The Mediterranean Diet is a great way to distance yourself from the over processed, fatty modern Western way of living, without having to compromise on flavour or variety. Making the change can keep dinner time interesting, whilst maximising your potential health.
The Mediterranean Diet is something most of us have heard of. It makes reference to the traditional diet consumed in places like Italy and Greece, and the health benefits that go with them. It is a diet devoid of the heavily processed, fatty, and preservative ridden food of our modern Western diet – which scientists have shown is responsible for triggering many chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
The thing is, making a switch to this diet is not hard, it holds many similarities with our own, but focuses more on fresh produce and balanced portions. It results in a diet that sees many people live well into old age without the need for drugs or other medical interventions – because let’s face it, you are what you eat.
It’s important to understand that this diet is not a onetime quick fix, or a superfood. It is more a healthy way of living, which if sustained, should see long-term health benefits.
More Fruit and Vegetables
Increase the proportion of fresh fruits and vegetables eaten. By including a wide variety of different produce, you maximise your expose to a larger variety of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Also, by increasing the amount of vegetables on your plate whilst reducing meat, you cut out a lot of unnecessary and harmful fats.
Cut Down on Red Meat
Make sure that the meat you do eat is predominantly fish and poultry. This is much healthier than red meat, and ensures you are still getting much of the protein and other nutrients you need - without the unwanted additions.
Reduce Your Reliance on Dairy
The Mediterranean Diet only involves small daily amounts of dairy – which in abundance, is very bad for you. Try opting for low fat dairy products if you can’t bring yourself to make a massive cut to your intake.
Use Olive Oil
Where possible, use olive oil in place of other oil, butter or lard.
No More Soda
Drink water instead of soda, it is much, much healthier.
Make sure that wholegrain products, like wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta, and brown rice all make regular appearances in your meals.
Don’t Add Salt
Your food already has enough.
Have a Bit of Red Wine with Your Meals
But no more than 2 small glasses a day.
Forget About Fast Food
Everything about fast food should be avoided. It is full of insane amounts of fat, salt and hard to digest materials. There is nothing there worth having.
Make Sure You Exercise
Although not part of the diet itself, those who traditionally practice it tend to lead an active lifestyle. Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
Science has shown that the closer we can get to the ‘ideal’ Mediterranean Diet, the greater the health payoffs will be. It may be hard to make the switch, but it doesn’t have to be done in one large go. Start introducing aspects of the diet into your life, and as you become more comfortable, start phasing out your old diet in favour of this.
The following picture is a great example of the diets structure.