Linda Hall: Mediterranean diet Mark II

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SOME years back, a friend who hadn’t been here long grumbled that she’d put on weight thanks to the Mediterranean diet.

Hardly surprising, because eating Mediterranean Spain’s food doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re following its rules.  In fact, you’ll usually be eating, and doubtless enjoying it very much, a Spanglish diet, which is notorious for adding kilos you’d rather lose.

As I found when living in the rural outskirts of Altea my neighbours – elderly people who knew nothing other than the Mediterranean diet – ate what they produced.

That meant killing it too.

We lived in the bottom half of a rambling house, some of it new, some of it probably a couple of centuries old. Each Friday Marcela, our landlady who lived on the top half, would select a rabbit from the corral and kill it in a process that I was careful not to witness but couldn’t avoid overhearing.

It was brutal but rapid and in no time at all, she’d skinned and gutted it, ready for the Sunday paella.

Pigeons, chickens, and even turkeys at Christmas met the same fate but who was I to shiver in disgust? Not when I bought the remains of dead animals that had lived in miserable conditions and were bred purely to satisfy the appetites of supermarket customers.

A couple of my neighbours were also directly linked to the fish they ate and one day shortly after we’d moved in, Marcela’s cousin Teresa appeared with some mackerel so fresh that they shone.

Did I want any, Marcela asked me.  As it happened, I didn’t as I’d bought fish that morning, which also happened to be mackerel. Obviously, there’d been a good catch the night before.

“Teresa often brings me some,” she said.

“I suppose she had some leftover,” I remarked.

Marcela looked at me sternly: “Oh no. These aren’t leftovers. We share what we have.”

And there spoke someone who knew what the Mediterranean diet really meant.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at