed at showcasing the lifestyle. health. Based in the city of Padua in the Veneto region of Italy, the BU Study Abroad Program teaches evidence-based research into the Mediterranean diet while immersing students in the food, culture, cuisine and lifestyle of the region. Open to undergraduate and graduate students, this summer brought together 27 of his students from multiple universities, including Sargent, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Public Health.
The course is very popular and has a waiting list, so the professors want to expand the course in the future.
“Studies show that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest eating patterns in the world,” says Paula Quattromoni, SPH’01 Associate Professor of Nutrition, Sargent University, who organized the course in 2017. ) says. It focuses on fresh produce. Eating whole grains, nuts, legumes, and olive oil, and reducing protein and animal fats, can significantly reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Wine is also permitted in moderation.of new york times Recently praised it as “the foundation of a healthy diet.”
What makes “Diet” realistic and fun is its emphasis on its convivial atmosphere. We encourage home-cooked meals made with locally sourced ingredients with family and friends. These concepts lead to healthier eating habits, says Quattromoni, especially when compared to the often-negative American food culture. Her academic research is on eating disorders, and she says she frequently finds people who don’t understand how food keeps them alive.
As such, the course is an opportunity to teach prospective healthcare professionals the importance of food positivity and inclusion when working with patients, Quattromoni said. “Instead of making assumptions about overweight patients and saying, ‘Don’t eat too much ice cream,’ why not talk to them about using fresh food and getting back in the kitchen,” she said. says. “Talk about their connection to their culture and family traditions. Those are all much more positive messages.”
As a nutritionist, Joan Sarge-Blake, Sargent’s clinical nutrition professor and co-lecturer, Sargent ’84, says she’s working hard to dispel the myth that the Mediterranean diet is expensive and impractical. Sarge Blake, a popular media expert, says the course teaches students how to accurately communicate the science they are learning and allows them to sit down with patients on how to adopt this diet when they get home. He said it was designed to allow him to speak.
“This was the farmer’s diet,” says Sarge Blake. “What we are trying to convey is that this is actually a cheaper way to eat compared to the traditional American diet. You have to realize, I said in class yesterday that you don’t need 3 pounds of beef in chili.You can take 1 pound of beef and add tons of beans and vegetables to it.”
This class fills the undergraduate hub unit and takes full advantage of its home base in northern Italy. Undergraduates live in host families’ homes and are given another chance to experience the Mediterranean diet. Quattromoni and Sarzi Blake combine classroom learning with field trips to local farmers markets. This summer, students took a pasta-making class and spoke with experts, including Turkish celebrity cookbook author Aslihan Kolyan Sabansi and a chef working at a local Italian school. They visited Verona, the setting of Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet, Then climb Castel San Pietro for panoramic views of the city.
During the visit of a local agriculture professor, the class discussed sustainable agriculture and the Mediterranean diet, which has a low environmental impact considering it is plant-based. “Eating local, seasonal foods helps the environment in many ways,” says Quattromoni. “Eating seasonal and home-grown food produced by local farmers protects the environment in many ways, so we discussed how this eating pattern is green and sustainable.”
Students also spent time reading and analyzing scientific papers on the effects of the Mediterranean diet on diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Quattromoni says that undergraduates often don’t have much experience analyzing statistics or reading graphs, so the whole class worked on analyzing these. “Science is usually very different from what is communicated on social media and in the news, so this is to help them think critically,” she says. “So they do it in small groups first, then we get together and talk about it, and then I make up for what they’re missing. I feel like
Navya Cottura (CAS’24) says that not only did she learn more about the Mediterranean diet, she was introduced to a different lifestyle, which she now adopts. “Whether walking or biking to different places, buying groceries at the local wet market, or cooking and eating meals with friends and family, I am committed to a healthier lifestyle. We’re going to make these changes,” she says. Kottula, a vegetarian, also said she learned about simple changes she could make, like adding more extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), eating a handful of nuts as a side dish for breakfast, and substituting fruit for dessert. “I’m sure my approach to food and diet will change after this class,” she says.
Colin Gao (Sargent’24) signed up for the course after hearing rave reviews from friends who had attended the program last year. He says the Mediterranean diet is unique because it’s not a traditional diet, it’s a way of life. “This includes how these products are grown and obtained, how they are expertly prepared, how they are served, the company you eat with, and even how you savor every bite. It includes the whole process, right down to how you enjoy it.” “[This] The concept of Slow Food, which focuses on locally sourced ingredients cooked in traditional ways, has had a huge impact on me. ”
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