Updated: Feb 1, 2020
The Mediterranean Diet is inspired by the healthiest traditional foods, lifestyle habits and agriculture of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Egypt, and Morocco, as well as 16 other coastal countries.
Scientists and health experts all over the world agree that the Mediterranean diet is not one of but the healthiest diet for overall health and longevity and that it promotes heart health. For the second consecutive year since 2018 the US News and World Report ranks the Mediterranean diet as No.1 diet for healthy eating as well as ranking No.1 in other sub-categories; the diet that is easiest to follow, best for heart health, best for diabetes, and the best plant-based diet.
However, I'm here to tell you from experience that the Mediterranean diet is more than just a diet, it's a lifestyle.
The word "diet" originates from the Greek word diaita which means "way of life"
I grew up in Italy, a place that encompasses the very meaning of holistic living, where strong connections are the foundation to life, health, happiness, and longevity. These are the connections we have with family and friends, with mother earth, and with the self. The Mediterranean way of living imbues my entire adult life.
Eating foods that nourish the body.
In Italy fresh vegetables straight from the garden, a handful of raw nuts, and fruit picked straight off the tree make up a big part of our sustainable diet and lifestyle that keeps us connected to mother nature with a low impact on the environment.
The produce we eat is strictly seasonal, organic, and locally grown and we limit colorants and preservatives.
Spend time with family and friends.
Our plant-based meals which consist of whole foods are always eaten in company, with friends and family, without distractions such as phones. This social connectedness is just as important to our physical health and longevity as it is to our mental health and vital to stress management. Studies show that loneliness is as harmful as a smoking habit.
Making moderate exercise a part of every-day life.
Daily physical activity is also a core part of the Mediterranean culture amongst all age groups. Just simple natural movement such as walking to the café in the morning, taking a walk with family in the evening, gardening, doing housework, walking to the market or the bakery is enough to keep your body in shape.
Here is a list of some of the foods in the Mediterranean diet:
Vegetables and leafy greens
Nuts and seeds
Olive oil and vinegar
These things make up the foundation of our daily meals whereas dairy and eggs are eaten in moderation a couple of times per week and meat is eaten a couple of times per month.
Plant based NOT meat based.