Many people need help beginning the Mediterranean Diet. This help may come by doing your own research, looking for recipes on Facebook, Pinterest and websites such as this, or finding a supportive group to help you learn and implement those learnings. Adopting the Mediterranean Diet is the best thing we can do to get and stay healthy. Nutritionists started studying the reasons why after an initial study of the worlds healthiest populations was conducted in the mid twentieth century. So let’s discuss the essential elements of the Mediterranean diet and then move on to the proven ways to begin so you fully embrace this Way of Eating (WOE) for life.
The second step is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you are eating. In fact the major benefits of the Mediterranean Diet come from filling up on high fiber vegetables and having seafood, meat, pasta, and bread in smaller portions, a side dish instead of a main dish. Most Mediterranean Diet recipes are built around vegetables, and the ones that aren’t can be adapted through portion control to increase your vegetable consumption. Adding vegetables also encourages Mediterranean dieters to include vegetables that they may have never used before, expanding the number of delicious dishes you are preparing. Adding new vegetables to your meals also will provide nutrients that may have been missing from your diet. Filling up on these will leave you satisfied and not craving the sugar, fat and salt that are so destructive to our bodies.
You can refer to the Get Started Guide at any time to remind you of what you need to be doing to be on the Mediterranean Diet. Start off by drinking water. This sounds simple and it is, with the understanding that room temperature water is better for you than ice water. More important is that drinking water can ease hunger pangs in the early days as you start portion control, and drinking water instead of any other beverage besides unsweetened tea and coffee aligns with my first rule, DON’T DRINK CALORIES. Sweet drinks of all kinds are largely responsible for the epidemic of obesity. Sadly sweet drinks have eroded the health of the younger generations of the original populations studied. Drinking lots of water and making sure you are well hydrated is one of the easiest healthy practices to adopt, so start immediately.
A third major key to losing weight and becoming healthier with the Mediterranean diet is using a lot of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). According to the Mayo clinic the primary fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids and they are considered a healthy dietary fat. By replacing other lesss healthy fats with olive oil you will lower your total cholesterol and the low density lipoproteins (LDL) levels that promote heart disease. Fats are necessary for the normal functioning of the body, and the best way to get them is through having up to ¼ cup of EVOO each day.
As part of the second step adopting the Mediterranean Diet means that you will be cooking. This is a challenge for many, however this is being written during the COVID-19 lockdown and nearly everyone is cooking more. It is an excellent time to experiment with and learn to cook healthy meals, with the added benefit of using the Mediterranean Diet to boost your immune system. Just like with most things you are not an expert at, with cooking you start where you are and improve as you go. Choosing ingredients is very important for the outcome of a meal, and I have noticed during excursions to the grocery store that the supply chain for fruits and vegetables doesn’t seem to be effected. So it is time to stock up on the items on the Get Started grocery list and make a commitment not to waste any of them by not preparing meals with those ingredients in time.
People who have tried other diets like Keto, Paleo, Weight Watchers struggle at first because we do not count calories with this WOE. Some are disturbed by this flexibility and feel that there is no way to be successful unless you are sticking closely to a prescribed diet. Speaking of prescribed, most people that find my growing Facebook group that offer a reason for joining is that they are doing it on doctor’s orders. The discomfort of not counting calories disappears when you use portion control and wise choices (like eating fruits and vegetables first) to gain lasting weight loss results. In recent studies, the Mediterranean Diet is the only modern diet where the benefits continue after dieting stops. And I know that for everyone in my Facebook group, there is no reason to stop. You don’t have to count calories, the meals are delicious and you are losing weight or getting healthier every day.
Those are some initial tips to get you going, now we can talk about resources for losing weight by incorporating the Mediterranean Diet into your life. The site where this is posted is specifically designed to help people make that transformation, a good place to start are the Articles to Get You Started. The articles focus on why you want to make this change along with effective strategies on how to make the change and adopt this WOE. In addition to the Get Started Guide that has the Mediterranean Diet pyramid, Grocery List, and a reference guide, there are several hundred Mediterranean Diet recipes that can be searched, letting you make meals with the ingredients you may have on hand.
For people that are very committed to change or are seriously obese and need to act there is another step that myself and many others have taken to be as healthy as possible. More and more people in my group are accelerating weight loss and realizing additional benefits by Intermittent Fasting. Judging by the number of question I get from people there is a real interest in this practice and the results are indisputable. My very popular article “The Perfect Combination” details some of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting and why combining it with the nutrition of the Mediterranean Diet is a wise choice.
Stress eating and food addiction are tougher behaviors to overcome, people often need or want a support group as family members may not embrace the changes necessary to adopt this diet. That is where our Facebook group comes in. Although the strong tendency of Facebook is to bring out the worst in people and for people to present their lives as perfect; our group is different. Our policy and culture from the very first person I added has been that we are here to help, no trash talking other diets, no personal attacks of any kind, contribute your best or move on. Although our group has grown dramatically for that reason we have made every effort to keep it that way for everyone’s benefit. My experience is that trolls do no stick around lovely people with good intentions too long.
Everything that most people need to successfully adopt the Mediterranean Diet is in my new book Get Started Losing Weight with the Mediterranean Diet, on this website, and with the wonderful people on my Facebook Group. Please join us, you will not believe how good it feels being healthy.