Women’s subjective experiences of food and eating on the island of the ‘Mediterranean diet’
Department of Psychology, University of Crete
The purpose of this research was to explore and develop an understanding of Cretan women’s subjective experiences regarding food and eating behaviors. On average, 43 community group participants provided reflective written feedback after eleven consecutive meetings. The participants ranged in age from 20 to 85 years. The group engaged in experiential activities and critical reflection with the aim of construction and generation of meanings regarding women’s subjective experiences of food, eating, nutrition and body image. The women expressed worry and confusion concerning what the ‘right’ foods are, and balancing ‘tradition’ with new and conflicting ‘lifestyles’. Younger women were more concerned with diet and body image, middle age participants with preparing ‘appropriate’ foods for their families, and older participants with the changing practices in traditional cuisine. This study offers a conceptual understanding of how a sample of women living within a culture considered privileged to possess ‘a medically sanctioned’ diet, subjectively experience food and eating.