Friends and Clients often ask me about what I eat and what they should eat. Whilst the answer to this can be quite complex depending on goals and likes and dislikes the simple truth is that ‘diets’ per-say do not need to be overcomplicated.
First of all I hate the word ‘diet’. It is not a diet for me it is a way of life. A lifestyle that becomes habit from being consistent.
When I look at what I eat it generally falls into the Mediterranean ‘Diet’. This way of living is not first and foremost about losing weight but more about overall health both physically and mentally. This includes heart health.
What You Eat on a Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is straightforward and doesn’t focus as much on taking foods away, but adding some healthy options to your meals. This type of diet focuses a lot on lean protein, vegetables, beans and nuts, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Some foods you will probably eat on a Mediterranean diet include:
- Olive oil
- Fruits and veggies
- Nuts and seeds
- Brown rice and quinoa
- Beans and legumes
The Health Benefits
Why do the Mediterranean diet? There are some different benefits for your health, aside from the fact that it is a simple diet to follow without a lot of restrictions.
It is a heart healthy diet – If you are concerned about your cardiovascular health, have heart problems or high blood pressure, this is definitely the diet for you.
It is simple to follow – Overall, the Mediterranean diet is a simple diet to follow. You focus on vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and oils, poultry and fish, and that makes up most of your diet. Many of the foods you already love are probably included.
You get the most important nutrients – If you have ever been on a diet, you know that one of the drawbacks can be dealing with vitamin deficiency. Maybe you did low-carb and didn’t get enough electrolytes, or you were a vegetarian and your protein was always too low. If you struggle balancing nutrients, it is much easier to do with the Mediterranean diet.
How Strict are the Rules?
While it is not quite as restrictive as other diets, there are some foods that most people on Mediterranean Diets will either avoid or reduce quite a bit. While this depends on your own needs, some rules that many people follow on this diet include:
Reducing dairy, grains, and sugar. These aren’t restrictions, but you do want to cut back a bit on the grains and dairy.
Cutting out most added sugar. Enjoy your fruit and natural sugars, but try to reduce foods with added sugar.
Reducing red meat. While chicken and fish is enjoyed on the Mediterranean diet, red meat doesn’t make up many of your meals.
So overall it is a healthy lifestyle kind of diet. One that you can slowly migrate across too and hopefully benefit in the long run from.
Forget about the word ‘diet’ in its day to day meaning. Stop doing fad diets and think about a complete long term lifestyle change.