Eating The Mediterranean Way




Is it because of all the snow, the wind, the chill that many are experiencing right now?  Could it be because I am dreaming of a vacation to Greece or remembering the wonderful one to southern Italy a few summers ago? Not sure. Maybe all the above. But the Mediterranean and the way the inhabitants live and eat there has been on the mind. Let's look a bit further.






Nine Great Reasons to Follow The Mediterranean Diet


Not exactly a trend diet (a plus in my view), the Mediterranean diet keeps gathering applause from the researchers who study it.  The Mediterranean-style of eating really comes down to consuming more foods in the healthy column and less in the disease promoting column  Processed foods out, fresh foods in. Here are some other reasons to consider it:




1.  You do not go hungry.  

The diet can be high in fat (unsaturated and healthy sources) which tends to make food taste good and be more satisfying and filling. You may actually eat less because of these factors.


2.  The diet is nutrient and fiber-rich creating a barrier to many diseases.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, healthy fats, olives, fish, occasional meat with some dairy makes a well balanced diet with low saturated fat that inhibits disease from forming. These foods, studies show, can create a longer lifespan.


3.  The diet may reduce inherited stroke risk.  

This study says the foods in the diet could alter a gene that plays a part in stroke risk.





4.  The words healthy and fats can be said in the same sentence.

Yes, there are such things as healthy fats and the Mediterranean diet is full of especially one of them:  olive oil.  I talk about olive oil here and other healthy oils here, too. Studies show the high omega 3 with the healthy fats and fish in the diet can aid the memory as well.


5.  Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables make up most of the plate.

I can't find a nutritional expert on the planet who does not tell you to eat more fruits and vegetables. Those living by the Mediterranean Sea do just that. They pile them on their plates at every meal.


6.  Healthy carbs are okay.

Pasta and bread is eaten but it is not the majority of the plate. Choose whole-grain most of the time.





7.   The vino is red.

A glass of red wine is enjoyed frequently at dinner time.


8.  Meat is consumed in smaller quantities.

Veal, chicken and lamb are eaten, but not often.


And, here is a crucial point!


9.  It is not just about the food!

Other parts of the the Mediterranean lifestyle play a big role in the good health the inhabitants enjoy there. There is lots of physical activity throughout the day, fresh air, lower stress and a supportive community of family and friends that share meals together that make up this lifestyle.






The Mediterranean Kitchen




You just got back from the market and here is what your kitchen in the Mediterranean might look like:

A refrigerator filled with . . .
  • Fresh and locally grown in-season fruits and vegetables
  • Some fresh fish or seafood
  • Olives of all kinds
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • A few eggs
  • Some poultry
  • Big bowl of lemons
A pantry filled with . . .
  • Fresh garlic
  • Variety of nuts and seeds
  • Beans of all kinds
  • Whole grain breads and pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine
A windowsill filled with . . .
  • Beautiful ripe tomatoes 
  • Several avocados ready to ripen
  • Several plants of herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme ready to pinch and add flavor
But, you won't see these . . .
  • Margarine or lots of butter
  • Processed foods
  • Lots of red meat or sweets
  • Lots of salt







photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/strike1/91755113/">Str1ke</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>ocean: 
olive grove photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/theo_reth/4080775836/">Theophilos</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
winery photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jtparkes/11641095065/">Optical Bits</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
market photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-culinary-photo-journal/8106855692/">Nate Gray: A Culinary (Photo) Journal</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

4 comments:

  1. I'm loving your posts on eating the Mediterranean way - still heralded as so healthy in so very many ways! Really glad you pointed out that some fats actually are good for you - I think that can often still be a point of confusion. Great reminders, too, about those other key aspects of a Mediterranean lifestyle that go hand-in-hand with the food choices - activity, fresh air and sense of community! Oh yeah ... and those gorgeous views, right!?!? :D

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  2. Oh, yes, the views are to behold! Who wouldn't want to be there outside walking and mingling about in the sunshine and fresh air, huh? And, I will attest to the many hills that give you a good little workout as well! Beautiful spot! Beautiful lifestyle.

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  3. Great blog - I'll definitely be back. I've naturally got into the Mediterranean way of eating (at least in part) because I've been living in Greece for a long time, and everything you say sounds right. The Greeks certainly don't skimp on the oil or natural fats, and they often share plates of food which means that you just eat until you feel like you've had enough - and usually take your time about it, too. It's a wonderful 'diet' which I'll definitely be inspired by in my cooking for years to come, even though I've now left Greece. :-)

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  4. Hi Helen - So glad you stopped in and added some authenticity to the post as you lived and breathed the Mediterranean way living in Greece! How fortunate and now you can take what you learned wherever you go! Please come by again and let us know where you are now and what you are cooking!

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