Create a Mediterranean Lifestyle at Home
A lot can be said about the Greeks, the Italians and Spaniards; they definitely live the good life! Okay, their economies have fell on hard times as of late, but as a generalized group of people living along the Mediterranean their spirit and zest for life are strong.
Companies across the globe have cashed in on creating a huge buzz about the “Mediterranean Diet” as the next big thing. One in a string of other trends from eating everything gluten free to juicing. The cure all for that never-ending, weight loss battle. When we approach it in that sense, as merely a “diet,” it is fleeting, no more permanent than any other fad out there.
That is if you approach it as a diet.
In the early 1960’s, scientist started to become aware that island dwellers living off the coast of Greece and individuals in the south of Italy were living noticeably longer lives without the presence of chronic illness. This phenomenon was intriguing and was cause for investigation. What did these two countries have in common among other nations that shared its southern borders with the sea? Simple, a healthy diet rich in plant based food and exercise in combination created a sustainable lifestyle.
The Mayo Clinic published an article earlier this month outlining the heart-healthy benefits to eating a Mediterranean inspired diet that include lowering levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein () cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, the menacing culprit for creating build up in our arteries. So why not drizzle a little olive oil over some grilled vegetables and sip a glass of red wine with friends?
A recent study of more than 1.5 million healthy adults concluded that following a Mediterranean Diet rich in plant based foods, fish, whole grains and healthy fats was directly correlated with reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, as well as overall general mortality. Research has also revealed a link between the Mediterranean Diet and the lowered prevalence of certain types of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
What are the key components to creating a Mediterranean Diet or more accurately a lifestyle that will promote lasting benefits and lifelong change?
- Eat Primarily Plant Based Foods- Select fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in combination with whole grain, legumes and nuts.
- Replace Butter- Incorporate healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil into your dishes.
- Stock Up on Herbs & Spices- Limit the use of salt.
- Limit Red Meat Consumption- Only include quality red meat into a few meals per month.
- Prepare Fish or Poultry 2-3 Times Per Week
- Enjoy Dinner as a Time to Take Rest from the Day- Gather around the table with family & friends to enjoy good company and conversation.
- Drink Red Wine in Moderation- A glass of wine with dinner is optional.
- Don’t Forget to Exercise- Get moving! Participate in 30 minutes of moderate activity per day.