Mediterranean Diet Month- Setting the Path

by Meri on May 8, 2012

May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, which is right up my alley! This month long campaign was established by Oldways and the Mediterranean Food Alliance, resources that provide education and awareness about the Mediterranean diet and foods from the region. Personally, I am passionate about this way of  life and recently coauthored the book, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies, a labor of love for me. I grew up in an American-Italian home where the traditional way of eating was passed down from my Calabrian relatives from Southern Italy, one of the main regions studied for the health benefits of Mediterranean style eating. Don’t get me wrong, my family stuck with many of their traditional food ways, but American style cuisine also snuck into the picture by the time I was growing up.

This blog is about my journey to get back to my Southern Italian roots and use the principles of Mediterranean living with my own family. This isn’t just a diet or lifestyle I find healthy or recommend to my clients, I am adopting this way of life for my family. Here are some of the basics:

  1. Loading up on plant based foods. Instead of eating a couple of fruits and veggies each day, the Mediterranean diet includes 5 to 9 servings a day.
  2. Enjoying nuts, seeds and legumes regularly.
  3. Decreasing meat consumption. There’s no doubt about it, the traditional American diet is much higher in meat. With the Mediterranean diet, meat is served less often and when it is served, smaller portion sizes- 2 to 3 ounces.
  4. Eating whole grains with smaller portions. Although pasta and other grain-based foods are loved in Italian cuisine the portion sizes are much smaller than seen on our American plates.
  5. Using fresh, seasonal foods.
  6. Cooking with fresh herbs to enhance your food’s flavor and provide more health benefits.
  7. Eating fish and seafood regularly in your diet.
  8. Using good quality olive oil as a main source of fat in place of other cooking oils and butter.
  9. Enjoying strong flavored cheeses to enhance meals rather than smother them.
  10. Slowing down and enjoying really tasty food that is good for you. Can’t argue with this point!

I’m enjoying getting back to the basics and cooking fresh foods for my family. The trick is making things simple, not all cooking needs to be terribly complex. Instead focus on good quality ingredients and adding lots of flavor through foods like citrus and fresh herbs.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: