Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows there is no end to the different fad diets that come and go. One popular diet right now that you've probably heard of is the Mediterranean Diet, and the popularity of eating this way seems to be growing. Here is a look at the basics of the Mediterranean Diet.
This diet, commonly referred to by faithful adherents as a "way of eating" rather than diet, is all about enjoying an assortment of fresh, unprocessed foods from all the major food groups. "Breaking bread" with others and socializing is also emphasized. Healthy fats, like olive oil, avocado, and fish are stressed over fats derived from animals. The name, Mediterranean, comes from a study in the Sixties that looked at the eating habits and good health of the people living on the Mediterranean Greek island, Crete.
- Vegetables—If you're normally a meat and potato eater, this may require an adjustment. One-half of each meal should be vegetables, if not more. A snack might be just a few slices of a Beefsteak tomato drizzled in extra-virgin olive oil and topped with a chiffonade of fresh basil. Salads with an assortment of fresh greens and herbs loaded with seasonal vegetables and olives and balsamic vinaigrette are daily events.
- Pulses/Legumes/Beans—There are dozens of different kinds of beans that can be enjoyed. They are high in protein and low in fat. Marinated bean salads, hummus dip, bean spreads, and dishes like red beans and rice are good choices.
- Meat—Meat is no longer the star of the show when you eat the Mediterranean way. The Cretes couldn't afford a lot of meat so it was eaten sparingly. Rather than everyone sitting down to a steak, a lamb shank is braised with plenty of fresh vegetables and herbs in a wine sauce and served with a hearty wholegrain sourdough bread with copious amounts of olive oil.
- Fish and Seafood—Aim to eat fish and seafood a minimum of twice a week. These foods are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, and shellfish are all good options, but be sure to do your research. Some fish have higher mercury levels and should only be eaten occasionally.
- Whole Grains—Whole grains have more nutrients, a richer flavor, and are less processed. Ancient grains like farro, barley, brown rice, and quinoa are popular.
- Dairy—Greek yogurt, hard cheeses like Parmesan, soft cheeses like feta, and more are all an important part of this diet. Limit your butter intake, and choose olive and nut oils instead.
- Dessert—Fresh fruit is best. Pomegranates and figs and more familiar fruits can all satisfy a sweet tooth. An ounce of dark chocolate occasionally is another option. Locally produced honey is also a good choice.
If weight loss is your goal, exercise will still need to be a part of your life. Finding a workout partner who is also interested in this way of eating can be helpful. If you have tried many diets to no avail, you may want to also to seek out weight loss coaching. Their professional outside perspective may be just what you need to jump start your weight loss program. For more information, you can contact the experts Aloha Life Company.