The Mediterranean food diet is a diet based on what (healthy) people in and around Greece and Italy eat as a daily diet. It emphasizes healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables and good, high-fibre whole grains. While it is not necessarily a weight loss diet, it has been shown to reduce cholesterol and greatly lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Unfortunately, though, this diet is in conflict with a lot of how we think in the West about food, and some people have fallen foul of the Mediterranean food diet by thinking they’re on it, but either not following it correctly, not getting enough exercises, or not knowing enough about the foods they’re eating. Here’s what you need to know:
1) Wash your fruit. Most fruit in supermarkets is washed before you get it, but you don’t know this for sure. Farms use pesticides and cleaning chemicals that are harmful to humans – especially children. Even dirt and microbes can give you a nasty stomach bug if you’re not careful. Invest in a fruit scrubbing brush and make sure that all of the fresh produce you eat is squeaky clean.
2) Watch the fats. While the Mediterranean food diet does emphasize healthy fats, they should still only constitute a small portion of the meals you eat. Educate yourself about the different types of fats in different kinds of foods, and make sure you don’t overdo it.
3) Make exercise a part of your life. The Mediterranean food diet can lead to weight gain if not used in conjunction with a proper exercise regime. Keep walking shoes with you at all times, and makes sure you get at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. If you’re not prepared to do this, then the Mediterranean food diet is not for you.
4) Drink plenty of water. This goes without saying, as water is an essential part of any diet. If you’re one of those people who refuse to drink water, or thinks that their daily intake of tea, coffee and juice counts as water – think again! There is absolutely no substitute for pure, unflavoured water.
5) Know what you eat. Keep a log book, and count calories if you’re watching your weight. The more you know about the foods you eat, the better a position you’ll be in to live a healthy lifestyle. Knowing the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, and what counts as a whole grain, are essential when following the Mediterranean food diet. If you live in Greece those are the only foods you can find, but in America you have to choose your meals very carefully if you want to eat this way!