Why choose the Mediterranean Diet? The answer is quite simple. You eat lots of fruits and vegetables with olive oil and feta cheese, plus red wine, hard cheese, salads, garlic, nuts and seeds, plus lots of fish. What can be better than that?
If you are unfamiliar with this diet, it may seem completely counter-intuitive when you think about dieting for weight loss.
Of course, eating fruits, vegetables and lots of salad, even fish makes sense; but how can adding fats (even healthy fats) and wine help you lose weight? Also, when you read about the diet, there are no restrictions in quantities of food that you can eat. Strange . . . right?
Let’s take a closer look to see exactly how this diet works.
Unlike most of the popular (or fad) diets that are rampant on the Internet and through all types of media, the Mediterranean Diet was not created to sell a book or to make the author famous.
It is simply a natural diet eaten by people who live in Mediterranean countries. That alone makes it far more appealing than an extreme fad diet created by some unknown doctor, nutritionist, or health “expert” with specific (sometimes unusual) recommendations or restrictions that most of them include.
I love this quote from the NIH (National Institute of Health), “Mediterranean tradition offers a cuisine rich in colours, aromas and memories, which support the taste and the spirit of those who live in harmony with nature.”
Unfortunately, for some time, there were many who did not consider this a healthy diet primarily because of the olive oil and the wine, which are major components of the diet. It wasn’t until some of the “experts” began studying statistics regarding the health of people who lived in the regions where the diet originated.
They quickly found the population had longer lifespans and a much lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer!
The Science behind the Phenomenon
What is really going on? It is not so strange when you take a close look. First – people in the Mediterranean enjoy eating more than most Western cultures like the U.S. and the U.K.
Sadly, the Western cultures see preparation of meals and the necessity of eating are seen as more of an inconvenience than something to enjoy. The majority of us eat to live – to fuel our bodies, nothing more.
We eat quickly with no thought about what we are eating – much of it extremely unhealthy. We eat large quantities of junk food like Big Gulps, candy, cookies, potato chips . . . anything that can be purchased, opened, and gobbled, or chugged down.
It is no wonder so many people have serious health problems and that as a society we are on the verge of a pandemic of obesity
Delicious, Nutritious Food
In direct contrast to the way many Americans eat, the people of the Mediterranean region enjoy eating. They take the time to create and savour delicious dishes made from fresh fruits, vegetables, lots of fish and delicious cheese – cooked or topped with olive oil (not butter) and served with whole grain bread and red wine. That sounds like a great way to live!
It spite of what we have heard for years, fats are not bad for us. In fact, our bodies need some fat and healthy fats are good for us. When they are eaten with fruits and vegetables they actually help absorb the nutrients more easily.
When people embrace the Mediterranean way of eating, they learn to eat natural foods that strengthen and nourish their bodies – and – they learn to truly appreciate what they are eating. More time is taken to prepare and serve the food and it is eaten with much greater relish – all of which has a huge impact on health and well-being.
To me, it sounds like something everyone should incorporate into their lifestyle! I challenge you to give it a try very soon. You have nothing to lose (except weight) and everything to gain