One of the most popular diets right now is the Mediterranean Diet. One reason is because it is one of the few diets out there that doesn’t cost anything more then the food an individual buys. Meaning, that this diet isn’t commercialized and it is strictly based on a specific food structure. Another reason it’s popular is because of its “freshness.” The Mediterranean Diet uses fresh ingredients and uses real recipes unlike a lot of the commercialized diets that use packaged shakes, meals, and other foods. This diet is heart healthy and uses foods low in saturated fat and sugar. Plus with all the seasonings, herbs, and spices you can be sure this diet will ramp up your taste buds as well.
Despite it’s popularity though, there is a lot of confusion behind how the Mediterranean diet actually works. Even though it’s roots come from countries boarding the Mediterranean Sea, there are a lot of cultural differences in those countries, thus making the food selections a little difficult to decipher. This article will give a brief history of the Mediterranean, why this diet works, as well as give you insight into choosing the appropriate foods for this diet.
A Brief History of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has its origins from a portion of land called the Mediterranean basin. Historians also refer this basin as the “cradle of society” because within its boarders the whole history of the ancient world took place. From the Egyptian pyramids, to the Greek Spartans, to the Roman Coliseum the Mediterranean has been a birthplace of history, advancement, wars, art, and food. Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea, The Mediterranean was the central superhighway of transport, trade, and cultural exchange between diverse groups of people reaching three different continents. Today it continues to be one of the most visited places for tourism in the world. From Italy’s rolling vineyards, to Turkey’s exotic architecture, and Egypt’s pyramids, people from everywhere come to see these wonders of the world. And sometimes even take a cruise along the Mediterranean Sea.
The Mediterranean Diet’s Origins
This diet originated, of course, from the Mediterranean. However, it has very strong Greek, Italian, and Spanish influences. Most of the foods that you see in this diet originate from those three countries. In fact foods from places like North Africa or France are almost non-existent. An interesting fact about the Mediterranean diet is that it didn’t actually become popular until the 1990’s. Which was after American scientist, Ancel Keys, had introduced it in 1945.
This diet is primarily a plant-based diet with a high consumption of olive oil and very low consumption of red meat. Fish and dairy are used in moderation, but refined carbohydrates are almost if not completely eliminated. This whole idea is to bring about better health and wellness through eating an almost all-raw diet. This helps eliminate unhealthy processed foods and chemicals that can trap toxins within the body.
The Mediterranean Diet is not just a diet though it’s a lifestyle. It’s committing to enjoy life and its simple pleasures. Such as eating a leisurely meal with your family, exercising, talking a regular stroll, or participating in a fulfilling activity that contributes to your overall happiness and wellbeing.
The Food Behind the Mediterranean Diet
As stated previously, the Mediterranean Diet is very high in plant-based foods. If you decide to go with the Mediterranean Diet, you will eat a large amount of vegetables, fruits, and legumes. You will also consume a significant amount of olive oil, which is a healthy fat essential for overall health.
Red meat all but disappears on this diet and is replaced with fish, chicken, and turkey. Only whole unrefined grains should be consumed which helps eliminate saturated and trans fat from your diet. Dairy, such as yogurt, milk, and cheese can be consumed in moderate amounts. Nuts are highly recommended as staple because they give you a combination of healthy fats and protein.
All other foods that are processed, high in saturated or trans fat, high in sugar, or contain heavy amounts of chemicals should be completely avoided. This is done because it helps you achieve a healthier body, mind, and spirit. If you can eliminate the unhealthy food choices from your life you will look better, feel healthier, and live longer. In fact people bound the Mediterranean Diet have been found to have a 70% longer life expectancy and an 80% better quality of life.
Changing Your Life
The reason many people start the Mediterranean diet is because they want to feel better and become healthier. This diet will help you achieve a level of health and a lifestyle that would make anyone envious. It’s proven to increase and better your health simply by eating foods that are good for you. It’s that easy. You don’t need crazy to follow meal plans. You don’t need packages of processed foods promising you a change you’ll never see. The Mediterranean diet is real and it’s simple. All you need are some fresh ingredients, a little imagination, and a new perspective that will transform you into a newer and healthier you.