Dear Holly: What is the Mediterranean Diet? Do you recommend it? -All Greek to Me
Dear All Greek to Me: May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, celebrating an eating plan to which I give my stamp of approval!
The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan beneficial to our health. It is rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, heart healthy fats and focuses on fish and seafood rather than red meat. Each meal has a plant-based foundation of fruits and veggies, whole grains and heart healthy fats and builds from there. Limited are sweets and treats.
With all of those delicious plants, the Mediterranean diet is fiber-ful. Do you know your fiber goal? Men are aiming for 38 grams per day and ladies are aiming for 25. On average, Americans are only having 50% of their fiber goal. We can do better!
Olive oil is one healthy fat to include in your usual routine. Look for extra virgin for the most nutritional benefit and flavor – it is minimally processed and loaded with phytochemicals. In additional, round out your pantry with canola, walnut, avocado and grapeseed oils.
Heart healthy fats are also found in nuts, seeds and avocados. Once feared in the low-fat and fat-free craze of the 1980s and 1990s, we are now better educated and know that fats are an important component of healthy eating. Do not fear the fat; they won’t make you fat!
Enjoy nuts, seeds and nut butters on a daily basis. They are delicious, full of monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber and contribute Vitamin E as well. When purchasing peanut or almond butters, look at the ingredients and skip any product that has the word “hydrogenated” as this is a source of trans-fats. Trans-fats are not part of a heart-healthy eating plan! My favorite brand is Krema, a company based in Columbus, Ohio!
For drinks, the eating plan also includes a moderate amount of wine (one drink per day for ladies, up to two drinks per day for gentleman). Beyond that, water is the drink of choice.
I recommend eating fish and other seafood, but sustainability is an issue. To make an informed choice about your seafood choices, I recommend visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium website or downloading their free app so you have information at your fingertips while at the grocery store or eating out.
The Mediterranean people tend to be active. For the greatest health benefit, make your lifestyle active. Bike or walk instead of driving whenever possible.
Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.
What’s your question for Holly? Send them to email@example.com. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!