When growing up in a Greek household, you learn 2 basic concepts when it comes to food.
1. The weekly food program is once a week meat, once a week fish or seafood and the rest is all about vegetable dishes like ladera (oil drenched oven roasted vegetables with tomato sauce) and Ospria (legumes)
2. Food is sacred! From the beginning of time Greece has been ravished by wars famine and natural disasters, thus making food extremely important and one of the most respected conceptσ in the Greek culture.
The above has defined Greece's dishes, cuisine, agriculture and lifestyle, making room for many rules and habits that are defined differently in each region.
Greece as opposed to other cuisines is not defined by different regional dishes as such, but more on the same dishes cooked differently in each region, for example stuffed tomatoes are cooked all over Greece however on the northern part of the mainland they add mince meat and mint, something southern Greece does not do, they make their stuffed vegetables with a lot of dill. As I write this I also realise I must point out that it is also different for each family based on their influences. Something commonly heard in Greece would be phrases like "They make their meat balls Politika" which means with lots of spices a trait of dishes associated with the Greeks from Constantinople.
However, something very distinct in Greek cuisine is the origin of the ingredients, again most produce can come from any part of Greece but it is important for Greek people to know the origin of each product as each region is considered to have the best! Oregano from Kefalonia or Kithira for example or olive oil from Lakonia or Crete.....
Also different regions have different traditions for example in the coastal towns of Lakonia or on some of the islands it is traditional to eat fish soup for Christmas or New Years, where as in the north of Greece is is traditional to eat pork, Turkey or lamb.
I think you get the idea, dishes in Greece are widespread with very few local dishes only cooked locally, but cooked and enjoyed differently and on different occasions.
If we really look closely though there are 3 ingredients that dominate the Greek cuisine, Olive oil, Lemons and oregano! they are everywhere, no dish in Greece really comes without one or the other! even desserts!
In Greece we are strong believers that food can help your mood, eating well can make you feel better, and even support your immune system! we also believe that swimming in the sea for more than 10 days in summer will guard you from viruses in the winter, so please take these claims with a pinch of salt and always listen to your doctor!
Speaking of doctors it has been proven that gut health can promote a better mood due to the serotonin levels increasing, but don't take our word for it, read it from the experts. Here is an atricle in French but a good read on how pickles increase serotonin levels.
Endless claims, endless research, but the main point is that your food intake can effect your body, mood and happiness in retrospect.
So adopting a health diet is essential in many ways!