Is the Mediterranean Diet Right for You?
Hardly a day goes by when I don’t see a piece of news or social media article citing the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Mind you, I believe that there is no shortage of scientific and anecdotal evidence to conclude that one can lose weight and enjoy a healthier lifestyle by adhering to a diet that consists “primarily of plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts and . . . replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil.”
The “health benefits” of a Mediterranean diet were evident to me when I lived in Italy, Greece, and Spain for close to 10 years. The incomparable taste of fresh and varied Mediterranean cuisine was a delight.
If you are tired of the never-ending struggle with managing your weight or discouraged by complicated diets designed to “trick your body,” maybe it is time to take a fresh look at the Mediterranean diet.
Dr. Pelletier Explains the Mediterranean Diet
As Dr. Kenneth Pelletier explains that all diets tend to work because we pay attention to what we are eating. In this very informative video below, Dr. Pelletier provides some easy steps you can take to improve your overall health by eating a healthy Mediterranean diet.
10 Easy Steps to a Healthy Diet Lifestyle
Summarizing Dr. Pelletier’s observations, he recommends 10 easy steps to alter your lifestyle and health in a very positive way. Why don’t you “Go Mediterranean” and see the difference it makes in your life.
- High Intake of Whole Grains and Unrefined Carbohydrates: Substitute white bread and white rice with whole grain varieties and cut back or eliminate processed foods with high levels of sugars.
- Eat Deeply Colored Fruits and Vegetables: The intense color of fruits and vegetables is a clear signal that the level of antioxidants is high which helps to protect your cells.
- Salads: Salads reduce the level of acids in the body. They produce alkalines to combat potentially destructive acids in your blood and digestive system. This is a very easy and potent way to prevent inflammation.
- Higher Vegetable Fats: Focus on consuming monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and avoid butter and fried products.
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption: A glass or two a day of wine is fine. Red wine is best since it is high in antioxidants and tends to boost “good” cholesterol in your body.
- Legumes or Beans: These are a great protein complement.
- Nuts: A healthy and enjoyable snack. Nuts are high in monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E and antioxidants and folic acid. I eat 10 nuts twice a day as a snack.
- Main Protein is Fish: Focus on deep ocean cold-water fish as a substitute for red meat. Fresh fish is high in Omega-3 and tend to provide better nutrition than pork and poultry. Best to bake, roast and broil the fish rather than fry it.
- Blue and Purple Fruits: Fruits like grapes, blueberries, and pomegranates tend to have higher levels of antioxidants.
- Reduce Salt and Refined Sugars: Sugar is simply empty calories and can increase the risk of diabetes. By reducing the consumption of processed foods you will reduce salt levels significantly as 70% of the average American’s daily intake comes from processed foods.
In fact, adopting just a few eating habits recommended in the “Mediterranean diet” is more of a lifestyle change than a diet.
Nutrition and Health Studies
There are hundreds of scientific studies supporting the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. We have listed a few under Mediterranean diet nutrition. While these studies may well be true, I prefer to rely on both the anecdotal and scientific evidence that people in Mediterranean countries tend to live longer. The reason seems to be a healthier diet and less of a reliance on factory-processed foods.
Many diets claim to have scientific-backing and offer testimonials that attest to great weight loss. Nevertheless, I have not found one that it is easy to follow or requires you to purchase a diet supplement. Common sense suggests that the Mediterranean diet promotes a healthy lifestyle. Can 2,000 years of history be wrong?
It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle.
One of the things I hate about diets are DIET RECIPES! I am far more interested in the philosophy behind a particular diet than any recipe or list of “Do’s and Don’t.”
Most people who truly understand the health benefits of a Mediterranean lifestyle move far beyond food to embrace a more holistic and sensible approach to living. Sure, eating the right food is a critically important part of the Mediterranean diet, but organizations such as Positive Health Wellness emphasize other aspects of a healthy lifestyle: exercise, proper eating habits, dining together as a family and ridding yourself of stress and letting go of activities that are harmful to your well being.
As a word of caution, I would immediately dismiss anyone promoting the Mediterranean diet if they lead with recipes. Consider the “big picture” and embrace a healthy lifestyle that will do wonders for your well-being.
Oh, and did I mention that a glass of wine is a welcome addition to your new lifestyle? Read more about the benefits of wine with your healthy meals.
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