Why Decide upon a Mediterranean-Style of Eating?

January 25, 2010 in Antioxidants, Blog Recipes, Cooking & Baking Hints, Diabetes, Diabetic Menu Item, Mediterranean, Nutrition, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

The eating plan that we call the Mediterranean Style helps you to feel not deprived – the food is colorful, delicious and satisfying. It makes losing weight easier and more sustainable. Unlike going on a ‘diet’, which implies going off it at some future time, Mediterranean style eating does not come to an end – you just progressively adopt a style of eating – you’re not on a diet. You learn to cook a different way, using real foods and leaving behind the processed foods that you used to use. You keep adding to your personal list of foods and meals that ‘work’ for you.

One of the reasons that the Mediterranean diet is an excellent weight loss plan is that people are getting full on foods with more fiber – foods that tend to help the consumer stay satisfied longer.  This may translate to more control against extra snacking, and less of that feeling of being ravenous before the next meal – then giving in to extra unplanned eating.

Many nutritionists talk about the percentage of fat in the diet. I believe that few people are calculating the percentages of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. To do that you’d have to locate and input every thing you ate into a nutrition calculator program; then divide the saturated fat, for example by the total calories consumed.  Many busy people don’t have the time, let alone the know-how, to do all that looking up, record keeping, inputting and calculating.

It seems to me, that helping people make changes – moving toward a Mediterranean-style of eating, can be much easier than this. A better way is just to help one another identify the types of foods that we should eliminate or decrease in our diets. We need to identify the foods that we should eat more freely and frequently. This includes learning to distinguish between real food and processed substances sold as food. These goals have the potential to accomplish improvements in the diet and ultimately in health. Waiting for the day when we will have the time to calculate grams of fat, and percentages of various types of fat, is putting off the opportunity make positive steps now.

One of the facts of the Mediterranean diet that I like the best is that it is free of gimmicks. There is no dangerous colon cleansing, no artificial reliance on supplements, no cabbage soup diet (this one is not a joke – this one will never make it for the long term); no special little prepackaged meals that you eventually stop eating (right before the weight re-gain starts) and no need to buy special high priced berries, berry juice or berry concentrate or other foods from far away. You can find real fruits, vegetables and whole grains almost anywhere.

Weight loss is only one of the numerous benefits of a Mediterranean diet; a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Read more about the benefits in our other articles.

Some people are desperate and not patient; they’re willing to take a fling at a weird diet, such as living off a little cabbage soup and “up to eight bananas” with two glasses of skim milk.  Hello!!!  Eight bananas? Is there any logic to eating like this? What is it going to do for you long term? Little note: eight bananas can have as many as 1600 calories – why would anyone (who actually takes time to think) think that this is some kind of magic food?

The Hallelujah Diet (more comic relief) is based upon raw foods blended and drunk, good grief! Our bodies are very efficient at getting the calories and nutritional benefits from the foods we eat.  We don’t need to blend everything into a vegetable smoothie.  I never read anything about the biblical peoples blending up their foods. The enzymes in our mouth, stomach and intestines are very effective at breaking down foods into very small nutrients that can be absorbed into our cells. We also do not need ‘cleansing products’ – our bodies are efficient at sloughing off old cells and building new cells – especially when we nourish ourselves with a balanced diet and eat plenty of fiber to scour things out. Just a brief note: The nutrients of some foods are absorbed better when the food that they are naturally found in, are cooked. Raw everything is not necessarily better.

If you’ve decided to turn away from weird diets, expensive supplements and move toward a new life style that can last an entire lifetime, you may want to read more about getting started. Some guidelines for what to do in taking those first initial steps will be provided during the next few days. I’ll be writing for the next couple of days about guiding principles and techniques to move forward and even some experiences that my husband and I have had during the past five years. You can start today; just serve yourself lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s a perfect place to start on your new eating style – however, Mediterranean it is.

To get started try this Trouble-Free Salad, you may also like “A "How To" for Salads