New year new you the no "diet" mediterranean lifestyle
How many of us have tried a diet at some point in our lives, and who can
say it was a success? Diets may well lose us some weight, but how many
of us put that weight back on again within just weeks or months. This is called Yo-yo
dieting, or “weight cycling,”it describes the pattern of losing weight, regaining it and then dieting again. It’s a process that causes weight to go up and down like a yo-yo. This type of dieting is common.10% of men and 30% of women have done it. Diets have to be a long term plan.
The Mediterranean diet however is not a diet as in "go on a diet", even though it happens to be a great way to lose weight and improve your health as i myself have discovered. Rather its a lifestyle based on the traditional foods (and drinks) of the countries that surround the Mediterranean.I
have to say at this point that although I recognise the all important
significance of of this plan, having proved to myself it works, I am no health food freak as my large
appetite will testify. My interest in the food and culture of this region has always fascinated me. Mediterranean food is both tasty and healthy. Its cooking is rich with light, healthful, delicious dishes capable of inducing gustatory pleasure, and at the same time sparking
conviviality without raising anyone´s cholesterol.
The Diet is all about cooking and eating simple, wholesome, minimally processed foods, being active, enjoying delicious meals with loved ones, friends and family, and better still (if you choose) at the same time drinking wine in moderation. The best thing of all is you don´t have to travel very far in fact no further than your local market, farm shop or supermarket, to get all the ingredients you need to make it work. Its so easy and affordable to bring the Mediterranean style of eating to your own kitchen. Once you make a few simple but profound changes to the way you eat, you´ll see how rewarding and delicious this traditional style of eating is. The way the Mediterranean
diet focuses on pretty commonplace ingredients,means you may already be eating a Mediterranean diet without even knowing it! I have realised from looking back at my portfolio of recipes that I have been adopting this eating plan, if only piecemeal, for many years.This is why the so-called Mediterranean diet has continued to thrive while so many others have failed.
This pattern of eating is linked to longevity ,emphasizes fruits, vegetables whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, seafood, breads, herbs, olive oil and, as I am keen to repeat, an even moderate red-wine intake. For the fourth year in a row, the Mediterranean
diet has been ranked the best overall diet, since it's easy to follow,
evidence-based, and nutritionally balanced. Hey ho, why am I surprised that "restrictive diets" including keto, modified keto, Whole30 and
Dukan landed at the bottom of the list as being nearly impossible to
follow long term and nutritionally incomplete. The Mediterranean diet doesn't restrict calories or include rigid meal
planning, which helps make it easier to follow and be among the safest
diets in terms of unwanted side effects. But this may also be a drawback
for people looking for a more structured eating style or trying to lose
weight quickly, so you need to take this into consideration. Unlike other fad diets, the Mediterranean diet doesn't require you to completely cut out any of your favorites (yes, I say it again red wine included!).
The diet is rich in produce, whole grains, and lean protein, supplying
tons of antioxidants and heart-healthy unsaturated fats (think: olive
oil rather than butter).Since the plan focuses on heart-healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and salmon, it also could lower bad cholesterol, as we all know a major cause of heart disease. What makes the Mediterranean diet so great is that it’s a lifestyle,
not a traditional weight-loss plan. The plan won't have you
counting calories or measuring portions (zzzzzzz!!!), nor should any
Mediterranean diet you attempt. You’ll fill up on tons of veggies,
fruit, 100% whole grains, and beans; choose lean protein like seafood
and eggs, and enjoy sweets and alcohol as indulgences. There is no right way to follow the Mediterranean diet as there are many countries around the Mediterranean sea, and people in different areas may have eaten different foods. What might be souvlaki for the soul for one nation might be salad for salvation for another. The benefit of
eating this way is that it emphasizes real, whole foods and limits
ultra-processed ones, which tend to be higher in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar.Consider all of this as a general guideline,not something written in stone.The plan can be adjusted to your individual needs and preferences.
Traditionally The Mediterranean
- Improve your mood
- Improve your sleep
- Change your eating habits
- Lose weight naturally
- Balance blood sugar levels
- Feel more energetic
- Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
- Eat in moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
- Eat only rarely: Red meat.
- Don’t eat: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.
You should avoid these unhealthy foods and ingredients:
- Added sugar: Carbonated drinks, sweets, ice cream, table sugar and many others.
- Refined grains: White bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
- Trans fats: Found in margarine and various processed foods.
- Refined oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, palm oil and others.
- Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, burgers etc.
- Highly processed foods: Anything labeled “low-fat” or “diet” or which looks like it was made in a factory.
I´d like to propose a challenge to all of us over the coming months and that is to embrace this lifestyle as much as is at all possible in our lives. Even if it only starts as making the odd meal here and there, based on these strong principles, we can all work together to build our immune system, feel stronger and feel good about ourselves. At the same time we will be supporting our communities.By encouraging this way of eating and adopting this attitude we will start to feel better physically and mentally, and the world will feel a better place. I endeavour to bring as many of us together in this challenge. I will start posting on this site flagged up (left) recipes and small, doable challenges. These will be shared on the Casa rosada facebook page as well. I want to share how beneficial this has been to me so far, so if you like please share your accomplishments, suggestions, tips, recipes, photos, experiences on the site in the comments or on Facebook.If you have a recipe related to the theme of any one post let us all know and share it.
- Extra virgin olive oil will play a central part. Apart from the numerous benefits, olive oil is what makes everything taste so good. And you will be cooking with it.
- There will be many vegetables. Mediterraneans are known to consume large amounts of vegetables as a side and main course.
- There will be no complex recipes with numerous exotic ingredients. Food and meals are characterized by their simplicity.
- It is not an expensive lifestyle; it is based on the diet of people living in rural areas and villages and small coastal towns.
- You do not have to spend hours in the kitchen, to make simple meals and dishes.
- Always be mindful of the word hunger, you should be eating when you are
hungry, but also acknowledging your fullness. In other words, according to
Mediterranean tradition, food is consumed 3 times a day (not every 2
hours). Main meals are consumed when you reach a point where you have a
healthy hunger and can enjoy your food.
These foods/ ingredients are not difficult to source, here is a suggested shopping list/starter pack. One word of advice, you must read food labels carefully if you want to avoid unhealthy ingredients. The most unassuming bag of granola may have high added sugar content for example
- Fresh Vegetables (seasonal is best) Make sure you also include leafy greens
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Beans (dry and canned)lentils, chick peas
- Anchovies, sardines, Tuna, mackerel (fresh or canned)
- Cod, prawns, octopus, squid
- Whole grains, cous cous, rice, egg, pasta, bulghur
- Tinned tomatoes, Tomato Paste, passata
- Olives, capers, sundried tomatoes
- Almonds, Walnuts, Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Sesame seeds
- Whole grain bread
- Natural Greek Yogurt
- Feta Cheese, Parmesan, Ricotta, fresh mozzarella, Burrata, fresh goats cheese
- Chicken (whole, legs, thighs etc.) free range pork
- Honey, Red wine
- Balsamic,r ed wine vinegar
- Herbs and spices (dried and /or fresh) Oregano, Parsley, Dill, Mint, Basil,Thyme
- Cumin, All Spice, Cinnamon, Pepper/ flor de sal
- Herbal teas (chamomile etc)
- Dried fruits, apricots, figs, prunes etc