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Mediterranean Lifestyle: My Journey

Mediterranean Lifestyle: My JourneyMediterranean Lifestyle: My JourneyMediterranean Lifestyle: My JourneyMediterranean Lifestyle: My Journey
Learn about a Mediterranean Lifestyle by following along with Jamie’s journey. Great info on healthier living!

What is the Mediterranean Lifestyle?

Curious about the health benefits and how to’s of the Mediterranean Lifestyle? Interested in incorporating a Mediterranean Diet into your day-to-day life? Then you have come to the right place!

Today we’re going to highlight the major health benefits and key principles of the Mediterranean Lifestyle to help you incorporate this lifestyle into your day-to-day. But first, a brief intro on the when, how, and why I started to adapt a Mediterranean Lifestyle –

Growing up in the Midwest

Growing up in the Midwest, casseroles, steak and potatoes, and pretzel Jell-o were staples in my family’s kitchen. It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Italy during my junior year of college that you would find a piece of fish on my plate. But let me tell you, I will never forget the day I ordered the “fresh catch of the day” in a rustic small town off the Amalfi Coast – from that day on I started to incorporate fish onto my plate multiple times a week!

After my six week cultural immersion in Italy, I adapted more than adding fish onto my plate – buying fresh fruits and vegetables from the local farmer’s market, gathering around the kitchen table with family and friends, running more often, and having a glass of red wine with meals have become routine for me. Shortly after I began making these changes, I started to take notice in the way I felt – more energized, increased clarity during school, and reduced stressed! What’s more is that as I started to adapt these lifestyle changes I never thought to myself that I was following a “diet” – there was never a time that I had to say “no” to a particular food or avoid a social function, rather, it’s encouraged to try new foods and to eat with friends and family around the table!

More than a Diet….

It’s more than just a diet – it’s a LIFESTYLE! A way of living and incorporating whole food groups, limiting sugar and processed foods, engaging in regular physical activity, and enjoying meals with friends and family.

Key Principles of The Mediterranean Diet

  • Emphasizes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables at EVERY meal.
  • Olive oil, a healthy monounsaturated fat, is the primary source of fat in this diet.
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts are plant based foods used as a source of lean protein, limiting red meat intake.
  • While poultry and eggs are recommended to be consumed in moderation, fish is recommended twice a week.
  • Low-fat dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are to be consumed in moderation on a daily or even weekly basis.
  • Herbs and spices are emphasized as well, substituting out salt in our diet.
  • Consuming at least 6 glasses of water each day is recommend to keep us hydrated
  • Red wine is also recommended, but in moderation.
  • Highlights the importance of regular physical activity and meals together with the family.

What to Drink:

Where did the Mediterranean Diet originate?

Dating back to the 1950s when scientist Ancel Keys brought researchers together from all over the world to study the relationship of heart disease with eating patterns and lifestyle habits, the “Mediterranean Diet” came to be. Hence the name, the “Mediterranean” Diet is based on traditional foods prepared and consumed in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Greece, Spain and France.

What to Do:

What are the major health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

It’s about time the Mediterranean Diet ranked #1 in the 2019 US News and World Report for best diet overall. With research piling up since the 50’s, the Mediterranean Diet is becoming world renowned for its major health benefits including:

  • Decreased risk of heart disease and type two diabetes
  • Increased longevity
  • Cancer prevention
  • Weight loss

What’s more is that it also made the top spot for easiest diets to follow in the US News and World Report in 2019! As mentioned previously, rather than focusing on food restrictions or consumption of a few specific foods, the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes an eating pattern rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The ability to eat a variety of foods in moderation, rather than counting calories or macros, restricting specific foods or the time of day you can eat, allows for greater flexibility and acceptability in incorporating this lifestyle into your day to day life – leading to lifelong good health!

Ready to move towards living a Mediterranean Llifesytle?

Here are a few simple tips to get you started:

Aim to make your plate half full with fruits and vegetables

  • Raw, cooked, steamed – anyway you like them!
  • Fruit for dessert? Yes!

Incorporate more heart healthy fats into your day

  • Swap out butter & margarine for olive or avocado oil
  • Have almonds and walnuts on hand for an easy on the go snack

Choose lean proteins

  • Aim to have fish twice per week – salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout are rich in Omega 3’s and are common among the Mediterranean Sea
  • Use beans and legumes as your protein base for lunches
  • Reduce your intake of red meat

Rethink your drink

  • Aim for 6 – 8 glasses of water each day!
  • Swap our coffee for tea, white wine for red

Get Moving!

  • Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity per day
  • Take a walk or ride a bike with a loved one, or invite a friend to try out a new fitness class with you

Spice up your life with fresh herbs and spices

  • Skip the salt – instead use marinades of olive oil, lemon, rosemary, and thyme
  • Grow fresh herbs on your windowsill so you can include them in your meals

Gather around the table with family and friends

  • Make it a priority to have dinner with your family at least one night per week
  • Host a dinner party – Mediterranean Themed!