The World’s Best Diet is not really a “Diet”
A lot of us have been spending much more time at home due to the isolation safety measures and business restrictions due to COVID-19. If you’re like me – that also means you’re eating much more than usual too (easy and fast access to the kitchen, right?). If you are looking for a change in your eating plan that is also heart-healthy, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you.
The US News And World Report proclaimed the Mediterranean diet the top rated and best overall diet for 2019 and 2020 among the total 41 other popular diets evaluated by a panel of experts in diet, health and nutrition.
The diet traditionally has been meant for foods, flavors and cooking methods that are available and readily utilized in the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. There isn’t an exact meal plan or recipe that can pinpoint or pay homage to that which is “The Mediterranean Diet”, however most meals are known to be rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, with olive oil used as the primary source of fat. Meals are therefore more plant-based rather than meat-based; red meat is not eaten often and very infrequent if so, instead, seafood and poultry serve as principal protein sources, and even so in moderation. Dairy of cheese and yogurt are also often eaten daily. Even wine is customary in moderate amounts with each meal.
Mediterranean diet consists of very minimal if any processed foods, utilizing fresh and locally grown sources that are in season, this could be seen as a stark contrast to some of the more Westernize meals where there is access to heavily processed, “fast foods” and imported goods. The Mediterranean diet does leave room for indulgence, so a little piece of cake, or soda isn’t off the table, however the key is in the moderation.
The options for meals are plentiful and never boring, since the emphasis is on fresh, your plate will always be booming with color.
Do Like the Mediterraneans’ Do…
Implementing any type of food program is one parts eating the right foods, but also a big part on one’s mentality and attitude. This isn’t a type of diet where calories have to be counted, nor is overly restrictive in what you can or cannot eat, which can be extremely important for longevity and the desire to keep up healthy eating habits.
There is also a lifestyle element attached to the Mediterranean “diet” that is also strongly associated with all the mental and physical benefits. First, this includes having an active lifestyle, walking is central with many Mediterraneans’, however any daily physical activity will do. In addition, creating social interactions with other is also core, this can mean having a family dinner, or meeting with friends and using meals as an occasion to share and engage with others.
- Eat fruits and vegetables daily
- Use olive oil for healthy fats
- Eat fish and poultry or beans and eggs versus red meat
- Incorporate whole grains
- Reduce sugar intake
- Drink wine instead of beer or other liquor
- Add spices to add extra flavor to any dish without the need for too much salt
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook
Bring the Mediterranean–from Italy and Greece, to Morocco and Egypt, to Turkey and Lebanon–into your kitchen with more than 500 fresh, flavorful recipes. This comprehensive cookbook translates the famously healthy Mediterranean diet for home cooks with a wide range of creative recipes, many fast enough to be made on a weeknight, using ingredients available at your local supermarket.
The structure of the book follows the guidelines of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. You’ll find large chapters devoted to Beans and to Vegetables, the Seafood Chapter is larger than Poultry and Meat, and the Fruits and Sweets chapter, while shorter, is packed with recipes you can truly feel good eating.
Recipes include Spiced Baked Rice with Potatoes and Fennel, Tagliatelle with Artichokes and Parmesan, Orzo with Shrimp, Feta, and Lemon, Za’atar-Rubbed Chicken, Greek-Style Braised Pork with Leeks, and Orange Polenta Cake. Also Available on Amazon.
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