A bit of history
The Mediterranean diet is exactly what it sounds like – a diet based on food of the Mediterranean region.
And yes, it is as delicious as it sounds.
Archeologists conclude that the diet as we know it today stretches as far back as 753 BC, although it has gone through a couple changes back then.
The Ancient Romans and Egyptians are seen as the founders of the diet. They’re the ones that fell in love with bread, oil, and wine.
They believed that the “Gods and heroes” themselves had brought the likes of bread, oil, and wine to earth. And so, those three foods were the pillars of their diet.
On the side, they also indulged in sheep cheese, vegetables, olives, fish, and very rarely, red meat.
Closer to 476 AD, the Romans clashed with the Arabians. Although it was in war, their people shared with each other foods like sugar, spice, rice, spinach, eggplant, pomegranate, rose water, almonds, lemons, and oranges. It was at this point that the diet started to look more like what we know it as today.
And then the brave Christopher Columbus did something that really shook the world up. In his crazy expedition that could have led him to falling off the ends of the earth, he discovered America. And with that, the Mediterranean diet was complete. Potatoes, beans, peppers, corn, chili, tomatoes, pasta, couscous, and polenta finished off the colorful smorgasbord.
No one really talked about the Mediterranean diet in those times the way we do now until the 1990’s. It was at this time that heart disease was an epidemic big enough for people to start thinking about what they were eating.
And it was also at this time that the Seven Countries Study came out.
Conducted by a smart man named Ancel Keys, the Seven Countries Study is also exactly what it sounds like – a study of seven countries. A food study, that is.
Keys began his work on the Seven Countries Study in the 1960’s. He closely examined the lifestyles and eating habits of 13,000 middle-aged men living in Finland, Holland, Italy, the United States, Greece, Japan, and Yugoslavia for a bit over 20 years.
His conclusions? Those living in the Mediterranean region were substantially healthier than those everywhere else. It seemed that the more healthy fats people ate, the better off they were in all aspects of life and health.
How to go Mediterranean
At this point you’re probably thinking “Alright, eat some olive oil, drink some wine, munch on a couple veggies, and I’ll be doing good. Let me get in on this stuff.”
Well, I have news for you. There’s a little more to it than that…
… a little more awesome, that is.
Alright, in all seriousness, here’s what you can expect to mow down if you decide to go Mediterranean.
55-60% of calories from CARBS
(whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, cauliflower, potatoes, etc.)
25-30% of calories from FAT
(olive oil, olives, avocado oil, avocados, etc.)
15-20% of calories from PROTEIN
(fish, chicken, legumes, nuts, seeds, beans, etc.)
If you’re not sure about what your specific daily calorie intake should be for your goals and lifestyle, Calorie King should help you out a ton.
And if the math has got you confused, my Mediterranean Diet eBook lays it all out for you.
The Mediterranean diet is, however, a little bigger than numbers and percentages. It’s as large as life itself, if not larger.
What I mean to say is that to properly adhere to the Mediterranean diet you also need to regularly exercise, get a little more sunshine, and be a little more social. Seriously, those are all real factors of the diet.
No successful Mediterranean dieter has ever received any benefits eating olives out of the jar while watching Breaking Bad reruns in a dark living room. It just doesn’t happen like that.
The Mediterranean diet is about improving all aspects of your life, and watching the benefits, physically, mentally, and emotionally pour in as a result.
Moving on now.
What’s in it for you?
There are tons of crisp, fresh, decadent, and delicious foods involved, and especially if you know how to pair them and prepare them nicely. Not to mention the fact that wine is mandatory.
Yeah, it seems the benefits would mostly come in the food alone.
But there’s more. I don’t mean to sound like a tacky infomercial. There’s seriously more.
Some health benefits you can expect to experience while on the Mediterranean diet are:
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. And by a whopping 30%. The good fats in this diet end up doing your heart better than even a low-fat diet can.
- Decreased risk of stroke. Again, by a clean 30%.
- Decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Research in the UK shows that there is no diet better than the Mediterranean diet for this.
- Lower blood pressure. Since the Mediterranean diet is full of good stuff like potassium, calcium, and magnesium and less full of stuff like salt, you can expect to calm you blood pressure levels by a nice amount.
- Decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Yep, your food choices will have your brain working better and for longer too.
- Decreased risk of developing cancer. Harvard University says by 12%.
- Decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s. There’s quite the solid link here, as study after study will show you.
- Decreased risk of being/becoming obese. So if you’re here to look great in a bikini next summer, you came to the right place.
These are the biggest benefits that come with the no-brainer of going Mediterranean. Along with these, you can also expect to improve your agility, overall brain power, and chances of living happy and healthy into old age.
A quick Google search will prove it for you.
My personal experience
As a sports nutritionist, I recommend the Mediterranean diet to just about anyone looking to maintain and improve their health. Not only are the food choices delicious, but it’s totally sustainable too (or in other words, the diet won’t make your weight yo-yo like crazy).
For confidentiality reasons, I can’t mention names of clients I have put on the diet, but I can describe their overall results.
And here’s what they were:
- Decreased body fat percentage
- Increased energy
- Improved agility
- Improved endurance
- Sharper understanding
- Sharper memory
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Lower blood sugar
- Increased pleasure, happiness, and enjoyment from life
And I’m not exaggerating that last point there, either.
If any or all of the above are on your goals checklist, the Mediterranean diet is certainly the way to go. So what are your next steps?
You could always search through a landslide of Mediterranean recipes on Pinterest, but my eBooks make it a little easier.
Not only will you find recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert all in one place, but also the nutritional information per serving. Not to mention, the instructions are super in-depth since I’m super passionate about this stuff… They’ll ensure you get all the dishes right the first time, wasting no groceries, time, or money in the process.
But if you need some recipes ASAP, feel free to check out my Mediterranean Pressure Cooker recipes for free. I’m so excited to finally have those up!