Any nutritionist or other health professional will tell you that there is no such thing as a diet. Diets don’t work. Diets, in fact, set you up for failure. Think about it: you diet, you lose weight, you go off of your diet and you gain weight. Rather than talk about diets, let’s discuss a lifestyle change: The Mediterranean Diet.
Yes, we know, we just said there’s no such thing as a diet. The definition of the word ‘diet,’ as we will use it is: habitual nourishment. And that’s exactly what the Mediterranean Diet is. A lifestyle change, a habitual way of eating or a new way to think about your food—you choose.
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating that is based on the foods that the people in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea typically consume. These healthy foods include: grains, vegetables, fruits, olives, olive oil, nuts, beans, legumes, seeds, herbs, spices, cheese, yogurt, fish, shellfish, eggs, meats and even sweets.
Chances are a great number of the foods you already eat are on this list! This is part of what makes following the diet so easy. You don’t have to incorporate special foods, powders or diet mixes into your lifestyle when you follow the Mediterranean Diet.
What Makes the Diet So Healthy?
There are a number of health benefits to following the Mediterranean Diet or Med Diet. Any diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains can help protect against heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease. The micronutrients, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that you receive by following the diet can also stave off a variety of illnesses.
Thanks to the high proportion of plant-based foods, the Med Diet can protect followers against both type-2 diabetes and obesity. Olives and olive oil, along with other monounsaturated fats, can provide anti-inflammatory properties. By following the diet and adopting a routine of regular physical activity you will reap these great health benefits.
Following the Diet
Starting the Med Diet is actually very simple. Start by going through your cupboards and getting rid of your junk food. If foods you don’t want to eat aren’t in the cupboard, you’re far less likely to cheat. Replace these foods with healthy options. Tossing out bags of chips? Stock your fridge with baby carrots. Getting rid of the cookies? Put some sweet fruit in the crisper. You get the idea! Also you can read about “before and after aging lips” here
Once you’ve stocked your kitchen with healthier fare, how do you follow the diet? It’s easy:
– Incorporate vegetables into every meal. Veggie wraps make a great lunch and roasted vegetables laid over a bed of rice make a fantastic dinner. Get creative!
– Don’t skip the meat but do limit your portion size. Rather than eating an entire steak, slice half of a steak and add it to a vegetable stir-fry.
– Never start the day without a healthy breakfast. If you love yogurt, layer it with granola and fruit, making a parfait. Eat it alongside a bowl of oatmeal and you’ve got a breakfast that will keep you satisfied until lunch.
– Cook seafood for lunch or dinner at least twice a week. Tuna, salmon and herring are all perfect choices and more fulfilling than white fish.
– Eat like a vegetarian at least one night a week; two is better! Skip the meat and fish and center your meal around whole grains, beans and vegetables.
– When you use fats, be sure to use those such as olive, peanut, sunflower or safflower oil. Not only do they taste great, but they are also better for you than generic vegetable oil.
– For a snack, try your favorite fruit mixed with Greek yogurt. Our personal favorite: pomegranate mixed with Chobani honey yogurt.
Take it slow! The key to making a lifestyle change is to gradually replace the bad with the good. You don’t want to burn out your new lifestyle a week in. Eventually you will find that you are following the Mediterranean plan without even thinking about it. Here’s to your health!