21 DAY Mediterranean Diet Challenge DAY#1

Expectations and Preparation

Welcome everybody!! Thank you for joining me. I am happy to start this together! I think we all are in need of a restart right now.

Before we start it is important to know what you want to accomplish. The ultimate goal for this challenge is to feel good about yourself and your choices and supporting your body and your mind to be its best!

Each day for 21 days I’ll give you mini challenge to help you feel better the Mediterranean way and establish habits that will benefit your body and mind.


Yes, the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest eating pattern that exists. Hundreds of studies have shown that it can be beneficial for most chronic diseases but also for our mental health. It is important to note that the Mediterranean diet is a diet that naturally appeared in certain parts of world and that is what I will be guiding you through; the authentic Mediterranean diet. It is a bit different from what you might expect. What does that look like?

  1. There will be generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil. Apart from the numerous benefits, olive oil is what makes everything taste so good. And you will be cooking with it.
  2. There will be many vegetables. Mediterraneans are known to consume large amounts of vegetables as a side and main course.
  3. There will be no complex recipes with numerous exotic ingredients. Food and meals are characterized by their simplicity.
  4. It is not an expensive diet; this diet is in fact based on the diet of people living rural areas and villages.
  5. You will not be expected to spend hours in the kitchen, but you will be expected to make simple meals and dishes.
  6. We are here to establish feel-good habits not to follow a strict diet plan. However, if you wish, you can access a 5-day mix and match Mediterranean diet plan by clicking here: www.olivetomato.com/authentic-mediterranean-diet-meal-plan
  7. You are expected to honor your hunger, you should be eating when you are hungry, but also honoring your fullness. In other words, according to Mediterranean tradition, food is consumed 3 times a day (not every 2 hours). Main meals are consumed when you reach a point where you have a healthy hunger and can enjoy your food.


As I mentioned, this is not about difficult to find ingredients, but here is a basic list of  foods to have on hand:

  • Vegetables (seasonal is best)-Make sure you also include leafy greens
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil (make sure to get the freshest you can find- for buying tips click here: www.olivetomato.com/how-to-buy-good-olive-oil)
  • Beans (dry and canned)
  • Crushed Tomatoes and Tomato Paste
  • Fruit
  • Whole grain bread
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Feta Cheese, Parmesan, Ricotta
  • Eggs

For a comprehensive shopping list click here: www.olivetomato.com/the-complete-mediterranean-diet-food-shopping-list

Here on olivetomato.com you can find guidance and information on the authentic Mediterranean diet and lifestyle and @greekdiet on instagram.

*If you like please share your accomplishments, suggestions, tips, experiences on the site in the comments or on social media , I’ll be using the hashtag #21daymeddiet.

Looking forward to connecting with you. If you have questions or concerns please let me know!

Yia sas!


See you tomorrow!

Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

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  • Reply Susan January 12, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Hello Elena,

    My question is breakfast. I would like to have fruit in the morning like (fit for life book). You mention yogurt for breakfast but I get headaches and can’t stand the taste. So what about all fruit in the morning. If not, what about nuts with it. I don’t like cheese and fruit together, plus it messes my stomach up.

  • Reply Marie January 25, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    What brand of olive oil do you use?

  • Reply Teresa January 11, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve joined the 21 day challenge on 1/11 and trying to go back and start at day 1, but I don’t see any type of meal plan, just a grocery list – any recommendations on how to get started?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 11, 2021 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Teresa!
      Welcome! This challenge is not a strict diet plan but a series of mini-challenges to establish healthy Mediterranean diet habits. I do include links and suggestions for recipes.

  • Reply Lorraine January 7, 2021 at 12:02 am

    I have recently been diagnosed with Stage 3 CKD. Unfortunately l must limit vegetables and fruits or any product with Potassium Phopherous. I am really limited and would find this difficult. Can you help with any ideas on how l could do this without damaging my Kidneys further.

  • Reply Cynthia McKeith January 6, 2021 at 6:10 am

    Day 1 post: https://www.olivetomato.com/21-day-mediterranean-diet-challenge-day1/#more-13830

  • Reply KAREN January 5, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    I meant is this diet good for weight loss. Seems like carbs are included. Also, is there a calorie limit or setting size .Thanks

  • Reply Amy January 5, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    Is it possible to get the recipe for the food pictured in the confirmation email that came when I signed up for the 21 day challenge? I believe its a flatbread with veggies and white beans. It looks delicious! Thank you!!

  • Reply Sylvie January 5, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    May I suggest you buy Elena’s book? I preordered and received it shortly after Christmas. The recipes are easy and delicious. The book also contains loads of information about the diet. My husband and I were predominantly vegan last year and decided to try this approach. I feel it is a better fit for us. We are in out late 60s and very happy we purchased her book.

  • Reply KAREN January 5, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    is this dirt good for weight loss. Seems like carbs are included. Also, is there a calorie limit or setting size .Thanks

  • Reply Muriel Burroughs January 5, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    I am a day late. This is 1/5/21 and day 1 for me. Breakfast was 1 scrambled egg (I tsp evoo)over a bed of raw spinach (did not have tomatoes) and blueberries. I am vegetarian so I think I can adapt this diet easily.
    Thank you

  • Reply Katie January 5, 2021 at 9:45 am

    I’m currently dairy free because I’m breastfeeding and my infant has a dairy intolerance. Do you have any suggestions as to what would make appropriate substitutions?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 5, 2021 at 10:02 am

      Hi Katie, Most recipes have cheese as an accompaniment so you can omit it completely.There are no dairy alternatives (soy milk etc. ) in the traditional Mediterranean diet, and milk is not generally consumed, however the diet fullfills your protein and calcium needs without dairy. In fact traditionally in the Greek diet (the prototype of the Mediterranean diet) did not consume dairy for over 180 days a year due to religious purposes, this diet was studied and found no deficiencies.

  • Reply Rachel January 5, 2021 at 3:44 am

    Day one down!

  • Reply Paula Haig January 5, 2021 at 3:09 am

    Where will I find the recipes?

  • Reply Margie January 5, 2021 at 1:46 am

    Breakfast: plain yogurt, an orange, few walnuts
    Lunch: Fakes (your recipe, oh my gosh soooo good) drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar and tiny bit of feta, tabbouleh, an apple
    Dinner: a little of tabbouleh, that was a large lunch for me, I usually skip lunch, so I wasn’t hungry, but I had just a small amount so I wouldn’t wake up hungry and eat cookies!

    Fluids: green tea, peppermint tea, water, and a diet 7-UP (yikes)

    That didn’t seem like enough greens so I plan to add spinach tomorrow. Real Greek feta and yogurt aren’t available to me so I’m using the best quality not Greek versions that are available.

  • Reply Dawn SCHNEIR January 4, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    I am not usually hungry at lunchtime because of medication. Any suggestions?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 4, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Dawn, In the traditional Mediterranean diet lunch is a little later around 2 pm. Perhaps you can adjust the timing of your meals according to your medications?

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