Mediterranean “diet” is the way I eat!

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Essential elements of the Mediterranean diet

Essential elements of the Mediterranean diet

Hi All! I’m sure many of you have heard about all of the different diets people are following these days. From the “grapefruit diet” to the “Atkins diet”, diets are all the rage, and you’ll find many different opinions as to which ones work and which don’t. After I gave birth to Danielle, I joined Weight Watchers and lost 10 pounds which was great.

The Mediterranean "diet" pyramid. Notice that daily physical activity is an important part of this way of life!

The Mediterranean “diet” pyramid. Notice that daily physical activity is an important part of this way of life!

Here’s the problem though, diets are great while they last, the problem is no one can or should stay on a diet for life. What happens is that when the diet is at an end, the previous way of eating that led to weight gain is resumed and the pounds come back on again.  It’s a vicious cycle. After I lost the 10 Weight Watchers pounds I gradually put those pounds back on again over the next few years as I went back to the same unhealthy habits I had before Weight Watchers. When I lost weight 5 years ago, I decided I wasn’t going to follow a diet, I would just eat in a healthy way, utilize a food journal and exercise regularly. That being said, if there is any way of eating that I follow it would be along the lines of the Mediterranean diet. It’s actually not a diet; it’s a way of eating of the people who live along the Mediterranean Sea. When I began to be conscious of the way I was eating, I had never heard of the Mediterranean diet, I just ate in the way I thought was healthy and delicious. Then, years later I began hearing about this fabulous new diet and that the people who lived in this area and ate this way were living longer and healthier, and I realized that was how I had begun to eat years previously.

This is a food pyramid I love to follow!

This is a food pyramid I love to follow!

The basics of the “diet” are to eat meals low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat, and high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, flavorful herbs and spices, fish and seafood a few times a week, chicken, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, and sweets and red meat seldom. Wine is enjoyed as well. Along with this way of eating, people who live in this area are very active and exercise frequently, and practice weight control. I noticed the parallels between the way the Mediterranean people live their lives, and the way that I was living, which is interesting because I had always longed to visit Italy, Greece and Spain. I also enjoy reading about those areas and cooking the food of those regions. I would one day love to spend a good bit of the year living in those areas, so then I’ll be able to follow their way of living in person!

The food I love to eat, and it's healthy too!

The food I love to eat, and it’s healthy too!

A good resource for those interested in the Mediterranean “Diet” is The Mediterranean Prescription: Meal Plans and Recipes to Help You Stay Slim and Healthy for the Rest of Your Life, by Angelo Acquista, M.D. I like this book for an easy reference with good recipes, but there are many on the market that can help you get started. When I’m eating this way I imagine myself sitting on the coast of Greece or Italy, so allow yourself to eat healthy and be transported to a beautiful place like I do. It’s a great way to live a life of vitality- like Valerie!

This is my mental picture when eating like the people who live along the Mediterranean Sea!

This is my mental picture when eating like the people who live along the Mediterranean Sea!

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