My last three blogs covered what the Mediterranean Diet is all about, as well as its key components. Now you’re ready to take on the “Greek” pyramid with our ladder of success.
a simple plan: from the bottom up
FOUNDATION: Exercise, social mealtimes, and water
EXERCISE If you don’t have a routine, start with walking for 15 to 20 minutes a day and work up to one hour by adding 5 minutes a day. (Check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine and ask what’s best for you.)
DRINK Stay hydrated with 8 to 10 glasses of water a day (not sugary or artificially sweetened drinks like soda or diet beverages).
LEVEL 1: The Garden (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices)
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! For an energy boost, start yours with whole-grain oats, fruit, and Greek yogurt.
Eat plenty of plant-based foods (a.k.a. veggies, fruit, legumes, and whole grains) throughout the day.
~Vegetables are more than just a side…add them to your omelet, pizza, soup, or stew.
~Toss ¼ cup of beans into your salad along with orange sections and a citrus vinaigrette.
~Switching from white rice to whole-grain brown rice makes a huge difference in adding nutrition to your meal.
Ditch the butter and margarine and replace them with extra-virgin olive oil. It’s good for your heart and your taste buds.
Go vegetarian once or twice a week.
LEVEL 2: The Sea Level (seafood—the healthy-fat protein)
~To get the most out of this level, go for seafood high in omega-3s like wild sockeye salmon, fresh tuna, halibut, stripped sea bass, lake trout, mackerel, sardines, herring, and oysters. Of course you can add in other fish as well, so enjoy the bounty of the sea!
~In addition to main courses, seafood can be served as an appetizer, or tossed into a salad, and can fortify a rice dish.
LEVEL 3: The Farm (yogurt, eggs, cheese, and poultry) & Vineyard (red wine)
Limit eggs and poultry to two to three servings per week.
Limit cheese to two servings per week.
Have one glass of red wine, daily to weekly, with your meal (check with your doctor first if you’re on any medication or have health issues).
~For yogurt and cheese, sheep’s- and goat’s-milk are the easiest to digest.
~Go for low-fat Greek yogurt and add in fresh berries and walnuts for an irresistible parfait.
~Look for eggs with omega-3s and reduced cholesterol.
~Organic free-range chicken is a healthier and more flavorful way to go.
~Enjoy your red wine with lunch or dinner (a meal is a must) daily (just one per day), weekly, or anything in between, as desired or as your health allows. Research has shown that red wine ties the Mediterranean Diet together.
LEVEL 4: The Butcher Shop & Confectionary (red meat and sweets)
This is the extravagance level at the top of the pyramid and one you can eliminate from your diet if you desire.
Limit sweets to one serving per week or less.
~When choosing red meat, look for organic, grass-fed lean cuts.
~You can have your “cake” and eat it too but every day isn’t such a good idea. Instead of sweets, eat fruit for dessert during the week and save the baklava for the weekend—consider it a special treat!
~Think of these foods as rare and exclusive, as well as something you earned, and you’ll enjoy them more than ever.
Now that you found your way to the top of the pyramid, you know the best way to get there!
Click here for deliciously-healthy sweets recipes.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s Mediterranean Diet Resolution series and that it helps make your New Year a healthy and happy one. Stin iyia sou! To your health!
If you missed our previous three blogs on this topic, here's your chance to catch up:
Mediterranean Diet Resolution
Mediterranean Diet Resolution: Power Up with Omega 3s
Mediterranean Diet Resolution: Fats, Fiber, and Flavor
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Kali orexi! Good appetite!
Mediterranean Diet overview
A Little Wine Boosts Omega-3 in the Body
Mediterranean Diet 101
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