It’s no secret that the people of Italy, France, Spain to the north and Greece, Turkey, Israel and Lebanon to the east, with Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria comprising the North African countries, live and eat well. Time and time again, countless studies have proven that the Mediterranean lifestyle and diet has lower incidences of coronary heart disease thanks wholly on their heavy reliance on vegetables, grains, legumes and olive oil.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was developed for American eyeballs back in 2009. With its high amounts of heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats, promotion of heart healthy blood sugar levels, improvement of cognitive function, prevention of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer, I find it amazing that fast food joints are still in business in The United States. People who follow the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle tend to be thinner, have improved body mass indexes, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Fortunately, DH and I are both Italian and had incorporated some of the Mediterranean traits into our lifestyle and menu choices. (going to Italy three times and France once helped!) Apparently, however, whatever we were doing wasn’t quite enough. Both of us this past year suffered from heart events (brought on by stress) so we’ve decided to go full throttle and emerge ourselves into a new lifestyle change and mode. We’re going 100% Mediterranean.
I’ve cleared out our pantry of all junk. We’ve started eliminating foods high in sugars and unrefined starches out of our diet. In addition to our traditional Italian style meals, we’ve added in more foods from Jerusalem, Morocco, Africa, Greece and France. We are eating more fruits and vegetables. Less red meat and more fish, chicken and lamb. Drinking more veggie juices and Greek non-fat yogurt smoothies. I’m learning how to prepare more meals based on grains, such as farrow, bulgur wheat, quinoa and brown rice. Lunches lately have been home-made hummus and falafel based (made from ground chick peas/beans) spread out over cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes and eggplant, wrapped up in whole wheat pita breads.
This is NOT a diet per se. It’s a conscious decision to simply make better food choices. If you look at the first bottom rung of the Mediterranean Pyramid, sitting down to a meal with other people is thee most important feature on the triangle. Sharing and enjoying a meal with others, with good conversation, leads to a happy and healthy lifestyle. DH and I have spent months de-cluttering our home, freshening it up with new appliances and a more modern decor. Nothing can be more of a debbie-downer than living in a stressful environment. When we think of the Mediterranean lifestyle, we envision people relaxing on a beach along the Adriatic Sea or the French Riviera (see photo above). That’s what it’s all about. Good food. Good company. Good friends.
The Good Life.