I have finally found a “fad diet” that actually works and is a healthy option supported by doctors! The best part? It involves drinking red wine! Yay! But seriously, this diet boasts lowering LDL’s (that bad cholesterol that builds up in your arteries), decreasing risk of heart disease and cancers (especially breast cancer in women), and decreasing risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Who could ask for a better diet than that? Here’s what you need to know about this highly regarded diet:
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
- Getting plenty of exercise
The Mediterranean diet is modeled around the way people live in the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice as well as consuming very little red meat, butter, and dairy with high amount of fat.
Getting started with this diet is pretty simple:
- Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains. An abundance and variety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. Strive for 7 to 10 servings a day of veggies and fruits. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-gain rice and pasta products.
- Go nuts. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Choose natural peanut butter (think Adams Unsalted Crunchy Natural Peanut Butter, 16 Ounce (Pack of 6)), rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. However, no more than a handful of nuts should be consumed daily.
- Pass on the butter. Try olive or canola oil as a healthy replacement for butter or margarine. Use it in cooking. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter.
- Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and are also rich in health-promoting substances. Season your meals with herbs and spices rather than salt. Try this Spice Rack Starter Kit: Kamenstein 20-Jar Revolving Spice Tower with Free Spice Refills for 5 Years (they give you free spice refills for 5 years.)
- Go fish. Eat fish once or twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid fried fish, unless it’s sauteed in a small amount of canola oil.
- Less red meat. Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. When eaten, make sure it’s lean and keep portions small (about the size of a deck of cards). Also avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat meats.
- Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese. (Be careful with this one as some yogurts may add extra sugar to make up for less fat)
- Raise a glass to healthy eating. If it’s OK with your doctor, have a glass of wine at dinner. If you don’t drink alcohol, you don’t need to start. Drinking alcohol is not a requirement of this diet.
I’ve found a few excellent cookbooks for the Mediterranean Diet: “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day” by America’s Test Kitchen and “The Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Solution: The 28-Day Kickstart Plan for Lasting Weight Loss” by Rockridge Press.
If you’re not great at planning and shopping or you just don’t have the time, Sun Basket offers a Mediterranean diet ingredient/recipe delivery service. You can currently get $50 off your first 2 orders (cancel or skip orders at any time) by using this link: Get $50 off your first two orders.
Most “fad diets” are a serious threat to the health and wellness of people who are looking for quick solutions to lose weight and be healthier – that’s why I was so pleasantly surprised to find out about the Mediterranean diet. It just makes sense! I hope you are able to pick up this diet quickly and start reaping the benefits of healthier eating.
Looking for some new wines to add to your Mediterranean diet? Try The California Wine Club and get 50% off your first 3 months.
Disclaimer: This post is the opinion of the author. Always speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise plan or changes to your lifestyle. The information provided in this post is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal, or other professional advice. Read and/or use any of the information from this post at your own risk. Some or all of the links displayed on this site may be affiliate links.