Welcome to part two of my Nutritional Lifestyle series. This one focuses on the the popular Mediterranean eating plan. What is the Mediterranean Diet? This article will serve as a simple guideline explaining the foods allowed and avoided for those interested in following this lifestyle. While you're asking yourself what is the Mediterranean Diet, be sure you talk about it with your doctor before getting started.
1. Can Eat Carbs
Yes, low carb and keto are highly beneficial nutritional lifestyles that you can follow. They have their own set of guidelines discussed in part one of the Nutritional Lifestyle series but there are other options. Some people even start with low carb or keto to lose weight and switch to the Mediterranean to maintain their current weight. Whole grains including whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and whole oats are staples in the Mediterranean eating plan. Refined grains, such as white bread and cereal, should be avoided at all costs. This also means that you can eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want - from bananas to sweet potatoes. A lifestyle with a heavy focus on fruits and vegetables is important because your body needs fiber and vitamins. The average American diet is simply too focused on processed foods, sugar, and sodium.
2. You Eat Dairy in Moderation
Dairy products are allowed but low-fat dairy is recommended over full fat. I know that people love dairy products because they are delicious, but they aren’t as healthy as they seem. Dairy is high in protein, calcium, and vitamins. On the other hand, dairy contains a high amount of saturated fat and the healthiest way to keep dairy in your life is to opt for low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
3. Avoid Red Meat
It is highly recommended that people following the Mediterranean eating plan should limit their red meat intake to as little as a few times a month or avoid it altogether if possible. Increase your intake of fish, shrimp, clams, and mussels to a couple of times each week to benefit your brain and heart.
Always avoid soda and other high calorie, sugar bomb beverages. The best beverages for this lifestyle are water, coffee without added sugar, wine in moderation, unsweetened tea, and limited amounts of fruit juices. I recommend choosing fruit over fruit juices to get the full benefits and less sugar.
If you get hungry between your meals, there are Mediterranean approved snacks including hummus, unsalted nuts, low-fat Greek yogurt, fruit, kalamata olives, and nut butters.
6. Research and Experiment
This article just serves as a basic guideline to following a Mediterranean eating plan. If this interests you, do more research and slowly incorporate these foods into your current lifestyle. If not, then maybe you will find the perfect eating plan in another installment of my Nutritional Lifestyle series.