Obesity, insulin resistance, and being overweight can increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers. Did you know that only 5 to 10% of cancer diagnoses are linked to genetic causes, while 90 to 95% of cases can be attributed to a person’s diet, lifestyle, and environment? Preventable diseases can be prevented through life-long healthy habits such as antioxidant-rich diets, exercise, and stress reduction.
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What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that follows the traditional way of eating in Mediterranean countries. This way of eating focuses on a high amount of antioxidant-rich plant foods and a lower amount of animal foods, including an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits, fresh herbs, whole grains, legumes, and extra virgin oil. When animal protein is consumed, the focus should be on omega-3-rich fish and seafood. When designing your plate, make half of it vegetables and fruits, one quarter whole grains or starchy root vegetables, and the other quarter a high quality protein (legumes, fish, eggs, or poultry).
Key Aspects of the Mediterranean Diet:
- Based on whole foods
- Eliminates processed foods
- High intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes daily
- High in fiber and antioxidants
- High intake of extra virgin olive oil daily
- Small amounts of unprocessed cheeses and plain yogurt daily
- Red wine in moderation (no more than 5 ounces per day for women and 10 ounces per day for men)
- Focus on fish and seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Poultry and eggs daily or weekly
- Lower in red meats (consume smaller portions of red meats weekly or monthly)
- Low in sweets (choose desserts made from whole foods and natural sweeteners, or fruit and dates)
Who is the Mediterranean Diet for?
The Mediterranean Diet is a foundational diet for anyone looking to move away from the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) to a healthy, whole foods-based diet. It is not as much about restricting certain food groups, but rather focusing on plant-based food groups and smaller amounts of healthy animal foods (wild fish, pasture-raised meats, organic dairy products). If you would like to optimize your health and increase longevity, the Mediterranean Diet is an excellent “non-fad” diet that can get you there.
The Mediterranean Diet is beneficial for reducing your risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
What can I eat on a Mediterranean Diet?
The best way to start a healthy eating program, is to begin by removing processed foods from your home. Replace refined vegetable oils with extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil. Stock your pantry with jars of whole grains and both canned and dried legumes. Buy fresh, raw nuts and seeds and store them in glass mason jars in your refrigerator. Start shopping for local, fresh produce from your Farmer’s Market or food co-op. Get to know your local farmers. Focus on fatty fish like wild salmon, halibut, black cod, and pastured eggs for your animal protein sources. Enjoy small amounts of unsweetened probiotic-rich yogurt daily. Focus on including as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible into your daily meals, and sit down as a family and enjoy your meals together. For breakfast, try Avocado Toast on some whole grain sourdough bread along with some raw veggies and eggs. For lunch try a Quinoa and Black Bean Salad, and for dinner, try a balanced meal consisting of Wild Salmon, Roasted Winter Squash, and some type of green vegetable such as Steamed Brussels Sprouts or Sautéed Kale or Sautéed Green Beans. Other easy meal ideas include a Flax "Bran" Muffin with a bowl of plain yogurt and fresh pomegranate arils for breakfast. For lunch, try a simple salad topped with smoked salmon, and for dinner, try a hearty White Bean and Potato Soup with a side of whole grain sourdough bread.
How do I start a Mediterranean Diet?
- Become a Nourishing Meals Member today.
- Choose the Mediterranean Diet when setting up your user profile on this site and add any other food allergens or ingredients to your diet profile.
- Start adding healthy recipes your family will enjoy to your weekly meal plans. Choose at least three plant-based (vegan or vegetarian) meals each week.
- Although beef and pork recipes will appear in your search, choose these foods less often, or about 3 to 4 times a month.
- Focus and fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks like Sunbutter and Celery Snacks or fresh apple slices and almond butter. A peeled orange makes a great afternoon snack too!
- Join our Nourishing Meals Community Facebook Group to get notified with new recipes and more! Everyone is welcome.