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The Mediterranean Diet May Be Right for You for Long Term Health

The recent article in the New York Times extoling the virtues of the Mediterranean Diet has stirred some controversy, but how can we benefit from the findings of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine? According to the Mayo Clinic, “the Mediterranean Diet incorporates  the basics of healthy eating – plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.” Research has shown that eating this type of diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The cuisine of the Mediterranean region is renowned for its abundance of color and flavor, but the Mediterranean Diet is much more than a list of foods and a method of cookery. Rather, it is a lifestyle with a recognizable diet associated with it. The foods typical of the Mediterranean Diet are fresh, seasonal, vibrant, full of flavor and color, are easily prepared without hard to find tools, and most importantly satisfying. Like most healthy eating plans, it includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, fish, poultry, and red wine; while limiting red meat and unhealthy fats. This diet is not low fat, low carb, or extreme in any way. It is what I have come to think of as a very common sense diet and, according to the study, was easier to stick to than a “low fat diet”.

The lifestyle aspects of the Mediterranean Diet are of equal importance as the food is…food is part of the lifestyle. While I cannot go into every aspect of the Mediterranean way of life, we understand many of them intuitively and long for them as we hurry through our busy lives. Enjoyment of life is a major part of how people live in that part of the world, sufficient rest, time with friends and family, enjoyment of one’s work, and  plenty of sunshine.

All of those things sound wonderful if not a little out of reach for most of us. The good news is that this is not an all or nothing proposition, small changes in diet and lifestyle can make big changes in the way you feel. The first thing to do is increase your consumption of olive oil by using it in your cooking and in lieu of butter when you can. Here is a nice recipe for garlic infused extra virgin olive oil that is perfect for dipping your bread into instead of butter or margarine. Next increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts. Eat fish and chicken when you choose to eat animal protein. Don’t be afraid to eat a vegetarian meal when the mood strikes, but do not think that you have to deny yourself meat if it pleases you. Enjoy a glass of red wine with your meal. Making these changes will reduce your reliance on red meat, eliminate cravings for refined carbohydrates, and reduce your consumption of unhealthy fats which will lower your risk of many diseases.

Still sound hard to accomplish? Cindy and I specialize in helping you make these changes without feeling deprived of what is good in life. We help you add things to your diet which pushes out the bad things so you can live the life you dream of. Call us for a free 30 minute strategy session that will be the first step to your new life.

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