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
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
- A few eggs
- Some poultry
- Big bowl of lemons
- Fresh garlic
- Variety of nuts and seeds
- Beans of all kinds
- Whole grain breads and pasta
- Olive oil
- Red wine
- Beautiful ripe tomatoes
- Several avocados ready to ripen
- Several plants of herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme ready to pinch and add flavor
- 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>