The Mediterranean Diet: How to start (and stay on) one of the world's healthiest diets

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Don’t focus on how much you eat but on what you eat.

People living around the Mediterranean Sea are well-versed in the daily use of olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is universally acknowledged to be one of the healthiest diets in the world and Greece’s climate provides the perfect environment for the growth of so-called superfoods

Key for the Mediterranean diet is the inclusion of good fats, the so-called unsaturated fats, found in foods including nuts, avocados and vegetable oils, such as olive oil.

In short, the Mediterranean diet is about a lots of (green) veggies, fruit, nuts, fish, wholegrain and olive oil. Moderate dairy (again think of low-fat Greek Yoghurt), poultry and lean cuts of meat. Drink lots of water (min. 2 liters a day). processed food and sugar are off it.

So to make a Mediterranean diet work, follow 3 simple rules: 1. Eat healthy fresh food, not processed food, 2. Change your eating habits, 3. Emulsify your daily meals

Alcohol should be minimized to a minimum. An occasional glass of wine should be ok. When it is organically farmed, this is the best.

Same as olive oil, wine is made from fresh grapes (i.e. natural fruit juices). Its difficult still to by straight from the farmers. Look online whether the wine (and olive oil) is cultivated and processed from honest and ecological sources. Transparency dictates honesty.

Be in control of what you eat and drink, it’s your choice!!

Don’t look for the cheapest price. Unfortunately cheap food and price is an indication you don’t make the healthy choice. When you pay a premium, again make sure, through online research, how your food and drinks are cultivated and processed. If they are not transparent enough, consider making an other choice.

Olive oil is the most fundamental part of the Mediterranean diet. Not only to create a healthy and delightful essence to your meals also for cooking other foods used for a #mediterraneandiet.

Innovative Greek olive farms are turning the cultivation and processing of olive oil to a biological and full ecological cycle.

Despite years of crash diets discouraging the consumption of any fats and favored carbohydrates, studies from the last 20 years unequivocally suggest that olive oil consumption is supportive of weight loss.The Mediterranean diet helps both to eat more healthy and to lose weight. Simply follow 3 rules:

1. Eat healthy fresh food, not processed food

2. Change your eating habits

3. Emulsify your daily meals

Extra virgin olive oil (but not regular olive oil) produced the lowest levels of transfats and other potentially harmful by-products when heated to temperatures even higher than those commonly used for sautéing, deep-frying and baking.

1. Eat healthy food - Replace, don’t add

CNN Health already reported out of different and recent studies, olive oil contributes to health and enable longevity.

The most recent 2020 study of #Harvardhealth professor Dr. Frank Hu is reiterating an important first rule of the Mediterranean diet, being to replace instead of adding.

"We're talking about moderate changes in eating behaviors," Hu said. "Instead of using butter for your bread, dip it in olive oil. Instead of using a store-bought salad dressing, use olive oil and vinegar instead.

People surveyed following a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil for five years had a 30% lower risk of heart attack or stroke.

They also showed a slower rate of cognitive decline and were better able to control their weight. That's encouraging, considering the high calorie count of olive oil -- about 120 calories in each tablespoon.

Cooking with olive oil

Rumors that the "smoke point" or burning point of olive oil would release harmful compounds were squashed by a 2018 Australian study which found that EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) was actually more chemically stable at high temperatures than other common cooking oils.

2. Change your eating habits

What is meant here is to change your daily pattern of food input, eat smarter!

From sudden fast, convenience food to a daily pattern.

Some crash diets stress the importance of good breakfast. Some diets are around certain hours of food input and fasten for the other (bigger) part of the day. Although they have merit, they often lead to an 'endurance problem'. After these diets, people fall back in their traditional system and the common western convenience food patterns are all around is, in the office, on the street and in your ‘convenience’ stores.

Get set for a better pattern. If you carve your day into 5 to 6 tasty Mediterranean-based foodie moments, for 8-10 weeks, you create a new, intrinsic, smarter eating system.

As studies show over and over again with the Mediterranean diet, one will not only lose weight and improve your immune system. You will also make a better bet on eating healthy and thus longevity and reducing risks to modern diseases.

For people in the blue zones a certain pattern is key to their longevity. Again you should be in control and make the choice.

From convenience stores to direct-form-the-source

For non-processed food sources your better bet over the supermarkets are the local farmers market. You can see from where your food comes from (e.g. organic farmers). The chance that food is not tempered with, straight from the source, thus more healthy, is much higher.

Supermarkets for a reason are called convenience stores and deliver poorly on a Mediterranean diet. Supermarkets are full with margin-killing processed foods. Enjoy the effort of going local, fair priced and straight from the source. Farmers will be happy to make your life healthier, much as in the rural area’s of the Mediterranean countries!.

3. Emulsify

Of course there are many ways to enjoy olive oil -- whether it's extra virgin or not -- other than just in a frying pan. Olive oil is perfectly suited for "emulsifying" two ingredients together. Salad dressings and vinaigrette's made with olive oil are another. Roasting vegetables, salmon and other foods with a sprinkle of olive oil brings out the flavors, say the culinary experts.

Pesto is made with olive oil. Be careful for instance with ‘emulsified’ fish like tuna. You can find canned tuna in olive oil. First of all, canned means it is not fresh. It’s processed and considering the price, the olive oil is very likely not extra-virgin. (even if it says so on the label). Again do your own research and if you can’t find answers online, make an other choice. If you can’t find it fresh, just buy the tuna on water and mix it yourself with your own heart-healthy EVOO.

In these days of virus treats and pandemics., the human body relies on the immune system to fight the infection through a range of cellular, inflammatory, and immune reactions. Eating high-quality sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrate can help maintain a healthy weight, a good immune system and good metabolic state; this is not a time for highly restrictive, crash diets.

Eat Well, Live Well !

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