The Mediterranean Diet is more than just a way of eating. It's a lifestyle centered around healthy whole foods, natural exercise, and spending time with family and friends.
Often when we talk about a Mediterranean diet, we immediately think of foods like hummus, falafel, and Greek salad.
But there's more to this amazing lifestyle than delicious food.
Numerous studies have shown that people living in areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea in Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, North Africa, and the Middle East are generally healthier and live longer with a lower incidence of chronic disease.
U.S. News & World Report rated the Mediterranean Diet not only #1 in Best Diets Overall category, but also #1 in the Best Plant-Based Diets category.
And since I've been vegan for many years, and the Mediterranean diet is mostly plant-based, for me the two lifestyles go hand-in-hand.
But even if you're not vegan, I think you'll find this way of life very satisfying and easy to follow.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
According to Mayo Clinics Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan, the key components of the Mediterranean diet are the following:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, and nuts
- Replacing animal-derived fats with healthy fats like olive oil
- Using herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt
- Reducing consumption of red meat, poultry, and fish
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Getting plenty of exercise
All of the recipes featured on healthy recipes can be included in a healthy plant-based Mediterranean diet.
Can you only eat foods from the Mediterranean region on this lifestyle?
If you're worried you'll have to give up your favorite cuisines like Mexican and Thai, fear not!
I'll show you how to view your food choices through a Mediterranean lens.
And I think you'll find that cultures around the world enjoy meals based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and legumes.
What if I don't like playing sports or going to the gym?
It doesn't take much more than going for daily walks to get enough exercise.
Perhaps you can walk to the market, work, or school instead of driving a few days a week.
Or you can ride a bike.
You don't have to train for marathons if you don't want to.
Do I have to follow a vegan diet?
While I've been vegan for years and only share plant-based recipes, I know not everyone is interested in being vegan.
And that's okay.
Simply reducing your consumption of meat and dairy can go a long way in improving your health. Plus it's kinder to the environment.
So if you want to enjoy fish or other animal protein once in a while, I won't judge you.
What should I eat on a Mediterranean diet?
When it comes to planning meals, it helps to rethink your dinner plate.
The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) relies heavily on a main dish. For example, you might have a serving of meat with a starch and a vegetable.
But when it comes to the Mediterranean diet, you're free to rethink these rules.
I love making a meal out of what we might normally think of as side dishes.
And fresh vegetables are the star of the plate.
Take a look at the following recipes for inspiration:
- Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
- Spinach Orzo Salad
- Mediterranean Yellow Rice
- Moroccan Carrot Salad
- Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic
- Greek Potato Salad
If you didn't see the answer to your question here, check out What To Eat On A Mediterranean Diet FAQ.
And if you have more questions about a plant-based Mediterranean diet, feel free to contact me at [email protected].
And you can join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipe Facebook group for inspiration and fun.