The Mediterranean diet is surely one of the hottest things you can try today as any hardcore dieter can tell you. It seems to be quite easy to follow being a lot less restrictive than other diet plans and wine consumption is actually encouraged (with moderation, of course, what did you think?)
A lot of people both medical professionals, nutritionists and dieters seem to believe that this is the perfect diet if you want to achieve a healthy weight, keep your blood pressure low and reduce the risk of heart disease. Is it really so? And will it work for you?
I would like to point the basics of this diet: fresh fruits and vegetables rule supreme, a huge amount of vegetarian dishes traditionally prepared with fresh produce (no frozen, no canned etc), a lot of fish, some poultry and very little beef or pork. Well, it does sound very healthy. The fact is, they do have fruits and vegetables in season all year round. As we all know, this is not the case in Northern Europe and much of the US. And nor is it likely for anyone living here to find organic produce at reasonable prices.
The true Mediterranean diet can be very, very expensive.
Another thing that bugs me when it comes to Mediterranean diet is that olive oil is considered to be the ultimate source of phenolic compounds, known to help reduce cholesterol and decrease the risk of developing certain types of cancer. It’s great to replace as much animal fat with unprocessed vegetable fat, but olive oil it’s not the only thing that can help you if you are after more phenolic compounds in your diet.
Phenolic compounds may be found in berries, prunes, red grapes and red grape juice, kiwifruit, currants, apples and apple juice, and tomatoes. Note to any Med diet fan – red wine is not really necessary, red grapes and red grapes juice will do just fine if you are not comfortable with daily alcohol consumption. And the last thing that stands between most of us and this diet is time. This diet takes an awful lot of time.
You have to prepare every single meal from fresh produce. If you’ve ever traveled in that part of the world, you’ll notice that people true to their roots and traditions cook with fresh produce for every single meal, no frozen dinner. Also, it should not be discounted that life on the Mediterranean is generally conducted at a slower pace than life in the United States and Western Europe.
Perhaps another important factor of this diet is not only what they eat, but also how they eat it. After all, many people in the Mediterranean are eating their healthful meals during a long relaxing midday break, as opposed to gobbling down a frozen meal during a quick lunch hour while simultaneously trying to make it to another ten appointments.
Reducing stress can help keep your heart healthy and can certainly cut down on the amount of stress-induced eating that we do, whether or not we eat Mediterranean food.