mediterranean diet

Photo credit: Saval Foods

If you’re like most women, you’ve probably tried nearly every diet on the market. You’ve cut carbs, starved yourself with salads only, perhaps even drank your meals in protein shakes or that odd cayenne pepper/maple syrup concoction. But what if you could find a diet that was not only effective for weight loss, but also helped to give you a healthier heart, lower cholesterol and allowed for 1-2 glasses of red wine a day?

We know, it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. This delicious diet is known as the Mediterranean Diet, and it is every bit as fabulous as it sounds! Based on the foods available and consumed in the 16+ countries which boarder the Mediterrranean Sea, this diet is far more of a way of life than a temporary quick-fix.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the reason why this diet is so healthy and delicious is because its daily menus are composed of real and delicious food. The key components of the diet are as follows:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
  • Using healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado and olives in place of butter or mayo.
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to give food more flavor.
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a week.
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.
  • The added option of drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine per day.
mediterranean diet pyramid

Photo credit: Loumoore Fitness

Unlike many other diets, the Mediterranean diet also puts a focus on how you eat your meals. Instead of shoveling away in front of the television, the book suggests that you instead make your meals, especially dinner, an event where food and drink is enjoyed with friends and family. The belief is, that when we sit in front of the television, either alone or with another while eating, not only do we tend to overeat but we can also lean toward eating the wrong things. In comparison, if we bring healthy food and drink to the table, in sizes that allow everyone a healthy portion, not only do we eat the right foods in the right amount, but we actually enjoy the meal much more. Click here to purchase the book.

red wine

Photo credit: The Clean Cuisine

If you’re finding yourself intrigued and ready to hop aboard the Mediterranean Diet train, here are some pros and cons, compliments of Live Strong, to help you make up your mind.

Pros:

  • Promotes heart health.
  • Helps to lower cholesterol.
  • Most of the fat in the diet comes from monounsaturated fat.
  • Allowed foods are high in cancer-fighting, antioxidants.
  • Great for vegetarians or those who prefer to not eat red meat.
  • Promotes regular activity such as daily walks, 30-60 minutes, 5 times a week.
  • The foods are low in sodium, so it’s perfect for those with high blood pressure as well.
  • No real calorie counting, but instead focuses on healthier, more plant-based eating.
  • Great for those who love to cook as there are several recipes to try.
  • Produces moderate weight loss (about 1.5 lbs. per week).

Cons:

  • Suggested serving amounts aren’t always noted in the recipes, but instead will focus on the macronutrient distribution.
  • Calorie totals and limits are not given which makes it difficult for those who like to use fitness apps to track calories.
  • Not suitable for those who are huge meat-eaters.
  • Not suitable for those who dislike certain healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and olives.
  • Not suitable for those to hate or lack the time to cook meals.
  • Not suitable for those who dislike seafood or poultry.

So if you’re looking for a healthy and delicious twist on your next dieting adventure, we highly recommend that you give the Mediterranean diet a try. Of course before beginning any diet, weigh the pros and cons first and then check with your physician to ensure the diet is a healthy choice for you.