21 Day Mediterranean Diet Challenge Day #20

Happy Saturday everybody! I think most of you love beans. Beans play a significant role in the Mediterranean Diet. They have so many benefits: they contain fiber, minerals, antioxidants and protein. Beans are associated with longevity; reduced risk of cancer and diabetes and are effective in lowering cholesterol levels. They are also great for weight maintenance and weight loss as they provide a feeling of fullness and satiety.

Do you eat enough beans? Ideally, within the Mediterranean diet you should be eating beans every other day, however a good goal is to have 2-3 bean main courses a week.

How to Eat More Beans

I often see recommendations to eat hummus, or add beans to salads and quesadillas, these are fine suggestions but realistically how much hummus can somebody eat in one sitting? And how many beans can one manage to fit in a quesadilla? Not much. With a Mediterranean diet beans were consumed as a main course, and this is really the easiest and best way to get the beans in your diet without feeling like it is a chore. A basic way would be to roast them or boil them and cook them with tomato, drizzle some olive and accompany with a piece of cheese (if you consume dairy).

The way Mediterranean style beans are prepared it increases their nutritional value even more: Olive oil is used adding the good monounsaturated fats and additional antioxidants. The tomato that is added either in the form of fresh tomatoes or tomato paste/sauce helps us absorb more iron from the beans, and if tomato is not used lemon juice is added, also a source of vitamin C aiding in the absorption of iron.

Making bean dishes may require a bit of preparation, certain beans need soaking overnight and most bean dishes that are cooked with other ingredients work best with dry beans not canned beans. Canned beans work well for dips or adding as is in other dishes.

Easy Mediterranean Bean Dishes

Gigantes Plaki – Tender Greek Roasted Beans in Tomato Sauce

Luscious, tender baked beans in a tomato-herb sauce. A traditional Greek dish bursting with flavor and nutrients.

One Pot Black-Eyed Peas

A Mediterranean staple, rich and hearty stewed one pot black eyed peas with onion, tomato and herbs.

Authentic Greek Chickpea Soup

This soup /stew is another one of those comfort foods served during the winter. Nourishing, warm, flavorful and filling this Greek Chickpea soup or rather stew hits the spot.

Lentil and Grape Salad with Feta and Kalamata Olives

Yes, lentils can be very yummy, especially when they are paired with olive oil, feta, olives and grapes.

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  • Reply Konstantina January 28, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    Elena, loved following you 21 Day Plan. I am following it faithfully, even now that I completed the regiment. Happy to say that successfully have lost 9lbs so far and hope to keep going.
    Make tzatziki other day without cucumbers and it was dry? Any suggestions??

  • Reply Patricia Morris January 26, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Elsie, I am also a diabetic with a similar pattern of blood glucose as you however eating Mediterranean style foods was not only delicious but aided me in losing 35 lbs over time and being able to reduce and eventually stop taking insulin. The hardest part of the battle wasn’t just in changing my diet, as in the foods I ate, but in also normalising my portion sizes.

    Beans are actually a diabetic, or dieters, best friend but it’s largely dependent on how they’re prepared, amounts and types. Yes, they will raise your blood glucose however it is generally a more gentle rise and fall than most other foods and have the added benefit of keeping us feeling full longer and staying hunger pangs.

    As for eating bread, rice and pasta you can still eat them but try sourdough, brown rice and whole wheat or other whole grain pastas instead and in very limited quantities occasionally.

    Aim for low glycemic index and Mediterranean foods and consult a diabetes educator. Some changes can be easy and others a little harder but they’ve all been beneficial for me.

  • Reply Vickie Breckenridge January 25, 2021 at 3:55 am

    Don’t you think it mat be worth your while to go VEGAN. Maybe your diet has kept you sick! Watch something like What the Health on Netflix. Many people go off their pills as they get really well after giving up animal products and going plant based!

  • Reply Elaine January 24, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    I can’t eat beans as I am a diabetic and have had type 2 diabetes for many years i.e. my kidneys leaked sugar at the age of 19 and I have been taking medication for a number of years. When I eat beans, bread, rice or pasta for example, my blood sugars are high even after a few hours!

  • Reply Sherry L Ellis January 24, 2021 at 2:05 am

    I just bought the Cookbook for beginners and am excited to try this!! My husband and I are both 67 and overweight. I have high cholesterol and have had one heart attack so I am anxious to get in shape and live healthier. Thank you so much. I love how you explain everything.

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