The Mediterranean diet. What exactly is that? Don’t they eat heaps of pasta everyday? And pizza? You might have heard they eat ice cream for breakfast in Italy. And, what about the huge meals with 5 courses? Well, some people may eat that way, but, that is not what the Mediterranean diet is about.
What it is about, is a way of eating that has lasted thousands of years. The people around the Mediterranean Sea eat mostly vegetables, grains and legumes, fish and very little meat. All cooked in healthy olive oil. They do eat pasta, and some eat it everyday, but, the average portion is 100 grams uncooked pasta, or roughly 3.5 ounces. That isn’t much, but they eat it as a first course before the main dish. It is about portions.
Try to forget about he word “diet” in the Mediterranean diet. This isn’t a diet program like Atkins, Paleo or Keto or any of the other types that are popular right now. There is diet: the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group. And there is dieting: the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake. Think of the former. It is culture of eating. Eating this way will help you lose weight and become healthier, but that is a by product.
When you think of dieting, you think of all the things that you cannot eat. This is a diet of abundance, not restrictions. When you cook the way they cook in Italy, Spain, Greece or any of the other cultures lining that beautiful coast, you will never get bored of the flavors that you will experience. When you eat the food of the peasants, or the “povera cucina” as they say in Italy, you will get healthy, lose weight and love the process as you discover a “new” way to eat. You do yourself a disservice if you call this a diet.
Many people are intimidated by trying to cook from scratch, whether it is because they don’t have time or because they don’t have confidence in the kitchen. I hope I can solve both of those problems for you, then. This cuisine is so easy to cook. Use good ingredients and you don’t have to do much to make them taste good. Keep the process simple and enjoy the natural flavors of the food. And don’t worry about not having time. If you have 30 minutes to cook during the week, then you have the time to make these recipes.
Eating the Mediterranean way is also a lifestyle. Food culture is very important to them and should be to us Non-Mediterraneans, too. Good food gets you excited about life. It gives you something to look forward to for mealtime instead of the stress we usually feel when we think ahead to what to cook. I used to live in Italy and during the commute home on the train, I would over hear people talking about what they were having for lunch! Good food also brings people together. I hope that this site inspires you to set aside some time to cook long meals on the weekends and invite some friends and family over to enjoy it, as well.
Get rid of all that low-fat, lite and no fat foods in your fridge and start cooking whole foods again. You can, and you should do it. 100daysofrealfood.com has a great post about not eating those types of products. Add some passion to your life by cooking healthy and great tasting foods that your whole family will enjoy.