The Mediterranean Diet

mediterranean_vegiesThe Mediterranean diet is more of a life style change than your typical starvation diet. Healthy eating is the basis of the Mediterranean diet, with emphasis on eating fruits, vegetables and fish, while cutting unhealthy fats and most meats.  Some studies have also shown the Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Traditionally the Mediterranean diet allows for foods and cooking styles of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Process foods are to be avoided leaving fresh/healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood, and grains. Replacing the use of fats like butter with olive oil and even including some red wine.  Even though some meats are used they traditionally are avoided and replaces with more of a vegetarian menu. Some examples of ingredients used would be peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli, to name a few. Fish and seafood is also a large part of the Mediterranean Diet.

Unlike some other diets, The Mediterranean Diet does not completely eliminate fat intake. It just limits the amount of fats and teaches how to make better choices on the types of fats consumed.  For example, using healthy fats like olive oil and some nuts are not only better for your heart, but have been shown to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Getting Started with the Mediterranean Diet.

First, like any diet you need to consult your physician and make sure this diet is for you. The Mediterranean diet is considered by most to be very healthy. In most cases the Mediterranean diet will be a great way for you to not only lose weight, but live a healthier life style.

Your meals should consist mostly of vegetables and plant foods. It is recommended to use these foods when they are in season and fresh. The less processed the better. Snacks can consist of nuts like almonds and pistachios and stay clear of butter and other such fats. Instead cook using olive oil, herbs and spices keeping away salt. Adding fish and seafood a couple times a week will help add some verity to your meals.  Stay away from fried fish. If you need to eat meat keep the portions small and avoid bacon as well as other fatty meats. Some dairy products are ok keeping it low-fat, things like skim milk and fat-free yogurt are acceptable choices. Finding recipes that will complement this diet is easy. Here are several Mediterranean Diet recipes you may want to try.

Here are just a few tips to help you get started with the Mediterranean diet.

› You really can’t go wrong as long as your diet consists largely of fresh plant based foods. Try to chose vegetables and fruits that are in season ensuring freshness.

› Use Olive oil and canola oil instead of butter

› When seasoning foods use fresh herbs and spices rather than salt

› Explore recipes using fresh fish and chicken. Stay away from frying these foods, instead use the grill or combine to make a healthy salad.

› If you must eat meat, do it no more than a few times a month and keep the portions small.

› Exercise is important. Make sure to plan a time each day to go for a jog or walk. Join a gym and work out regularly.

› Family is important with the Mediterranean Diet. Make meals that the whole family will love. This can also aid in teaching children to eat healthy at an early age.

› Grow a garden. The Mediterranean diet is all about freshness. There are no fresher foods than the ones you grow yourself.

› When snacking choose cashews, almonds or other nuts. Fresh fruit like apple slices is also a perfect and healthy snack.

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