When thinking of the Mediterranean in Europe we envision sunny beaches, clear blue sea, hot weather, small and peaceful villages and also very healthy foods.
My best friend discovered that she has some heart problems and was recommended by her doctor to try a Mediterranean diet, at least for one month. I wanted to support her and maybe even lose a few pounds so I did it with her.
I started by going online and searching through the thousands of sites that discuss about this particular type of diet, I read the reviews and everyone seemed pleased with the results they had. The next step was to actually find a meal plan. I wasn’t sure at first if I could do a whole month with her so I tried it for a week.
The health benefits that come with this diet are amazing yet not very acknowledged. It helps improve our hearts, lowers the levels of cholesterol, increases longevity, reduces the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, each of which is associated with cardiac and vascular disease, reduces the chance of becoming obese, because it promotes weight loss and lastly it reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. These are some amazing effects for eating healthy, being a sure way in which we can avoid the development or worsening these medical issues while also avoiding future medication which will cost us loads of money and probably won’t help as much. The trick is to combine this diet with physical exercises, eating healthy alone won’t give you the full effect.
Since me and my friend both decided that we want the real deal and not to spend a fortune on the foods, we decided to go halfsies on the herbs and spices she was recommended and those that I found online and grow them ourselves, and besides being absolutely sure that the plants weren’t treated in any way, we also learned how to grow our own food. What I can say is that this experience totally pays off.
The base foods for the diet are:
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
- Fruit: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
- Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
- Whole Grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole grain bread and pasta.
- Fish and Seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
- Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey and more.
- Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs.
- Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
- Herbs and Spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
- Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil.
- Drinks: Water, tea, coffee, red wine.
There are some things that you should try to avoid at any cost, like:
- Added sugar: Soda, candy, 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 and others.
- Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, etc.
- Highly processed foods: Everything labelled “low-fat” or “diet” or looks like it was made in a factory.
You can try to make your own Mediterranean diet meal plan after you try it for at least a week or two. I’ll leave the link I used for reference and for the 1 week meal plan right here http://authoritynutrition.com/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan
I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.