The Mediterranean Diet has been studied extensively as one of the healthiest eating patterns in the world. Read on to find out why!
One of the oldest diets in the world is back with lots of media attention this year, and just as good as ever. It originated well before “dieting” was even a thing, and has been studied extensively as one of the healthiest eating patterns in the world. It’s a diet where you don’t have to count calories or macros, don’t have to drink detox green juice, and you can eat CARBS! Enter the Mediterranean Diet, one of my favorite patterns of eating.
What makes the Mediterranean diet so great and well loved by health professionals? Firstly, this diet is widely touted for its researched health benefits. It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Some research also shows an association between the Mediterranean diet and reduced risk of certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
A Lifestyle, Not a Diet
The Mediterranean diet is not so much a “diet”, rather it is a lifestyle pattern of eating. When we hear the word “diet”, we often consider it a quick fix. We’ll “go on a diet” when we want to lose weight for a beach vacation, slim down for a big event, or get back on track after a few months of indulgent eating.
Diets are typically seen as a variance from our norm, and are so restrictive that we cannot realistically keep up with them for more than a few months. They often eliminate whole food groups which contain necessary nutrients our bodies need. Many of us get trapped in the cycle of “yo-yo dieting” – trying the latest fad diet, inevitably falling off the wagon, then trying to pick up another fad diet a few months later when we still don’t see results.
This is why diets don’t work. In order to see long term results, the way you eat must be a sustainable pattern you can seamlessly incorporate into your lifestyle. The Mediterranean diet is the perfect place to start if you are trying to make a lasting dietary lifestyle change!
Why The Mediterranean Diet Works
- It’s not restrictive. You can enjoy foods from ALL food groups (including wine)! This means you are getting important nutrients other diets are lacking, like fiber, omega-3s, vitamins and minerals.
- It emphasizes fresh, whole foods. The Mediterranean diet encourages you to eat lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins and healthy fats. When combined into a balanced meal, these foods keep us full and satisfied.
- It’s simple an inexpensive. You won’t be required to purchase expensive, fancy superfoods, powders or supplements on this diet. It encourages eating some of the most humble, inexpensive foods you can buy in the grocery store, like grains and lentils.
- It incorporates joy and pleasure into eating. The Mediterranean diet encourages being social and present while enjoying our meals. It is good practice to turn off our screens, put on some soothing music and enjoy a meal together with friends and family. Lifestyle changes become so much easier when our support system is involved!
What to Eat on The Mediterranean Diet
So, what will you eat when following a Mediterranean diet? The bulk of your meals will come from vegetables, fruits and whole grains. You’ll choose legumes, nuts, fish and seafood as your main sources of protein, followed by poultry and eggs, and choosing red meat occasionally. Season your foods with fresh herbs, spices, lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar. Consume dairy like plain yogurt and cheese in moderation daily. Water is your drink of choice, and enjoy a glass of red wine in moderation!
As you can see, there are very little foods you avoid by following this eating pattern. Compare that to Keto, the Atkin’s Diet, Whole30, etc. Easy, right? The Mediterranean diet largely takes the guesswork out of eating well. When your plate is filled with veggies, whole grains, and legumes, it’s hard to get it wrong!
Mediterranean Diet Recipes to Try
Here are some of my favorite, simple Mediterranean Diet recipes. Give one a try for dinner tonight!
- Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Quinoa from The Almond Eater
- The Easiest Chopped Chickpea Greek Salad from Ambitious Kitchen
- Mediterranean-Style Grilled Zucchini Salad from The Mediterranean Dish