Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mediterranean Diet

This is a new diet I'm going to try. It doesn't take much change on my behalf since I don't eat meat anyway. BUT I get to eat more bread, rice and grain which I'm really excited about. HaHa.

Healthy eating is becoming more and more important in United States. If you are focused on eating better and getting healthier, consider making a few changes by following the Mediterranean diet. Actually, the Mediterranean diet is not really a diet. It is simply a healthy eating pattern – a pattern close to the dietary guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association. This diet is high in the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) as present in fish, olive oil and nuts; and low in saturated fats and trans fats. It provides excellent source of fiber and antioxidants through encouragement of eating lots of plant-based foods. Eating this way has many significant health benefits, while not sacrificing taste or feeling like you are on a diet.

Numerous studies have found that people living in the United States are more prone to obesity, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and high cholesterol than those living in a Mediterranean culture. Leading contributors to our health concerns include unhealthy eating patterns, a lack of physical activity, or a combination of the two. The eating habits of people in Mediterranean countries show significant health benefits in the these and other major disease categories.

This pyramid is a great guideline to follow:
I liked what the research was saying about the long term weight and health benefits of diets found in Mediterranean cultures so I developed the Meditermerican System for my family and created my upcoming book, Fast Life, Good Food. It combines Mediterranean eating principles and healthy convenience foods together to have delicious healthy meals at home without spending hours in the kitchen.

How do I start creating a Mediterranean eating pattern?

  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That is where you will find the healthiest and unprocessed foods

  • Eat 7-10 fresh fruits and vegetables servings each day. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks.

  • Incorporate beans, nuts, cereals and seeds into your daily routine.

  • Olive oil as the main source of dietary fat – EVOO baby!

  • Choose cheese and yogurt as your main dairy foods. Limit higher fat dairy products such as whole or 2% milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese

  • More fish, seafood, and poultry – fewer eggs and red meat.

  • Be creative with your grains and starches (see the Great Grains blog)

  • Replace processed salad dressings with Olive Oil and Vinegar

  • Fat free or cholesterol free is not a green light for healthy living. Some foods will replace natural fats with high amount of sugar or transfats to keep it tasting good.

  • Make label reading a habit. Good rule of thumb, if the ingredients don’t sound like food they probably aren’t.

Once you experience the delicious and healthy choices the Mediterranean diet has to offer, it just might become your favorite diet.

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