The Mediterranean Diet…I Think We’re Onto Something
For decades, the Mediterranean Diet has been linked to promoting heart health. It was determined in the 1960s that people who lived in Greece and Italy had less heart disease than people in the US and northern Europe, which is attributed to their way of life including the food they eat.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is based on the diet of people living in areas around the Mediterranean Sea. There is no specific “diet” per se, rather it’s based on a balanced selection of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds along with olive oil.
It’s mostly a plant based diet with some fish, poultry, dairy and very little red meat. Beyond the food selections, other aspects of the Mediterranean Diet include eating meals with loved ones, enjoying a little red wine and plenty of physical activity.
What do you eat?
Meals on the Mediterranean Diet are based on plants with meat, fish, poultry and dairy considered side dishes. Red meat is rarely, if ever, consumed.
The diet consists of:
daily consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables
- 7-10 servings every day
daily consumption of healthy fats
- replace butter and other less healthy fats with olive oil
daily consumption of whole grains
- eat a variety of whole grains daily, trying some you might not have eaten in the past
weekly consumption of fish, poultry, beans and eggs
- fatty fish like mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, and lake trout are fun of omega-3 fatty acids
moderate consumption of dairy
- eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and tiny amounts of cheese
herbs and spices
- choose a variety of spices to add lots of flavor without the need for too much salt
The Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle. It’s not only what you eat but it’s enjoying it with others. There is plenty of variety and it’s nutrient dense. This is not a short term deprivation program. It’s a sustainable lifestyle that will help you live a long, vibrant and active life enjoying real, whole and delicious food.
Since June 2019, I decided to hold myself accountable for walking my talk. Several years ago, I was able to take off 135 pounds and essentially save my own life. I regained some of that weight in the last couple of years and I’m working my way back down. I’ve lost over 40 pounds since I began in June and have exercised nearly every day since August.
If you choose to join me on this journey, I hope I am able to impart some nutritional and lifestyle wisdom. Even though I may have gone off the rails temporarily I can still share some of my first hand experience as well as my acquired knowledge and training to help you make the right changes to live your best life.
Do You Want Help?
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The Mediterranean diet is one long-term diet that I am considering, with the other one being the DASH diet. This diet seems to incorporate pretty much all of the elements that I consider necessary to making a diet nutritious, as well as delicious. I do feel the need to detox, before shifting to my long term diet plan (nutrition for life).
Detoxing will make your nutrient absorption more effective so I agree with you Alice.
I’m finding that many “diets” are about just eating healthy foods. Since I started my healthy eating plan in July 2018, I didn’t follow a particular diet but looking at your list, I eat a lot on this plan. I love salmon and add lots of vegetables to my meals.
Eating a variety of whole fresh foods is key to a healthy life. Variety will make it more likely you’ll be adequately nourished and will make the program sustainable for you.
There may be more to the diet than what you eat. I think there may be an element of where the food is sourced, i.e. where it is grown.
For example, I vacation a lot on cruise ships. Usually, these ships are out of the USA and source most of the food they serve from their warehouses in the US. A well-known fact of cruising is that most passengers gain weight on a cruise ship. I can verify it is true for me, especially in the first 10 days when there is a tendency to taste all of the new foods. After that, the menus repeat and it is easier to maintain your “new” weight set point.
However, when I sailed on the Mediterranean cruise with Costa cruise lines, I did not gain weight and in fact, released a few pounds. I suspect it was because the food was grown under a different standard of quality.
Doug, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The source of the food is very important. If it’s grown in soil that has been depleted of its minerals, the value of the food is depleted.
I went on a cruise in December and I lost seven pounds. Not only was the recycled food unappealing to me, but I walked the deck and used the gym on the ship. The exercise kept me from developing motion sickness.