How To Start A Mediterranean Diet | Life
Many people have heard of the Mediterranean diet, which can be recommended by doctors for people with heart disease or high blood pressure. It is also often recommended to reduce the risk of heart disease, dementia, and even depression.
But what exactly is the Mediterranean diet and is it easy to get started?
The Mediterranean diet is more of a plant-based diet and lifestyle than a traditional diet. It includes the daily intake of whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts, herbs and spices. Animal protein is limited to smaller amounts, with fish and seafood being the protein of choice, as red meat is rarely eaten.
What is that?
Dietitian Michelle Campion, of the Washington Health System’s Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center, said the Mediterranean diet may be easier for people to follow “because it doesn’t eliminate whole food groups or demonize certain foods ”.
“It focuses on healthy, whole foods including vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, fish, and plant-based fats (like olive oil, avocado, and nuts) , and choosing less processed foods, red meat and foods high in sugar and saturated fat, ”she said.
The Mediterranean diet includes a variety of foods that can be modified to suit personal taste preferences. The wide variety of foods helps dieters never tire of eating the same thing over and over again.
“The types of foods in the Mediterranean diet are also foods that research has shown to be helpful in preventing and managing a variety of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer prevention, and high blood pressure. to name a few, ”Campion said.
It’s certainly a healthy diet, but not designed for those who just want to lose weight, Campion said.
“Research has shown it can help you lose weight, but there has to be an overall calorie deficit to do this, which means you need to take in fewer calories than your body needs to lose weight. “she said. “Portion size is still an important key to losing weight, if weight loss is a goal.”
How Do Dieters Get Started? Does a dieter have to completely clean their refrigerator and pantry?
“With any change in eating habits, most of the people I’ve worked with have the best success when they make incremental changes instead of doing a complete kitchen overhaul all in one go,” Campion said. . “Typically, a complete overhaul ends with a lot of wasted food and money. We’re all used to eating a certain way, and if we try to start rearranging every meal and snack at the same time, we’re not setting ourselves up for success. “
Instead, she recommends people start small with the exchanges that seem easiest and go from there.
“In general, try to make your meals more plant-based,” Campion said. “Think of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vegetable proteins like beans, and vegetable fats like nuts and olive oil. Think less animal-based – cut back on cheese, meat, butter, creamy dressings.
Campion’s list of simple steps to get started includes:
- Use olive oil instead of butter in cooking;
- Make half a plate of vegetables for lunch and dinner;
- Consider using frozen vegetables to increase vegetable intake to avoid waste;
- Choose frozen vegetables without added sauces and season with herbs and spices;
- Halve the meat in a recipe and replace with beans;
- Eat fish, which is not fried, twice a week instead of meat;
- Choose whole grains over refined grains in bread, pasta and cereals;
- Replace the salt with fresh or dried herbs;
- Use strong flavored, less processed cheeses like feta or goat cheese, but only in moderation;
- Prepare a vinaigrette using olive oil, vinegar and herbs instead of store-bought vinaigrette;
- Use fruit in place of jams and jellies on a sandwich or toast and as a dessert in place of sugary desserts.
A little wine is good
“One part of the Mediterranean diet that I always like to warn is about wine,” Campion said. “If you don’t drink, the American Heart Association recommends that you don’t start drinking alcohol for health reasons. If you drink, limit yourself to a maximum of one five-ounce glass of wine per day for women and two glasses for men.
Spicy Italian Dressing
Yield: 12 servings Preparation time: 5 minutes Difficulty level: easy
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed in a garlic press
1 teaspoon of oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
Add all the ingredients to a jar, cover and shake well. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator. Use as a dressing, drizzle with cucumbers and tomatoes, mixed with chickpeas, avocado and grated carrots, on a sandwich, as a marinade and in soups or stews
Mediterranean salmon with white beans
Yield: 4 servings Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 can (15 oz.) Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
Garnish: sprigs of fresh parsley
Sauté the onion in 1 tbsp. hot oil in a saucepan over medium heat 2 minutes or until softened slightly. Add beans, olives and tomatoes; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until heated through. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil. Sprinkle the salmon fillets evenly with salt and pepper. Cook the salmon in a large nonstick skillet in 1 Tbsp. hot oil over medium-high heat 3 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily. Spread the bean mixture evenly over the salmon fillets and serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.