What Is The Mediterranean diet?
The mediterranean diet (M.D) has long been considered one of the best ways to eat, being simple to adhere to and allowing for a lot of "fun" foods. Every time it gets mentioned, the idyllic picture of a warm summer day in Southern Europe arises and someone always makes a comment about how people in Greece live longer.
It's benefits seem to be numerous, ranging from cancer prevention to extending one's life span.
The cool thing about this is, being from France and having travelled along the mediterranean quite often, I was able to see first hand what the fuss is all about. I've been lucky to visit all of the south of France, the Spanish coast line, Portugal and Greece.
The first thing that we should note is that this diet should be called the Greek Diet. The ingredients are similar in all those countries, but the M.D as it has been marketed to us is high in olive oil and cheeses like feta, which are two abundant ingredients in Greece and not the other countries. Ok now that we have this little anecdotal detail out of the way, let's see what this diet is all about.
Foods you can eat
The foods focused on this diet are:
- whole grains
- protein mainly from fish and poultry
- healthy fats
The M.D focuses a lot on veggies. Typically, your appetizer will be a salad, and you will also have veggies in your main course. The dessert will usually be dairy in the form of a fresh cheese.
The most common healthy fat in this diet is olive oil, although olives are used a lot as well.
Let's stop and look at this list of foods again. I've seen these recommendations many times over, and it also follows the eat it, dig it, hunt it rule. When considering if you should eat something, as yourself if you can either dig up that food, pick it from a tree or hunt it. If the answer is no, you know it's been processed in some sort of way and you can find healthier alternatives. The rule has it's exceptions of course but is a good quick way to know your food is on the healthy side.
Foods you don’t eat