Some of the "secrets" from these regional " blue zones," I was already aware of as two of the areas it depicts are some parts of Italy and Greece in the Mediterranean, where I have shared some amazing meals and I have written about as well - specifically, the amazing health benefits of a Mediterranean Diet. But, I learned a lot of new things, too, from the book, and it certainly reinforced a lot as well. I plan to write a post a bit later on the book, but I thought I would highlight what a whole day of eating like a person lucky enough to live near those breathtaking Mediterranean shores to get your started - just in case you want to mimic the healthy lifestyle, too!
But, before we talk about the good eats, first, allow me to make a few key points about the way of life for those who inhabit that glorious area of our world because it is definitely not just about what you eat. Living the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle really encompasses much more. And, you can easily adopt the lifestyle, no matter where you live. Come see!
8 Important Points to Remember to Keep to A Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle
Here are some things to keep in mind when adopting the Mediterranean way of eating and living:
1. The beauty is in the simplicity.
This way of eating is all about the ingredients prepared in simple ways that bring out the flavor of the food. The food is fresh as possible, wholesome and unprocessed. For the most part, it does not take long to prepare, either, leaving more free-time.
2. Clear away the processed stuff.
Rid yourself of those foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce. No chemical-laden food. Keep it whole and fresh.
3. Get creative.
No boredom here. The Mediterranean diet allows plenty of variety and experimentation. All those healthy ingredients can be combined in hundreds of ways. Vegetarian, dairy or gluten-free diets can easily be considered a variation of the Mediterranean diet, too.
4. Shop smartly to save time.
Keep pantry staples like olive oil, jarred tomatoes, whole grains, pasta, and olives on hand. Pick up the fresh ingredients a few times a week. This saves time, too!
Don't miss this: Make the most out of your local farmers' market - a wonderful way to shop and interact with the growers of what you eat.
5. Herbs and citrus add flair and taste.
Don't miss this: Check out this board on healthiest herbs and spices and how to use them the best way and why garlic is a healthy key to Mediterranean cooking.
6. Quality over quantity.
The emphasis is on whole foods with plenty of fiber that fills you up. Fewer amounts of a great tasting, fresh off-the-vine or perfectly ripe food is needed to satisfy. This helps keep the weight down, too.
Don't miss this: My best secret to make all your food taste superior.
7. Move your feet.
A life of exercise and movement is part of the lifestyle. It does not have to be strenuous or over-the-top - just lots of natural ways to keep the blood pumping a good part of your day.
Don't miss this: Loads of exercise options that you can fit in your day easily.
8. Don't go it alone.
Share your meals, share your life! Invite someone for dinner. Gather your friends and family and create a meal together, like those that live the Mediterranean lifestyle. I promise, it will taste a lot better.
Don't miss this: How to manage an impromptu get-together so, so easily!
A Day of Quick Mediterranean Meal Ideas
Quick: Espresso; organic polenta with yogurt and honey; soft boiled egg with a small piece of multigrain toast,
How: Boil the water for the egg while preparing the toppings for the polenta. Start boiling the water for the polenta. Finish polenta and top with yogurt and fruit mixture. Drizzle a bit of honey on top. Toast a slice of multi-grain to dip in the egg.
Quicker: Espresso, Some fresh fig jam swirled in plain Greek yogurt, sprinkled with some sliced almonds or walnuts; a large handful of grapes
Don't miss this: Don't get confused over all those egg labels. There are differences and here is what they mean and advice on making sure you are buying the healthiest eggs for you!
Quick: whole grain orzo with diced zucchini, cucumber. white beans, mint and lemon with olive oil infused with garlic and red pepper, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese; seasonal fruit.
How: Simmer on low flame garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil to infuse while the water is boiling for orzo, Cut up vegetables. Cook orzo and drain. Add vegetables and beans, toss with infused olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh mint and lemon juice. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
Quicker: Large salad of tomatoes, red pepper, avocado, fresh mozzarella drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lots of basil; a large slice of whole grain bread. lightly toasted, with a smear of hummus
Quick: 1/2 avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes; small portion of marinated olives
Quicker: Two clementines; a handful of raw almonds
Quick: grilled or roasted fish with basil pesto; glass of red wine; roasted potatoes with lemon; fresh sauteed greens with a bit of flaked feta cheese
Quicker: Grilled marinated tofu or shrimp with olive oil, lemon, oregano, and garlic; steamed basmatti rice; spinach salad with olives, crusty bread
Need More Inspiration?
- The Blue Zones Solution, by Dan Buettner: an award-winning book with lots of very clear and simple healthy Mediterranean recipes
- Mediterrasian Kitchen: a blog that takes a creative and smart approach of merging Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. Such fantastic flavors!
- Mediterranean Diet For Beginners: a book with easy recipes and meal plans and tips for success in following this diet
Have your visited the Mediterranean or do you live there? Do you have a quick and easy recipe for a Mediterranean dish you and your family love? Please add a link in the comments!
Note: I only link to products I actually use and find to be of excellent value. This post contains an affiliate link but does not affect the price for the item at all.
Note: This post appeared previously on THM but has been updated with latest links.
tomato: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/spisharam/2742433355/">spisharam</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
rosemary: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/thedepartment/134527398/">Here's Kate</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
garlic: photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/7472855/">Muffet</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
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