I don’t know about you, but I don’t like fad diets, especially if they eliminate certain foods, because I like a variety of foods, that’s why I like the yummy Mediterranean-style diet!
My love for many types of foods may have originated in my being raised on the Mediterranean-style diet and this way of eating has served me well all my life. I’ve never been overweight (reasonable portions and regular exercise also help to keep an ideal weight), and I usually don’t crave anything. And, when I do crave something, I usually eat it and get it out of the way! That’s because I usually eat healthily and when I indulge I regard it as a treat not a sin.
When I speak (write!) about diet I don’t mean diet in the sense of eating a predetermined and limited number of calories, or a certain type of food only, or the exclusion of whole food groups, or avoiding ice cream and other delicious treats. To me diet is the way of eating. Diet is nutrition. Diet is eating healthy foods most of the time and eating something less healthy when I feel like it because I’m human.
I eat my vegetables and fruits happily and eagerly. I have some delicious salad recipes that are a whole meal in themselves, are very nutritious, and fill me up. It you are interested in some of these recipes look up lentils.org. I rarely eat red meat and I don’t miss it or crave it. I use very little added sugar and don’t buy processed foods. Meaning, I buy most of my food from the outer aisles of the supermarket (fresh produce, frozen veggies and fruits, cheese, milk). I don’t buy food that is packaged in boxes (which often has been processed in some way). I cook from scratch 3-5 times a week and eat leftovers often. I make a pot of soup every week and take a bowl to work for my lunch. I know what you’re thinking! OMG, that’s crazy, too much work, too much time, I can’t do that (even if I wanted to!).
But if you eat properly you feel better!
The Mediterranean-style diet is characterized by a high intake of plant-based foods—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Olive oil and some canola oil are the main fats and these are healthy unsaturated fats (think of healthy fats as those that remain liquid even at low temperatures, as at fridge temperature). Include a high intake of fish (it’s getting harder to eat good sustainable fish these days, though) and poultry (chicken and turkey—the lean meats) and limited red meat. And I saved the best for last—one glass of red wine.
Let me tell you what science is saying about the Mediterranean-style diet:
- One study showed that postmenopausal women who eat a Mediterranean-style diet may have healthier bones in the lumbar spine area (lower back) and more muscle mass (two good things to prevent osteoporosis and reduce fractures).
- It reduces the risk of heart disease (the number-one cause of death in postmenopausal women).
- It reduces the risk of cancer.
- It offers cognitive (memory and concentration) benefits.
When you plan what you eat carefully (I make a weekly menu and shopping list) you are aware of what you’re eating and consciously include nutritious and healthy food in your meals and snacks.
This diet doesn’t have any negative side-effects and it will give a lot of pleasure to your taste buds!
But remember to mind how much you eat (portion size) because too much of a good thing is still bad.
Happy Fall, season of bounty. Enjoy the harvest and go for a walk after a wonderful Mediterranean-style diet dinner!
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