What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
How to truly embrace and live the Mediterranean Lifestyle
My journey on the Mediterranean Diet began several years ago when I first looked towards the Mediterranean and my family’s ancestral home for the secret to health and longevity. I was in my 20’s, well over 300 pounds and felt horrible in every imaginable way yet everyone in my grandmother’s generation were living and I mean living; excellent health, full of energy, happy and strong, into their far 90’s and beyond!
How could this be? What’s their secret?
These are the questions that started my quest. And it has been a wonderful journey through the foods of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Greece; I lost 100 pounds and greatly improved my health.
This is where I found myself at the end of 2013, having come so far but with much still to do. My personal goal is 190/195 pounds so I was left with a good 30 pounds to go. This is when I began to embrace the idea of going from just the Mediterranean Diet into the Mediterranean Lifestyle.
What Does The Mediterranean Diet Mean
The key is to go back to the beginning and really look at what the word diet means. The word has both Ancient Greek and Latin roots, diaeta and diaita, which basically mean “daily routine” or “way of life.” I realized this was the key to taking my Mediterranean Diet to the next level. I came to understand that I could no longer see it as a “diet” in the American sense of restrictive food rules for weight loss but I must embrace it and make it the Mediterranean Lifestyle – something that touches every aspect of my life; Body, Mind & Spirit. Being the Nerd/Geek I am I wrote a bunch of posts on the technical “how to” of living the Mediterranean Lifestyle. You can check out some of those articles here, here, here and here. A great place to start is The 4 Pillars of the Mediterranean Lifestyle post. To paraphrase Einstein I think the true hallmark of really understanding a complex advanced idea is to be able to break it down and explain it in its simplest parts. So I have boiled down the essence of the Mediterranean Diet into a simple phrase that I take with me and use as a personal philosophy on life.
The Mediterranean “Un”-Diet
- Count Your Blessings and Be Thankful for all the Good in Life
- Be Mindful Of and Appreciative Towards the World Around Me
- Live With an Abundance Mentality
- Be Happy, Joyful and Stress-Free
- Que Sera, Sera what will be will be. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Trust in God. The Serenity Prayer.
- Truly Natural God Made Whole Foods
- “200 Year Foods” if it wasn’t food 200 years ago I won’t eat it now
- Produce = Fresh, Local, Organic
- Grass-fed, Free-range, Antibiotic-free, Hormone-free Meats, Eggs & Dairy
- Primary Fat = Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Secondary Fat = Grass-fed Butter
Not Too Much
- EAT SLOWLY
- EAT ONLY UNTIL 80% FULL
- EAT SLOWLY & SAVOR EVERY BITE
- I serve myself half of what I want at each serving and ONLY go back for more IF I’m truly still hungry
- Restaurants: Either split an entree or ask for a “to go” box as soon as food comes and move half of entree to box and slowly enjoy what’s left
- Portion Control – Eat small amounts of different things, small amounts of food on small dishes
- Compensations = Balance
- For Every Indulgence There Is A Compensation (Weekly Scale)
- 70% of Diet Plant Based
- No More Than 20% Meat
- Based on a weekly average
Make Every Calorie Count
- God Created My Body & Soul, I Am Responsible For Taking Care Of Them
- I Eat Only The Highest Quality, Best Foods & Beverages
- I Eat Only Natural True Foods
- I Eat Slowly & Savor Every Bite
- I’m A Food Snob & A Very Discriminating Eater
- Every Indulgence Is “Worth It”
- Better To Go Without Than Accept Inferior
- NEAT is the Foundation of my Movement Plans. The Slow Burn all day long
- Very Active Lifestyle, Always Moving
- Avoid Sitting More Than 1 Hour
- Take the Long Way, take the stairs, park far away, be inefficient by getting up to get things more often
- Walk As Much As Possible
- Occasional Formal Exercise
That’s my very personal breakdown and interpretation of a very simple philosophy that encompasses what it truly means to live as a Mediterranean. The Mediterranean’s and those who live in the same traditional way are some of the healthiest, happiest, and longest lived people on the planet. We have much to learn from them and I want to be at the front of the class.