As readers of Gourmet Living are aware, we believe that the Mediterranean diet has major health advantages to those with a great deal of stress in their life.
The Mediterranean diet was just anointed as the healthiest diet for 2019. While there are many pundits who tout the benefits of the keto and paleo diets, the Mediterranean diet has a successful track record that dates back centuries.
While most diets focus on eliminating one or more food groups (normally carbohydrates), the Mediterranean diet focuses on eating all food groups in moderation with an emphasis on seasonal vegetables and legumes. Found below are 5 reasons why we believe the Mediterranean diet is so successful:
The Mediterranean Diet is Natural
People living in countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea eat fresh produce in season. Fresh fruit and vegetables are proven to be of significant health benefits. Eating seasonal vegetables is cheaper and provides a healthy alternative to process factory foods. In other words, the body is receiving more healthy nutrients in eating the “right” food groups in season.
Eating in Moderation
I am often surprised at seeing how people in the United States value their dining experience by the amount of food on their plate. In Mediterranean countries, people tend to each less of a particular food group but generally a greater variety of food at each sitting.
Eating a variety of food groups slowly – and in moderation – allows the body to process the food more efficiently. This is important for feeling satisfied after a meal and to manage one’s weight.
Avoid Factory Processed Foods
Food-craving can be as addictive as drugs. As I watch children dine at fast-food restaurants, I cringe at the level of chips, fried foods and sugar drinks they consume. I realize that many parents have given up trying to convince their kids to eat “veggies” since it is a lot easier to give-in to a carbohydrate high.
Sadly, Italy and other Mediterranean countries have succumbed to the addictive temptation of fast food, but most continue to eat a balanced diet of seasonal produce. Centuries of traditions have shaped their dietary habits in a healthy way.
Eat Slowly to Feel Satisfied
A classic Mediterranean dining scene is a couple lingering over a meal with a glass of wine. Indeed, most meals have several small courses to encourage diners to eat slowly. Conversation is encouraged rather than wolfing down food.
A little time between courses encourages conversation and aids in the digestion process. If you view dining as a social event rather than “fuel for the body” than eating slowly will naturally occur and help weight control.
Simple Guidelines to Follow When Dining
The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than a diet. Whether you are dining out or simply need a stack, simply remember 10 easy steps and you are unlikely to miss a beat in developing healthy eating habits.
Most diets tend to be quite stressful. In fact, studies have shown that most diets fail as people soon regain the weight they have lost by returning to poor eating habits.
The Mediterranean diet is different in that changes eating habits in ways that hardly seem like a diet. After-all, who wouldn’t want to eat like an Italian or Spaniard and not have to worry about gaining weight? Well, people living in Mediterranean countries eat well and tend to be more healthy than those living in the industrialized north.
Why not embrace the Mediterranean lifestyle?