The Mediterranean Diet is the healthiest (and yummiest) in the world. It's not a "diet diet," meaning something you do for a short period to drop pounds. It's an eating plan for life. And if you can follow this plan, over time you WILL become slimmer and in better health. You'll feel fewer hunger pangs -- because you are eating nutrient-rich foods -- and have more energy.
But you probably won't be able to succeed with this plan unless you cook some of your own meals. Fast food and the Mediterranean diet don't go together very well, nor does restaurant dining (alas -- I love to eat at nice restaurants!).
Health wise, this diet, loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats and proteins, not only keeps your weight down but also is great for your heart, blood pressure, and blood sugar. You'll avoid obesity, heart disease and diabetes if you follow this wonderful and delicious plan. Some research also suggests this diet can ward off dementia as we age.
Here is one of my favorite Middle Eastern style recipes to get you started -- easy as pie, and taste great.
RECIPE: Couscous Salad with Orange and Olives Serves 4-6
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat couscous
- 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped black olives, (4 scallions)
- 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives, (12 olives)
- 1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned and diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Stir together couscous, orange juice concentrate, oil, mustard, thyme, orange zest and salt in a large bowl. Stir in boiling water, cover and set aside until the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add parsley, scallions, olives, diced orange and lemon juice; toss to blend. Season with pepper.