This food system is the dream of gourmets of all times and peoples, truly the diet of the gods. It offers to eat only the freshest fruits and vegetables, seafood, other delicacies, exclusive chocolate and drink it all with excellent red wine. No wonder the Mediterranean diet is recognized by UNESCO as a national cultural heritage. Among its keepers are the Mediterranean countries known for their exquisite cuisine: Greece, Italy, Morocco. Later, Spain, France, Portugal, Cyprus and Croatia were also ranked among them. The Mediterranean diet has absorbed all the best that for thousands of years came up with the culinary genius of the peoples of these countries.
Its popularity in Europe and even the name of the Mediterranean diet owes American doctors Walter Willet and Ansel case. They were the first who became interested in the so-called French paradox. Its essence lies in the fact that, despite the traditional consumption of large amounts of fat, the inhabitants of the southern regions of France are much less likely to suffer from obesity and cardiovascular diseases than the population of the United States.
Willet and case managed to break the stereotypes of the mentality of Europeans, who at first were not particularly inclined to believe in the effectiveness of a rather strange in their opinion methods of weight loss. In accordance with it, you can eat carbohydrate – rich food, and generously season it with olive oil, wash down with an excellent red look, and even in addition to drinking coffee with chocolate and at the same time not only lose weight, but also improve your health.
As a result of numerous scientific studies, the effectiveness of the diet and its positive effect on the body were proved, after which conservative Europeans finally began to trust this truly unique technique. Today it is one of the most popular weight loss systems.
Traditions of Mediterranean cuisine
The Mediterranean diet is in fact a kind of quintessence of culinary habits and principles of cuisine of sixteen Mediterranean countries. Of course, they all differ in cultural, ethnic, religious and other aspects, which is reflected in the traditions of food.
However it is possible to allocate and General for all characteristics:
- The diet includes a large number of cereals, legumes, vegetables, nuts, seeds.
- Both for frying and for filling dishes olive oil is actively used Preference is given to cold pressed oil.
- Chicken, goose and ostrich meat, as well as eggs, residents of the Mediterranean region eat almost every day.
- Fish is present in the diet in moderation.
- Heavy meats (beef, pork, lamb) are also on the menu, but in rather limited quantities.
Of dairy products, preference is given to yogurt and cheese made on the basis of skimmed milk with a reduced percentage of fat. These include the famous varieties: mozzarella, feta, halumi, Safed cheese.
People in the Mediterranean countries have a special love for fruit, which is quite natural for the region, where the year-round harvest of oranges, tangerines, strawberries, etc.
And, of course, Mediterranean cuisine is famous for its delicious desserts, but sweets are not eaten very often.
Weight loss and not only
The Mediterranean diet is a truly unique system. It allows not only to lose weight, but also to achieve significant improvement of the body and improve appearance. Numerous observations and studies of experts have proved that following the rules of the Mediterranean diet leads to the following positive results:
- significantly reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular disease;
- improves metabolism, which allows you to quickly get rid of excess weight;
- normalizes blood pressure;
- strengthen bones;
- reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and diabetes;
- reduces the likelihood of cancer.
Many of these influences diet owes to the content of large amounts of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and moderate consumption of meat products. It would be a mistake, however, to single out one or more of the factors to which this system of nutrition owes its miraculous effect on the body. It is rather a complex effect.
This is a solid plus!
Speaking about the merits of the Mediterranean diet, you can simply describe it. This is a classic of the genre, the standard diet, on the basis of which you can develop new effective and safe weight loss systems:
- the diet provides the opportunity to choose from a variety of healthy dishes;
- you don’t have to count calories and measure portions every day;
- do not need to isolate yourself from society, as often happens with losing weight: Mediterranean diet dishes are in any restaurant;
- a rational combination of healthy foods helps to improve health and even prevents many serious diseases;
- following a diet develops a healthy eating habit, as a result of the dropped pounds never come back;
- due to the balanced diet has no contraindications and restrictions.
If you decide to follow the Mediterranean diet, you can forget about the tedious measuring portions and painstaking calorie counting. Convenient and simple design makes it easy to make a daily menu.
The products included in the menu are presented in the form of a pyramid. Its basis is the most commonly used. As you move to the top, the frequency of inclusion of products in the diet decreases.
The pyramid is divided into three main parts: the bottom is made up of products that need to be included in the menu daily, the middle-recommended for use from 1 to 6 times a week, and the top-those that can be consumed a maximum of 4 times during the month.
At the heart of the pyramid were the so-called “slow” carbohydrates: brown rice, millet, barley, bulgur, other grains, whole grain bread, as well as pasta from durum wheat. They are the basis of the Mediterranean diet. Meals from these products are recommended to eat up to 8 servings per day.
The second stage consists of fruits and vegetables. Daily you can eat 3 servings of fruits and 6-vegetables.
The presence of a step in the pyramid with olive oil means its use as the main source of lipids. This product contains a large amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help to improve metabolism. In addition, omega fatty acids reduce cholesterol and prevent clogging of blood vessels.
The lower third of the pyramid is completed with dairy products with a high content of calcium. They can be eaten twice a day. The clear favorites of the Mediterranean diet are low-fat fresh cheeses and dairy products without food additives. On the same step are dried fruits, olives, seeds and any nuts: they can be eaten once a day.
The base of the middle part of the pyramid is a sea fish. It should be included in the menu 5-6 times during the week, but in moderation.
The next step is poultry meat. It should be present in the diet every other day.
Root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, parsnips) are recommended to be included in the menu three times a week.
Above them are located eggs and (finally sweet tooth waited for his finest hour) chocolate and other sweets. However, it is not allowed to eat them very often, but every other day it is quite possible to afford a portion of delicious dessert.
The ” top ” of the food pyramid is in fact one product that appeared on the verge of the black list, but still did not get into it because of the amazing democracy of this food system. It’s red meat. You can eat it only four times a month, and the portion should be no more than 100 grams.
As for the quality of products, it should be at a Very High Level. If possible, they are best eaten raw. Grains are recommended to pre-soak, and meat and vegetables steamed or grilled.
Blacklist, gentlemen losing weight
Despite the loyalty of the Mediterranean food system, it involves some limitations. On the one hand, it somewhat overshadows the joy of losing weight, which finally allowed to eat almost everything. On the other hand, agree that this is a diet without restrictions? Moreover, they apply only to food products known for their “harmfulness”:
- fast food;
- any semi-finished products;
- ready-made sauces;
- refined products;
- smoked meat, pickles, marinade;
- products containing hydrogenated fats.
Salt is better to replace spices and herbs. Sodium enters the body with almost all products of plant origin. In addition, a lot of salt is contained in whey and brine cheeses, and they are at the bottom of the pyramid-so you can eat them every day.
Of course, even a dilettante in the field of nutrition is clear that to reduce weight, you need to create a deficit of calories, i.e. they should come less and spend more. Only in this case, the body will begin to use its fat reserves. How to achieve this with such a luxurious menu? Elementary: to control the size of the portion. As a measure of volume, the authors suggest using a Cup and conventional scales: convenient and simple. So, to lose weight, portions of products should be limited to the following volumes:
- fresh leafy vegetables-1 Cup;
- boiled or steamed vegetables – ½ Cup;
- grain garnish and pasta – ½ Cup;
- legumes-1 Cup;
- boiled potatoes-1 Cup;
- fruit – 1 Cup;
- nuts and seeds-1/3 Cup;
- fish – ½ Cup, or 100 grams;
- bird – ½ Cup;
- lean meat – ½ Cup
As for the composition of Breakfast, lunch and dinner, in this matter, the Mediterranean diet also remains true to its democratic principles: choose a menu to your taste, guided by the pyramid and portion sizes.
What to drink?