The ‘Mediterranean Diet is often typecast as one that uses a lot of herbs and olive oil. This isn’t a misconception exactly, but it is a very limited description for a diet that’s actually pretty inclusive. And pretty darn delicious, too.
So, What’s the Mediterranean Diet About?
Let me preface this by saying that there are at least 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean, which means that you have to consider at least 16 different eating styles when talking about a “Mediterranean” diet. That’s not counting the cuisine, culture, ethnic, and agricultural variations among regions within each specific country.
Point is, there are definitely diet differences across these countries – which would explain why the Mediterranean diet is so extensive. Thankfully, it focuses on what the different regions have in common when it comes to food, food prep, and food preferences.
Here are a couple, to start:
- Low to minimal servings of red meat
- Low to minimal servings of processed food
- Low to moderate servings of dairy products
- Low to moderate servings of eggs
- Low to moderate consumption of alcohol
- Moderate servings of fish and poultry
- Lots and lots of olive oil (primary fat source)
- Lots of potatoes
- High servings of vegetables, nuts, and seeds
- High servings of bread and other grains
- Fruits as a sweet/sugar source
Sounds simple enough, yeah?
And that’s why everyone’s talking about it.
Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet
Despite the fact that fad diets and 30-day diet challenge programs are oh-so trendy right now (thank you, Tik Tok), no one can really stick to them. They’re limited, restrictive, and have way too many hard rules for anyone to truly enjoy them.
Some do, sure. But not a lot. Not most of the population.
The Mediterranean diet, in contrast, is more of a dietary guideline. It’s a set of principles and best practices that basically tell you what to eat, and in what quantities. It adopts more of an “eat this, eat that, don’t eat this if you can, and if you have to, only eat this much,” sort of tone.
Which, honestly, is quite refreshing.
Especially since most other diets are more of a “eat this much of this and don’t eat that. At all. No exceptions,” type of tone.
Also: no counting calories on the Mediterranean diet. Yay!
The Mediterranean Diet (guidelines) is based on the typical food patterns the 16 Mediterranean countries had during the 1960s. Statistics show this to be the Golden Era for that particular area. Life expectancy was the highest in the world in these countries, and chronic diseases related to diets were at an all-time low.
It didn’t take long for medical science to figure out the reason behind it. Removing processed food from your diet, limiting your red meat intake, and indulging in red wine instead of hard liquor are all steps that have been proven to reduce the risk of stroke and heart diseases.
A growing body of research also points to the positive correlation between the Mediterranean diet and improved levels of cholesterol and overall blood vessel health. And because so many approved dishes in this diet are high in fibre, you also minimize drastic swings in blood sugar – great for weight maintenance and preventing Type 2 diabetes!
It Tastes Great
Come on. Even though you’re cutting out red meat, you can’t argue with a diet that allows for potatoes, grilled salmon, and red wine! You can have Mediterranean pizza (who doesn’t love pizza?), sandwiches (just make sure it’s whole grain bread!) lasagne, and grilled lamb! This diet is said to be quite rich and satisfying, and it’s not hard to see why.
Rather than focus on the quantity of the food (aka calorie counting), the Mediterranean diet wholly supports focusing on the quality.
So if you’re tired of restrictive diets with all those ridiculous rules and hard-to-find alternatives, give the Mediterranean diet a try. We can say with confidence that it’s one of the friendliest diets out there.
“Intuitive Eating” is often referred to as the opposite of a “traditional diet.”
Rather than designing your meal plan according to a set of rules and dietary limitations, intuitive eating encourages you to do away with restrictions and eat according to how you feel. Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, even describe intuitive eating as a “non-diet approach” that helps people “unlearn” certain rules and expectations related to food.
What does this all mean?
Basically, intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy that encourages us to eat whatever we want – and how often we want – without entertaining thoughts of social norms or internalized guilt.
This doesn’t give you a free pass to overindulge, either. Intuitive eating practices encourage awareness of what you put into your body. You listen to your body for cues on when to eat, what to eat, and how much of it.
It’s honestly so simple, it’s almost ridiculous.
Eat when you’re hungry.
Stop when you’re full.
Eat food that makes you feel good emotionally and physically.
So why is everyone talking about Intuitive Eating?
- Guilt-Free Dining
Why do “cheat days” or “cheat meals” exist?
Because we’ve equated certain foods as “bad.” We consider eating said foods as “bad behaviour.” So when we do indulge in the typical unhealthy junk food – pizzas, chips, nachos, ice cream, cakes, cookies, etc. – we feel guilty. We feel like we “cheated” ourselves somehow.
Intuitive eating removes the “good” and “bad” labels on food. When we subscribe to the principles of eating intuitively, we instead develop an awareness of which foods make our body feel good and which ones do not. And then we simply eat according to that awareness.
- Delicious Dishes Once More
Once you remove the guilt and anxiety attached to food, you eliminate the subsequent feelings of self-worth. If you’ve ever been on a diet and found yourself subconsciously patting yourself on the back for turning down that slice of cake or that extra serving of pasta, then you’ve probably experienced the flipside, too. Mentally kicking yourself for having dessert on a “non-cheat day.” Or agonizing for days over how badly that one burger from McDonald’s could have messed up your macros and why did you eat it you shouldn’t have eaten it you know better-!
Yeah. This punishing way of thinking can really take away food’s flavour.
Intuitive eating helps you reprogram your beliefs about food, neutralising the resist-reward system diet culture has ingrained in us. When you’re no longer plagued by the concept of “good food,” “bad food,” you really start to taste and appreciate each dish’s unique flavour.
- Reconnect With Your Body
Eating intuitively forces you to listen to your body. Again, it’s not about eating food that makes you feel good emotionally i.e., comfort food like chips, pizza, cookies, etc.
You can still eat those, of course, but trust me when I say that your body’s going to crave whole foods eventually. Vegetables, white meat, soups and broths, whole grains …
By following the principles of intuitive eating, you have to remove your preconceived notions about what you should eat and instead embrace what your body intrinsically tells you to eat. It’s a very wholesome experience that gets you to reconnect with your body.
To reiterate, intuitive eating is not a free pass to eat high-processed junk food 24/7 and simply write it off as “eating intuitively.” It’s also not a free pass to overindulge. Intuitive eating promotes achieving a healthy relationship with food – and subsequently optimised health – through a hyper-awareness of your body. Ultimately, it’s about balance.
We love hearing transformation stories and actress Rebel Wilson’s incredible 18kg (or 60 lbs) weight loss is no exception. She not only inspires us with her commitment to health but also her new sunnier outlook on life.
She set a goal and achieved it, all through hard work and cleaning up her diet. We’re sure there was a lot more work to it than that but in the interests of keeping things succinct, here are 3 important lessons we can take away from her lifestyle change.
Leave off the Sugar
It’s no secret that overeating can often be a symptom of deeper issues. Wilson recently revealed her own struggle with emotional eating, sharing how she would consume 3,000 calories per day.
“My way of dealing with it was just eating donuts,” she said after boldly making the decision to change her unhealthy lifestyle.
Instead of eating those sugary treats, Wilson said she would drink a bottle of water instead. It takes discipline but if Rebel Wilson can do it, so can you!
Follow a Diet Plan
While there are many diet plans that promise a lot, however, simply eliminating junk food, reducing dairy and gluten and cutting your sugar intake can be a simpler way to approach things as the Mayr Method suggests. Rebel reportedly follows this method and it has been working its wonders on her.
“I want you guys to know that the majority of exercise I’ve done this year has just been me going out for a walk,” the 40 year old actress tells her fans through her Instagram account. “That is free, you can do it, it’s safe.”
Physical activity can improve your metabolism and help you burn excess fats. 20-30 minutes of moderate to intense activity 3-5 times a week can help you strengthen your cardiovascular and immune system which is great for your overall health.
Wilson also mentioned the importance of being accountable. Doing things in secret might leave you discouraged and downhearted. Instead, be open about your goals, talk to your coaches or dietitians, track your progress, or share your weight loss journey on social media.
Losing weight might sometimes seem impossible but if you keep these three steps in mind and continue with them at a slow and steady pace, you’ll lose those excess pounds and get to your goals. That’s a guarantee!
At Hearty Health, we love helping our clients stay on track and excited about their meals. If you’d like to know more about getting our freshly packed chef-prepared meals sent directly to you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org