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Alumna Uncovers Health Keys of Mediterranean Lifestyle
Monday, October 28, 2013
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Artemis Morris, ND, LAc, shows what an island known for wellness and longevity can teach the rest of us.

What does the Mediterranean diet, that much-praised standard, really look like?

Red wine and pasta? Israeli hummus and pita? Moroccan chickpea stew?

To Artemis Morris, ND (‘00), LAc, it looks like her Great Aunt Argyro sipping her morning glass of olive oil, easing into her 11th decade on the Greek island of Crete. Or perhaps Aunt Argyro is visiting with neighbors after their customary afternoon nap, sitting outdoors as the sea breeze sweeps away the last of the day’s heat. They await a dinner of bean soup, dark bread, cheese and wild greens, all generously flavored with olive oil from local orchards.

For Dr. Morris, joining her extended family on vacations as a child, these images offers a vision of wellness that comes not through pills and workout plans but through a life embedded in place and community. Argyro died two years ago at the age of 107, but her life still guides Dr. Morris in her work as a healer, teacher, researcher and author.

“My definition of medicine was inspired by growing up in a Mediterranean household,” Dr. Morris says. “If we can bring the Mediterranean lifestyle into our homes, our health care issues are going to fall away.”

Dr. Morris, a graduate of Bastyr University’s naturopathic medicine and acupuncture of Oriental medicine programs, approaches the Cretan diet as both heritage and professional interest. After her studies at Bastyr, she conducted ethnographic research in Crete, culminating in an article on Mediterranean diet and lifestyle for Naturopathic Doctor News & Review.

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