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February 2019 Newsletter

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Mykonos in late February

Mediterranean Lifestyle and Self Care

We usually see the expression "New Year- New You", but do we really need to be "new"? Maybe we just need to take care of ourselves more. That can mean obvious things such as making small improvements in our habits; eating more vegetables or drinking more water or walking a few more extra steps everyday. It can also mean improving our behavior such as yelling less, being more forgiving, but it also should mean to take care of our selves and our souls.

Self care consists of activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Self care means being rested, knowing your limits, and doing things that make you feel nice. I find that in the Mediterranean, even today, there are small moments of self care evident all around you. The Mediterranean lifestyle is peppered with many examples of self care: naps, taking a lunch break and eating with other people, an afternoon coffee, a bit of gossip with friends, staying out late on a weeknight without feeling guilty. These behaviors may be considered lazy by some, especially in today's world where workaholism is an advantage and we are required to be super-productive at all times, but the truth is that these acts of self care result in more energy, less anxiety and better mood.

Here are some more self care ideas:

  1. Call a friend/relative for no reason (just to chat).
  2. On the weekends take naps on the couch.
  3. Take a coffee/tea break in the middle of the day.
  4. Incorporate foods you love in your meal plan.
  5. Start your day with what works for you: a large cup of coffee, a hot shower, a walk, you favorite morning show etc. Everyone is different.
  6. Know your limits, are you too busy? Take a moment and take a break.
  7. Have a wind down routine. That could be cooking, a glass of wine, watching your favorite sitcom, yoga etc.


The Mediterranean Diet - The Best Diet

The U.S. News World Report voted the Mediterranean Diet the Best Diet, 2nd year in a row. No surprise here, considering it has the most research supporting it (more than any other diet). I have to admit though that I find these types of lists silly, especially when we are dealing with a diet that has existed for so long and has been studied extensively.

With all this publicity that the Mediterranean Diet has gained, there are several misconceptions that have popped up. I have a addressed a few in the past, but here are a few more I encountered:
  1. The Mediterranean Diet is a heart-healthy Diet, but it is NOT a low-fat diet. However, most of the fat comes from extra virgin olive oil, which is protective not only because it is mainly monounsaturated fat, but more importantly because it is rich in antioxidants.
  2. The Mediterranean Diet is NOT a high carbohydrate diet. The diet is based on vegetables and olive oil. Bread, pasta, rice are mainly consumed as an accompaniment.
  3. The Mediterranean diet does NOT include fish or meat everyday as I see in many so-called Mediterranean diet menus. Most days are meatless and vegetable main courses are served.


The "New "Planetary Health Diet -

Not So New

A group of top scientists known as the EAT-Lancet Commission , came up with a diet that is good for the planet and good for our health. Well, a diet like that already exists, it is called the Mediterranean Diet. This new Planetary diet is identical to the Mediterranean diet. And the the Mediterranean diet has already been presented as a model and example of a sustainable diet by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). So yes it is necessary to assess the sustainability of our diet, but there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a specific eating pattern.

OK, back to the Mediterranean Diet: I have developed several Mediterranean Diet resources which are helpful if you want to follow an authentic Mediterranean Diet: Menus, Shopping Lists, Beginners Tips. Check them out below!

Have a great month!
Elena

How to Follow a Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

I’ve been asked many times to provide an authentic Mediterranean Diet meal plan, and when we say authentic, we mean it! The reason for this is that most “Mediterranean Diet” meal plans I see online are anything but. Sorry, but edamame beans, minuscule amounts of olive oil, canola oil, meat with every meal etc. are not part of a Mediterranean Diet.
Here you will find a graphic of a meal plan on the traditional Mediterranean diet, it is the same meal plan that I also follow. Under the graphic you can find details, tips and links to the recipes.

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The Complete Mediterranean Diet Food & Shopping List

The Mediterranean diet generally is not based on rare or exotic foods, nor is it about complex recipes. Most ingredients are easy to find. The original version, particularly the Greek diet which was the prototype of this now popular eating pattern, is based on simplicity. This is a plant based diet with the key components being vegetables and olive oil.
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How to Start a Mediterranean Diet in 5 Steps

The Mediterranean diet has been studied for over 60-70 years now. The diet was initially based on the traditional diet of Greece (particularly Crete) and Southern Italy circa 1960’s. While it can never be exactly replicated, you can follow a Mediterranean diet wherever you are.
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How to Lose Weight on a Mediterranean Diet - 5 Tips

You can lose weight on the Mediterranean Diet. New research coming from the now known PREDIMED study, a long-term nutritional intervention study aimed to assess the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, showed that people lost slightly more weight when following a Mediterranean diet, compared to a low-fat diet.
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The Mediterranean Diet Manifesto

As you know I am passionate about the Mediterranean diet, the diet I was raised on, but more importantly I am passionate about presenting the real Mediterranean diet as it once was and not a watered-down version of it. So I present to you the Mediterranean Diet Manifesto. Here is what we all need to know and remember to do: …
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Latest Posts

10 Delicious Mediterranean Party Dips

Here you’ll find 10 Mediterranean dips that are not only delicious, but for the most part good for you! They are either made with plenty of vegetables or beans or creamy Greek thick yogurt. And instead of serving them with chips, bring out the dips with whole grain pita, breadsticks, Greek rusks, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and cherry tomatoes.
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Greek Cabbage with Rice - Lahanorizo

Greek cuisine has a way of making almost any vegetable desirable. Even if you thought you didn’t like it, somehow, when cooked the Greek way, it manages to be something you want to eat again and again. This can be said for this traditional cabbage and rice dish.
We usually associated cabbage with coleslaw or that famous cabbage soup diet (remember that?) but here it is stewed to perfection along with rice and it is so good and comforting.
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Crispy Greek Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

I’ve always been a big fan of sheet pan meals. Just put everything in a pan, throw it in the oven and you are done. Sheet pan dishes are a fairly common way of cooking in the Greek kitchen. The classic Sunday lunch recipe of Greek chicken and potatoes is a fine example. But there are numerous Greek vegetarian dishes …
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