Food in ancient Greek myths – A Keto story

Summer has arrived in its full potential! Especially in the land of ancient Gods. Since summer is a symbol of laziness, resting, enjoyment and contemplation, I thought it would be nice to give you something mythical to read. I collected two myths of the ancient times related to healthiest foods you can eat on Keto diet.

Naturally, I will start with the divine goat milk and the legend about the king of Gods – almighty Zeus. Then, I will give an honour to the most powerful elixir of healthy life – olive oil. These small stories are well known, maybe you’ve read them in the school or even saw them in movies. The one thing that makes them interesting for us Ketonians, is the fact that they are all related to foods which are essential in keto lifestyle. I will call them “Ancient Keto Myths”. Nowadays, especially in English, the word myth took a different meaning. As a Greek, I must tell you, in my language, a myth is closer to a historical event than to a fairytale. We can conclude, Keto food was considered as divine, here is why…

Keto ancient myth 1 – Almighty Goat Milk

Zeus was born and grew far from the Olympus. The island of Crete is considered as his birthplace. He was raised with the help of the naval and forest nymphs. Good nymphs raised him with much love. To become handsome and powerful they fed him with specialities: ambrosia and nectar. The milk was given to him by a friendly goat called Amalthea. (Goat milk is very similar to human milk) Years went by, and Zeus became a beautiful boy, then a powerful young man.

But he was always attached to the old goat who had been breastfeeding him. He would often go to the woods with Amalthea. Like all the boys in ancient Greece, Zeus really liked sports, hunting and wrestling. He liked to practice throwing thunders, which were specially prepared for him by the giant Cyclops. One day, while he was passionately throwing thunders, he hit Amalthea, making her wounds on the skin and breaking her horn.

-“Forgive me,” the boy exclaimed, hugging his beloved Amalthea. Then he asked for the help from the nymph Melissa (Melissa in Greek means bee), who treated Amalthea’s wounds with her magical powers. (I guess this tells us that honey is much better for the skin than for eating!)

To repent and to thank the good nymphs, Zeus took the broken Amalthea’s horn and filled it with the finest flowers and the most common fruits found in the woods. (Forest fruits, berries… quite Keto!) Then he gave it to Melissa, “This is a horn of abundance,” he said, “whatever you wish for, can come out of this .” And he kept the promise, even as he grew up, climbed to Olympus and took over the throne of the universe.


Keto ancient myth 2 – The supreme Olive oil

Poseidon, God of the sea, had a beautiful royal court on the island of Eubea. It was decorated with corals, shells and sea pearls. He was the ruler of all the seas and oceans, and when he got angry, he would go out with his chariots wagging horses, causing storms and submarine earthquakes. Unhappy with such a huge empire, he wanted to become the ruler of Athens, whose patron was Athena, the wise daughter of Zeus.

-Let’s have a duel! Proposed Poseidon, confident in his victory. But the wise Goddess answered:

-What is it to fight for? Let’s make a peaceful bid: the one who makes the citizens of Athens the most useful gift – will win. 

-I will give the Athenians a horse, Poseidon shouts, accepting the bet. – Which is more useful than a horse for which humans do not yet know? 

Athena stubbed her spear into the ground, and a silver-leaved tree grew up at that place.

The congregation of Gods was convened to decide on the winner. All the Gods claimed that Poseidon is the winner, while all the Goddesses pleaded for Athena, considering the olive and its precious fruit much more useful than a horse. It was only Zeus’ voice missed. Finally, the king of Gods, quite a gentleman, gave the advantage to the Goddesses.  Since then, this plant has become a symbol of peace and has remained so until our days.

The wisdom of good old fats

As we can see, the most essential nutrient in life comes in a form of milk and oil. Think about it next time you go shopping and look for the finest extra virgin olive oil. Even though we don’t buy milk on Keto, I would suggest to get some goat milk and remember the powerful Zeus and kind Amalthea.

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