The Mediterranean diet isn't so much a diet as a way of life. One that's become less 'trendy' recently with the never-ending cascade of new diets that hit the market as the next best thing. (Oh how the Mediterraneans would laugh at the thought of how they eat ever being seen as trendy. They see it as years and years of tradition and well, just their way of being.)
I was reminded of how fabulous the Mediterranean way of life is for our heath and wellbeing when I was invited to a talk by renowned nutritionist Amanda Hamilton, hosted by Wellbeing Escapes, a healthy holiday company for whom I write. Amanda is a big advocate of the Mediterranean diet and talked us through why she follows it and recommends it to others.
Here's what I learned about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and how we can easily incorporate some of its elements into our day-to-day life to help keep us healthy:
- It's vegetable based. Not necessarily vegetarian, but rich in lots of colour, texture and crunch and gives us all those beautiful antioxidants!
- It includes small-to-moderate amounts of good quality protein from meat, fish, eggs and pulses. Though it's important to remember that meat is not the star of the show - the vegetables are.
- It's largely seasonal, local and very very varied. Finding varied, quality produce that's fresh and ripe truly is the variety that's the spice of life.
- Good fats come from olive oil. Plus a little dairy, often from sheep and goats milk which can be more easily digestible to some people than cow's milk.
- Wine, particularly red wine, is drunk in moderation. As they eat, they drink small amounts of wine and it's savoured. By small we're talking a 125ml glass which is waaaay smaller than the servings we're used to. Red wine is a source of the powerful antioxidant resveratrol.
- Meals are seen as times to stop, share, catch up and take pleasure in food. Not to scoff and run.
Sounds good, right? I'm dreaming of a sun drenched terrace right now...
The Mediterranean diet is also totally aligned with my Glorious Wellness food philosophy of: