After trying a wide variety of programs and meal plans designed to promote weight loss I stumbled onto the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is a style of eating which is influenced by the traditional cuisine found in the Mediterranean region (Greece/Italy).
Years ago when I visited Italy I noticed that the diet was very different than what we usually see in the United States. Instead of focusing on a main meat course meat is used more as a garnish or for flavoring while the main course is usually pastas, fruits, and/or vegetables.
Since I was younger during my visit to Italy and not yet worrying about weight loss I didn’t think too much on the positive physical effect the diet had on me.
- When I began considering trying the diet I was encouraged by the roll the increase of fruit and vegetable intake had the eating style because most diets I have tried promote an adequate, steady, intake of these staples.
- The part of the eating style that seriously encouraged me to take it seriously was that grains were not excluded from the diet.
These days a lot of weight loss programs frown on carbohydrates of any kind while the Mediterranean diet encourages the consumption of pasta, breads, and rice provided that they are whole grain.
These days it is almost impossible to not find a wide variety of whole grain products in your local grocery store. They are right there with the processed white breads, pastas, and rice plus they are not much more expensive. In some cases they are a little cheaper which is great for us budget shoppers.
Now that you know the things that are allowed and encouraged in the Mediterranean Diet it is important to know what things are restricted. Like all good diets and healthy styles of eating some foods have to be forgone and in this case it is meat.
Only small portions of meat are allowed and the protein necessary to maintain a healthy diet must be acquired from beans and diary products. Since I am not a big diary fan I prefer to get my protein through some cheeses and a variety of beans.
What Products You Should Cut?
You don’t have to completely cut meat out of the diet but your portions must be reduced to fish and poultry weekly with beef allowed monthly. Nuts should be consumed rarely as a source of protein because oils they contain and excess oil and sugars are not allowed in this diet.
There are things you can do to help curb the cravings and avoid the high calorie high fat foods that are frowned upon. When you start day dreaming about chocolate try sweet fresh fruits instead and I usually cheat with a little bit of sugar free candy.
While wine is part of the traditional Mediterranean cuisine remember that there are a lot of empty calories in alcohol that should be avoided.
Click here to find everything you need for keeping to this diet.