Living the Mediterranean Diet
I am a huge fan of the “Mediterranean diet.” It always scores high for heart health and diabetes management, and those are the exact two things we need to be most concerned with. When experts study the Mediterranean diet they inevitably point out that it’s effectiveness is partly due to the fact that it’s easy to follow. Often studies of a particular diet plan – low carb, for instance – are confounded by the number of participants that drop out of the study when they’re unable to stick to rigid rules or limited food choices. The Mediterranean diet offers a huge variety of foods, and is defined mostly by which food groups are emphasized – virtually nothing is eliminated. In fact, the Mediterranean diet isn’t really a “diet” as we tend to think of the word diet. It’s actually a general eating pattern. I’m not going to dwell on the eating plan in this post – search “Mediterranean” on type2diabetes.com for a variety of excellent articles, or watch my video from last year.
My Mediterranean diet experience in Israel
Instead, I want to tell you about my recent Mediterranean diet experience – the breakfast buffets at our hotels on a trip to Israel. Now, many of us have experienced a variety of hotel breakfast buffets, some skimpy and some grand. But, through the eyes of a dietitian, most breakfast buffets in the U.S. are an impressive display of saturated fat and sweetened dough with an orange or grapefruit thrown in for good measure. I feel fortunate if I can find an envelope of plain oatmeal and hot water.
The breakfast buffets in Israel put me in this wonderful place my southern husband calls “hog heaven,” although there were no hogs included or, for that matter, cows or chickens. These fabulous displays of the Mediterranean diet focused on selections of smoked fish, whole grain breads, yogurt, cheeses, fruits (pomegranate was prominent), nuts, and VEGETABLES. Each location had a setup much like a salad bar, with vegetables and legumes of all kinds.
Make the healthy choice the easy choice
The most striking thing to me, however, was how easy it is to eat in this pattern when these are the foods of choice. In other words, when healthier foods are delicious and satisfying, nobody left the buffet griping because there was no waffle station. And, if we stock our homes with delicious healthier foods we won’t be griping about what’s missing either. That really is the magic of the Mediterranean diet, and it was wonderful to experience it so fully.
How stressed out do you feel today?