What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
Part of my disordered eating and food issues in the past was hopping from one “diet” to the next. You name it and I have probably done it. Paleo? Check! Keto? Check! The 100 Diet? Check! Raw Vegan? Check! Juice Cleanses? Check, check! I simply followed these diet plans to see what worked and what didn’t. I never questioned the why, I just thought “Maybe this is the one!?”
The problem with diets is that they don’t often teach you sustainable ways of eating. Of course, eating say Vegan, is more of a lifestyle choice and those often stick well for some. I was Vegan for over 12 years in fact. Through all of my trials and tribulations with nutrition the one constant I learned was to listen to my body. Certain foods often cause inflammation in our bodies (that is a whole other blog post though). For instance, I love me some bread, but I don’t love how my body reacts to bread. It is delicious in the moment, but I feel very bloated, sluggish, and nauseous afterwards. Same with dairy, when I eat dairy such as cheese, it’s yummy, but it wreaks havoc on my skin, causing my eczema to flare up.
By learning to listen to my body and following intuitive eating, I have since learned to really focus on the foods that nourish my body. Now, everyone is different, but for me my body feels light, nourished, and energized by eating more plant based. My body actually craves salads like some people crave pizza or chocolate. I’ve also found that my body loves more whole foods and less processed foods. And I think for overall Wellness, EVERYONE needs to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Clean eating for my body has been the best – making sure my foods are mostly plant based, unprocessed, and nutritiously dense.
That is why I really love the Mediterranean Diet. In fact, I even hate to use the word “diet” here because it is more of a lifestyle and way of eating. The Mediterranean way of eating follows the meals that people in parts of the Mediterranean such as Greece, Spain, Italy and France eat. Not only is it a yummy way of eating, but many studies have been done and show that is probably THE best way to eat. It has shown to beneficial in supporting brain function, regulating blood sugar levels, and promoting healthier hearts. Eating the Mediterranean way can promote weight loss, prevent heart attacks, and decrease the chances of having Diabetes. In fact it is the diet most promoted by Doctors and the American Heart Association.
What to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet
Here is a list on what types of foods to eat and avoid while eating the Mediterranean way.
Ideally, you should base your diet on these healthy Mediterranean foods:
- Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips
- Fruits (eaten minimally): apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches
- Nuts, seeds, and nut butters: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, peanut butter
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas
- Whole grains: oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat bread and pasta
- Fish and seafood (only one to two times per week): salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels
- Poultry: chicken, duck, turkey
- Eggs: chicken, quail, and duck eggs
- Dairy: cheese, yogurt, milk
- Herbs and spices: garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper
- Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil
Foods to Avoid on the Mediterranean Diet
You should limit these processed foods and ingredients when following the Mediterranean diet:
- Added sugar:
- Refined grains:
- Trans fats:
- Refined oils:
- Processed meat:
- Highly processed foods:
I will sharing some meal plans and recipes on eating the Mediterranean way on this blog. Make sure to follow and go follow me on Instagram as well.