The Mediterranean Lifestyle

The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle change, not simply a diet that you will want to go on for a month or two.  Changing your lifestyle and sticking to it are the best ways that you can lose weight and keep it off.

Portion control, along with a reduction of fats in the diet, elimination of processed and unhealthy foods, and the intake of quality, natural foods are key ingredients in a healthy lifestyle and the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet.  All of the little changes that you make will be able to help you with your weight loss goals.

When you add exercise into the mix, you are able to increase your caloric expenditure each day, thus letting you lose weight faster in most cases.  Adding exercise can be a huge boost for those who want to drop some pounds.  Of course, you should always consult your physician to make sure that you are healthy enough for exercise.

To start, slowing introduce new types of foods that you will be able to enjoy into your overall diet.  A slow change can be much less of a shock to the system, and those who use this method are likely to stick with their new lifestyle.

Start to replace some of the items in your pantry as you go to the grocery store to stock up on food.

Here are some recommendations you can do to start living the Mediterranean lifestyle:

  • Add more natural and unprocessed foods to your pantry, including whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. 

  • Use extra virgin olive oil as the primary source of dietary fat  Mix protein, carbohydrates and fiber in every meal (More on this later)

  • Reduce the intake of red meat to once a month and eat more legumes (Beans, Peas, Soy)  Eat limited amounts of fish and poultry each week

  • Eat low to moderate amounts of low fat cheese and yogurt each week

  • [Optional] Drink a moderate amount of red wine – one to two glasses for men, and a single glass for women each day

  • Eat a lot of colored fruit and veggies, they have photochemical that will help you prevent free radicals damage (More on this later)

  • Do not use too much salt...it's better to use some herbs and spices to favor your meals (More on this later)

 

Helpful Hints

 

One of the keys of the Mediterranean lifestyle is removal of most of the bad fats from your diet. Research has shown that those who have a dietary lifestyle that is lower in bad fat have lower cholesterol, healthier hearts, and fewer health problems in general. In many areas around the world, including the Mediterranean, those who weren’t able to afford red meat on a daily basis seemed to have a healthier lifestyle.

 

In the Mediterranean diet, it is possible to add more bread on a daily basis, but you do not want to choose the white flour bread that you find on the aisles of so many grocery stores. Instead, you will want to choose healthier, whole grain versions of fresh bread. Some grocery stores today have their own bakery sections, or you can find a bakery in your area that offers fresh, healthy bread alternatives.

 

Cheese is also popular, and it goes well with bread as well as with a variety of meals. You can find a wealth of different cheeses in the grocery store, including some that originate from the Mediterranean. However, you will want to make sure that you only have cheese in moderation. You also want to make sure that you don’t eat processed cheese.

 

One of the places where people start eating too many fat and calories is at dessert. If you feel as though you want something sweet for desert or at another time through the day, you should have fruit instead. Canned and frozen fruits are passable, but it is better to eat fresh fruit whenever you can.

 

When it comes to beverages, you have a number of options. Water is always a good choice, but sometimes you may want something that has some flavor to it. One of the best and simplest ways to add a bit of flavor to your water is to add lemon juice. Infusions to your water are another option. Some popular infusions that you might want to try are mint, strawberries, fennel, chamomile, and mallow.

 

Coffee in the morning is popular throughout the Mediterranean region, but you will want to drink the coffee black or add fresh milk. This is a healthier alternative to cream and sugar.

 

As you can see, it is possible to add some nice and healthy changes to your diet that are easy to employ and that will taste great. You don’t have to punish your taste buds to get healthier, and once you see some of the delicious recipes later in the book, you will understand why!