Traditional never tasted so good
With the abundance of fresh, local fruits and vegetables available at farmers markets and in grocery stores during the summer, now is the ideal time to give the Mediterranean way of eating a try. It’s a traditional diet known primarily for its emphasis on an abundance of foods from plant sources, locally sourced non-processed foods, plenty of fish and limited amounts of meat.
According to Old Ways Health Through Heritage1, there are eight simple steps for eating the Mediterranean way:
- Eat lots of vegetables.
- Take the emphasis off of meat by eating smaller amounts of it. Consider using meat as a garnish (like pasta sprinkled with diced pancetta) or an element in a larger dish (like strips of steak in a vegetable stir fry).
- Eat small amounts of dairy, such as plain Greek yogurt.
- Eat fish or seafood twice a week.
- Go vegetarian at least once a week (check out our article on eating vegetarian for tips and recipe ideas).
- Eat healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olives and avocados.
- Switch to whole grains, which are rich in many important nutrients.
- Enjoy fresh fruits for dessert instead of processed treats packed with added sugar.
The countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea—Italy, Spain, France, Morocco, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Israel—have each contributed something special to what we refer to as “Mediterranean cuisine”. And not only is it bright, colorful and delicious, but research has also shown that following a Mediterranean diet is a very healthy way to eat. It reduce the risk of heart disease and lowers the levels of “bad” cholesterol, and it’s also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.2
Those are pretty compelling reasons to start exploring the wonderful foods and recipes from this beautiful part of the world. Chances are you’ve eaten many of them before – there’s nothing particularly exotic about Mediterranean food, nor is it difficult to cook – so have a look through these resources, pick a few favorites and start infusing your diet with the colors, flavors, and incredible health benefits of Mediterranean cuisine.
- Healthy Mediterranean recipes and menus from Eating Well
- Super fast Mediterranean recipes from Cooking Light
- Heart-healthy Mediterranean recipes from Whole Living
- Mediterranean recipes from the Mayo Clinic
Eating the Mediterranean way is easy, especially when there is so much local produce to choose from. But most importantly it’s delicious and healthy – and your family will love it.
For more information about the traditional Mediterranean diet, visit Old Ways.
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