It was my first trip to Paris that I discovered the real beauty in food. On just one street you could find bright and vibrant produce being sold right out of a cart, a nearby boulangerie where the smell of warm bread wafted into the street and a small storefront where a butcher served up the meat available for the day.
I loved the how each vendor had their specialty. Quality and taste were never compromised and shopping for an evening meal was truly a pleasure. It was later on that I studied abroad and traveled through Europe that I found most places ate this way and were much healthier than Americans.
A number of European countries follow what is known as the Mediterranean diet. This diet is heavily focused in plant based foods-fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts. Olive oil is the main source of fat, providing heart healthy monounsaturated fats rather than butter (a saturated fat). Meat intake is sparse. Rather, people consume more fish and lean proteins.
Foods in this diet are minimally processed. There is little question of what is in a dish because foods are prepared very simply without preservatives.
The best news, of course, is that those who follow this diet around the Mediterranean get to drink wine! In moderation of course, but a glass at dinner every night fits in perfectly to this style of living.
So just like Michael Pollan says: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."