It is no secret that these days people tend to take care of themselves and that plenty of people are looking on a daily basis for the best diet or nutritious formula to follow. Following a healthy diet is simply good for anyone´s health and looking good. The famous Mediterranean diet is considered along with the Japanese Washoku diet as one of the most healthy lifestyles in the world.
The Mediterranean diet has its origins in Italy, Greece and Spain, and in contrast to many diets we know, it doesn’t follow a strict protocol, it is more a way of living, ingrained into the roots of the culinary traditions of these countries. So unfortunately what that means is you can’t simply move overseas to live in Spain or other Mediterranean countries and necessarily gain the health benefits straight away or even at all.
The diet mainly consists of eating small portions of fresh and seasonal produce, plenty of fruits and veggies, fish and ¨white¨ meats, olive oil and moderate consumption of red wine.
Here we list the key steps, simple and cheap, that anyone interested in following a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle should follow:
- Don´t be afraid of drinking tons of the golden liquid: Olive oil. Spaniards drink around 6 liters of olive oil per person each year and have a long life, and plenty of siestas. The Greeks drink even more olive oil.
- Make sure you include plenty of seasonal veggies into your dishes, they taste great with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. As well, make sure you eat 4 to 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day.
- Have some bread or pasta, your body needs energy, which comes from carbohydrates. But avoid industrial products, better buy fresh bread from your local bakery or cook pasta each time you need to eat.
- Have some dairy, but in limited amounts. It is healthy to eat cottage cheese, and who doesn’t like a mel i mato (cheese and honey) as a dessert? No need to restrict yourself when it comes to eating some cheese or drinking yogurt or milk, just make it the right amount.
- And while you eat carbohydrates, you also need protein. Give priority to fish and seafood, then chicken, and limit your meat intake to a maximum of 2 times per week. Organic eggs are as well an excellent protein-packed substitute for meat.
- Drink a lot of water. This is recommended by any dietician, but we cannot stress it more! As well, as mentioned earlier, drinking wine isn’t bad, but be moderate, enjoy a good glass of wine from time to time. Cheers!
- For the above, don’t eat in abundance, just make sure you eat around 5 to 6 times per day. A small portion takes time to digest and you might feel hungry for around 10 minutes after eating, but your stomach will learn, and will then enjoy being pampered on a regular basis throughout your day.
- And the most important thing, and as mentioned earlier, be active! A Mediterranean lifestyle is not just about eating healthy, but about being healthy, so get one of those techy fitness trackers and start pushing yourself to the limits, avoid taking the car, take a bike! Walk around, move yourself!
All in all, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and/or following the Mediterranean diet does not imply restricting yourself from tasty foods, alcohol and quantities of food. It rather implies finding a balance between what you eat, how you eat it and the amount of physical exercise you conduct on a regular basis. In our opinion this is just about organizing a bit better our day to day life, and respecting our bodies.
Besides the ever increasing number of healthy diets that spread like butter on toast, the Mediterranean diet is still the favorite of scientists as it contains an unparalleled mix of precious nutrients that provide long-lasting benefits alongside tasty flavours that make every taste bud happy. The different regions lying on the Mediterranean basin having somehow a similar approach though different dishes, which makes it diverse and interesting. For centuries the Italian grandmas have used mouth-watering recipes, and pass them from mother to daughter, from friend to guest and from heart to heart, while making use of local ingredients.
We hope you found value in the key steps to follow to maintain a healthy life based on the Mediterranean culture, which is well represented in regions such as Catalonia in Spain, Puglia in Italy and in the Peloponnese in Greece. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are proven already, what are you waiting for?
Author: Andre Arriaza – avid traveler, blogger for Barcelona Eat Local and aid worker. Eating the world two steps at a time while uncovering world cultures.