Mediterranean Diet 101

Mediterranean Diet 101

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in the year 1960.

Researchers noted that these people were exceptionally healthy compared to Americans and had a low risk of many killer diseases.

Numerous studies have now shown that the Mediterranean diet can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death.

There is no one “right” way to do this diet. There are many countries around the Mediterranean sea and they didn’t all eat the same things.

This article describes the diet that was typically prescribed in the studies that showed it to be an effective way of eating.

Consider all of this as a general guideline, not something written in stone. The plan can be adjusted to individual needs and preferences.

The Basics

  • Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Eat in moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
  • Eat only rarely: Red meat.
  • Don’t eat: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

Avoid These Unhealthy Foods

You should avoid these unhealthy foods and ingredients:

  • Added sugar: Soda, candies, 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 MUST read ingredients lists if you want to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.

Foods to Eat

You should base your diet on these healthy, unprocessed Mediterranean foods.

  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
  • Fruits: 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.

Whole, single ingredient foods are the key to good health.

A Simple Shopping List For The Mediterranean Diet

It is always a good idea to shop at the perimeter of the store, that’s usually where the whole foods are found.

Always try to choose the least processed option. Organic is best, but only if you can easily afford it.

  • Vegetables: Carrots, onions, broccoli, spinach, kale, garlic, etc.
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, etc.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, etc.
  • Frozen veggies: Choose mixes with healthy vegetables.
  • Grains: Whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, etc.
  • Legumes: Lentils, pulses, beans, etc.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashwes, etc.
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Condiments: sea salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, etc.
  • Fish: Salmon, sardines, mackarel, trout.
  • Shrimp and shellfish.
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes.
  • Cheese.
  • Greek Yogurt.
  • Chicken.
  • Pastured or Omega-3 enriched eggs.
  • Olives.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

It is best to clear all unhealthy temptations from your home, including sodas, ice cream, candy, pastries, white bread, crackers and all sorts of processed foods.

If you only have good food in your home, you will eat good food.

Read the full article here.

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