The name of the diet reminds us of sea breeze, olive leaves rustling and the scent of grilled fish. Good news: this is a truly hedonistic diet with minimal restrictions, and the products used for the diet can be composed in a great gourmet dish!
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The term “Mediterranean diet” was first introduced in 1945 by an American dietitian Ancel Keys who studied the effect of both vegetable and animal fats on the cardiovascular system. When he arrived at Cilento, Italy he noticed that there were few fat people and those suffering from diabetes among the locals. On the contrary, people looked good and lived long. In 1953 he published a book dedicated to the Mediterranean diet, where he tried to explain the connection between food and the condition of the organism. His wife is a co-author.
The heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is an eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of the Mediterranean-style cooking.
How does it work? Mediterranean diet food list
The diet is represented in the form of the food pyramid. This pyramid continues to be a well-known guide to what is now universally recognized as the “gold standard” eating pattern that promotes lifelong good health. It has been widely used for years by consumers, educators, and health professionals alike to implement healthier eating habits. Products high in protein are at the base of the pyramid, fats and carbohydrates – at the very top. Daily ration includes bread, pasta, brown rice, tomatoes, salads, pepper, corn, eggplants, onion, nuts, and beans. The main idea of cooking is simple. The vegetables should be served raw, stewed or grilled. Fish should be baked without the breading, with olive oil. The same olive oil, together with herbs and spices, is used for seasoning. For lunch and dinner one can drink a glass of dry wine and eat fruit for dessert.
You can allow yourself to eat fish or poultry, eggs, and white cheese 2 to 3 times a week. Choose only red meat (veal or mutton), try to avoid pork. Fat meat, dairy butter, and bakery are absent from this diet. For dessert you can have shortbread biscuits with honey or mild cheese with fruit. Though there are some exceptions from that rule – for example, Spaniards can’t live without hot Catalonian chocolate for breakfast, otherwise “a man won’t be happy”. What is more, you have to drink a lot of water.
Use only fresh products for the diet. Avoid eating food preservatives, foods with pigments, sweet wine, replace sugar with honey, but nevertheless eat sugar from time to time. This diet is so good because it strengthens your organism, balances metabolism and helps to come back to fit shape. There is no doubt that the very basis of the diet lies in physical activity and positive mood. These are the main aspects of the Mediterranean diet which don’t teach you to count your calories. The diet is recommended by the WHO and it was added to the list of intangible objects of UNESCO world heritage.
Pros and cons of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet wasn’t designed for weight loss. Its primary goal is to improve your health, though it helps to lose weight. The diet is not strict. It includes a great range of various products.
The Mediterranean diet is not some food asceticism for a short period of time. In truth, it can hardly be a diet. It is a whole complex of healthy eating which should be followed for a long time. It won’t be effective in a short run, but it will help you to feel better for many years in advance, will balance your weight and prevent many illnesses.
The Mediterranean diet has no contraindications and doesn’t harm the organism. On the contrary, the benefits to your health are enormous. The products used for the dishes contain tons of vitamins and other healthy elements. For example, antioxidants prevent aging and cancer. Olive oil helps to control fat storing and also prevents cancer. Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids that stimulate your brain, reduce arthritis symptoms, help to fight depression, stabilize your cardiovascular system, and lower the risk of diabetes and skin problems.
Mediterranean diet meal plan: approximate “calculations” for 5 days
- Breakfast: muesli with fruit.
- Morning snack: banana yoghurt.
- Lunch: stewed vegetables (eggplants, squash, red and green bell pepper).
- Afternoon snack: fruit salad (grapes, kiwi), seasoned with lemon juice.
- Dinner: tomatoes with mozzarella.
- Breakfast: bread with a sauce made of cucumbers, cottage cheese, onion and mineral water, 2 tomatoes.
- Morning snack: crispy bread with mozzarella, tomato slice.
- Lunch: lamb meat with vegetables and rice.
- Afternoon snack: cooked rice with grapefruit.
- Dinner: papaya stuffed with its own pulp, cheese with nuts, a slice of bread.
- Breakfast: fruit (1/2 papaya, 3.5 oz. of melon, 3.5 oz. of pineapple, 1 banana) and fruit tea.
- Morning snack: a ham sandwich, a slice of crispy bread with 1 teaspoonful of butter.
- Lunch: vegetable stew seasoned with nutmeg and mozzarella.
- Afternoon snack: honey juice (carrot juice + lemon + 1 teaspoonful of honey + 1-2 teaspoonful of olive oil).
- Dinner: toast with cheese, shrimps.
- Breakfast: a ham sandwich, seasoned with lemon juice, pepper, tomato juice, yoghurt.
- Morning snack: cottage cheese with pineapple.
- Lunch: roasted on olive oil lamb with pasta, zucchini, and tomatoes.
- Afternoon snack: sandwich with salami, salad, and sweet pepper.
- Dinner: a salad of tomatoes, leek, sweet pepper, marinated cucumber, stuffed with olives, seasoned with wine vinegar and olive oil. A slice of bread.
- Breakfast: sandwich with cheese, 7 oz. of melon, ½ cup of carrot juice, 1 teaspoonful of wheat sprout.
- Morning snack: salad with tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Lunch: salmon with sour cream and greenery sauce, rice.
- Afternoon snack: a fruit salad of 1 orange, 1 oz. of grapes, and 1 kiwi seasoned with lemon juice.
- Dinner: tomato soup with fried bread and leek.
This Mediterranean diet plan is very rich, tasty and perfectly digested. As a result, you will experience new rich gustatory sensations and bring your organism in order. Proved by Sophia Loren and Penelope Cruz!