Make It Mediterranean

mediterranean dietThe Mediterranean diet has long been famous for its association with long life and lower rates of heart disease and cancer. An article on the Mediterranean diet in the New York Times gave an excellent, inspiring review of the details of the diet including the diet’s own “food pyramid”. The diet, the article tells us, is based on a daily consumption of vegetables and fruits, including wild greens; unrefined grains such as whole grain bread, pasta and brown rice; olive oil as the main added fat, and dairy. A little wine is a regular addition.

Once weekly, the diet adds fish, poultry, olives, legumes and nuts, eggs and sweets. Red meat is at the top of the pyramid to be eaten, if at all, once monthly. Daily physical activity is also added.

Many different diets have good qualities and many cultures provide us with healthy eating ideas. The Mediterranean diet with its emphasis on unprocessed foods, vegetables and fruits, grains, olive oil and lower amounts of protein has many qualities we can integrate into our day to day efforts to eat well.

A sobering aspect of the Times article was that the diet was described in the past tense. Fast and convenience food has taken its toll on the Mediterranean diet. The cultures where the diet was born–Greece, Italy, Spain and Morroco–have largely abandoned it. The result is an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease especially affecting children.

Source: NYT, September 24, 2008

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