The more you eat, the less flavour. The less you eat, the more flavour.
There are literally thousands of diets out there, from the 5:2 diet, the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, the Sushi diet, and even the simple calorie controlled diet. These diets can get quite complicated and the professional aficionados would love us to buy their books explaining the benefits of these diets and giving us lots of recipes that we’re probably never going to cook. As it happens I try to follow the tenants of a Mediterranean diet, simply because I like Mediterranean food. Conversely I would never follow a Sushi diet because I hate sushi and I firmly believe that raw fish is inherently unhealthy, to the point of being dangerous.
There is one basic truth about losing weight ~ eat less. The average female office worker only needs about 2,000 calories a day, and the average male about 2,500. A weight loss diet probably means a woman eating 1,500 calories a day, and a man about 2,000. There are a myriad of calorie calculators on the internet.
However, after some study of diets, nutrition, and health, I can give you some basic guidelines about what you should include and avoid in all those calories.
- Drink 3 pints of fresh clean water every day.
- Eating a little every couple of hours avoids and cures adrenal fatigue.
- Wild foods are good ~ especially healthy grains such as wild rice. Eat organic food whenever you can.
- Try not to eat processed and canned foods.
- Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is vital to our health. Apples, Banana, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Grapes, Leeks, Pears, Potato (especially potato skins), Spinach, & etc.. Avoid too much citrus fruit, it messes with the acid balance of our gut.
- Adding herbs and spices adds important phytochemicals to our food. Fresh parsley, basil, and rosemary are especially good.
- Eat grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, lamb, wild salmon, net caught ocean fish, shrimp, crab, and lobster. Avoid too much pork, (and if you eat pork make damn certain it’s properly cooked). Avoid farmed fish, (especially tilapia which is cheap whitefish), cheap chicken, bacon, and turkey. Eat shellfish at your peril.
- Don’t drink a lot of fresh milk, don’t put cream or half-and-half in your coffee, and don’t eat a lot of yogurt or cheese.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements; B4, B12, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, (and if you are a menstruating woman take Iron supplements).
- Do not ever eat anything made with modern wheat; bread, cake, cookies, pasta, tortillas…..
- Avoid too much; complex carbohydrates, caffeine, sugar, and salt.
- Don’t drink too much coffee or ordinary tea, try green tea instead.
- Don’t drink diet sodas, or use artificial sweeteners. In fact really cut down on drinking any soda at all.
- Really, really avoid too much alcohol. One bottle of red wine a week is a good limit, (or if you can’t live with that, two bottles a week). Do not regularly get buzzed, and regularly would be once a month.
You may think that’s all too damn difficult, and probably expensive. Well, it takes effort to follow any guidelines, and good organic food carries a price premium, but really, how much is a healthier and longer life worth to you?
Good food begins and ends with good talk.
Some say that a Mediterranean diet is good for you. And, that if you eat a mostly Mediterranean diet you’ll be healthier and live longer. All I know is that you should always have a really good extra virgin olive oil.
From Greece, tzatziki is basically a mixture of yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, garlic, and mint, and you can buy it from your local store, or you can even make your own. The Bojon Gourmet has this nice little farro and cucumber salad with feta, dill, and mint that not only would be nice with some tzatziki, but also combines its flavours. Both would go nicely with some grilled goat.
Farro and Cucumber Salad with Feta, Dill, and Mint
And now, from Heidi at foodiecrush we have this outrageous herbacious Mediterranean chickpea salad. (I had to include this just for the name of the dish.)
Outrageous Herbacious Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
From Heather Christo this week we have Mediterranean pasta with grilled swordfish, lemons and gremolata. Gremolata is also dead easy to make for yourself. (I love grilled swordfish, but some say we shouldn’t buy swordfish ~ I will go on eating it, because whatever I do won’t affect how much fish the Japanese rape from the sea.) This 25 minute dish is perfect for a barbecue with the kind of friend who doesn’t expect a burned burger in a cheap bun.
Mediterranean Pasta with Grilled Swordfish, Lemons, and Gremolata
Sardines are a quintessentially Mediterranean dish, and Petra from Food Eat Love has some super taste combinations in this dish of fresh sardines, roast baby beets with whipped avocado and feta. As you’d expect it’s the beetroot that going to take the longest to cook here.
Fresh Sardines, Roast baby Beets with Whipped Avocado and Feta
This is another Mediterranean dish I love, grilled lamb kebabs, this time from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. (Do you want to know my own secret ingredient for grilling Mediterranean style? 7Up ~ when the charcoal gets too hot and the meat looks like it might burn, I sprinkle 7Up over the grill.) Tieghan’s is a half-hour dish, but one should really marinade the lamb overnight.
Mediterranean Grilled Lamb Kebabs
Dana at The Minimalist Baker has the ultimate Mediterranean bowl, looks fabulous, and it’s easy, healthy, and gluten-free. However, I would definitely add a little more extra virgin olive oil.
The Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl
Cod Cherry Tomato and Green Olive Tray Roast
get yourself a cookery book
Is there anything a Mediterranean Diet can’t cure?
Specifically, I wonder if a Mediterranean diet can help to cure this terrible head-cold I’ve suddenly contracted? Or more likely stop me from catching a cold in the first place? Well yes it could ~ but only if I really upped the amount of raw garlic I eat.
A diet rich in oily fish, fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic and nuts protects our bodies and our brains, especially as we get older. However, to get the most benefit from a Mediterranean diet we also need to cut down on alcohol ~ one drink a day for women, (try not to spill it, and drink red wine, not white), and one or two drinks a day for men. Lucky for me I don’t drink at all these days. But, a glass of red wine every day is actually very good for you.
It isn’t only the Mediterranean peoples who ate that type of diet, the Vikings did too, and nobody ever accused a viking of being a sickly wuss.
Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food. ~ Hippocrates
People from the Mediterranean region have longer life expectancies and are generally healthier than people from Northern Europe and the United States of America. The United Kingdom ranks 19th and the USA 31st in terms of average life expectancy, (out of 183 counties listed).
People from around the sunny Mediterranean have lower risks of suffering; Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, colitis, depression, heart diseases, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, and strokes. Trust me, you do not want to get type 2 diabetes, and you really, really, don’t want to have a stroke.
A proper Mediterranean diet isn’t all baguettes, pizza, pasta, and roasted lamb with lots of herbs. A healthy Mediterranean diet consists of the region’s fruits, vegetables, (especially leafy greens like spinach), seafood, olive oil, cheese, and a couple of glasses of a robust red wine. These are all anti-inflammatory foods.
But you also need to add a lot of fresh air, sunshine, and lots of physical activity to the mixture to obtain the most benefits. If you are not already doing so, then you should walk 10,000 steps a day, both to improve your health and help prevent an early death.
Modern scientific evidence suggests that many, (some), of the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet accrue directly from all the good olive oil included in just about every recipe, dish, meal eaten around the Mare Nostrum.
Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs), which are supposed to be good for you ~ at least the Mayo Clinic says that MUFAs are good for you. In fact the well-respected Mayo Clinic says that olive oil is good for you ~ in moderation.
So; your Mediterranean diet should include;
- The very best extra virgin olive oil you can get. Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on Earth. Only ever buy extra virgin olive oil.
- Fresh fish. The oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, pilchards, and sardines are full of vitamins D, B, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium. Eating oily fish a couple of times a week is said to help prevent; arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, prostate cancer, schizophrenia, and blindness / impaired vision.
- Green fruits and vegetables. It seems that eating green plant stuff can reduce the risk of cancer, helps maintain strong bones and good teeth, and promotes the health of your eyesight in your senior years. Popeye was right all along, spinach is good for you ~ and so are kale and dandelion leaves.
- Garlic. Everyone knows that Mediterranean people eat a lot of garlic. The Ancient Egyptians used garlic as a medicine. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed a hell of a lot of garlic. The health benefits of garlic include; fighting off allergies, keeping bacterial and viral infections at bay, improving your skin, prevents colds and sore throats, reduces the risk of thrombosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, reduces cancer risks, helps beat anaemia, and improves your sex life, (if she can stand the smell). If you can manage it, eat raw garlic, especially if you have dental problems.
- Nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are good for your heart. It seems nuts and seeds contain lots of unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols, fibre, vitamin E, and something called L-arginine. Allegedly L-arginine does wonders for your sex life.
- A glass of a robust red wine, (when I was drinking I would always choose an Italian red). The health benefits of red wine were known as far back as the ancient Egyptians. It seems a regular glass of red wine boosts heart health, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, helps reduce he risks of type 2 diabetes, stops you being so obese, and may prevent Alzheimer’s
However, some things about the Mediterranean lifestyle are very, very bad for you. Men from the Mediterranean coasts of; Spain, France, Corsica, Italy, Greece, (and less desirable places like Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Albania), smoke far too much, drive like maniacs in unroadworthy heaps, drive when they’re drunk, and sleep in the afternoons when they’re drunk. In medieval Hell-Holes like Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt you will just get ripped off and / or assaulted / shot / blown up.
And yet, parts of the Mediterranean are among the most beautiful, most magical, most spiritual places on this Mother Earth. Guys, take your girl there, soon and often.
I’m glad I am a woman who once danced naked in the Mediterranean Sea at Midnight. ~ Mercedes McCambridge
A Mediterranean Diet is not only good for you, it has some utterly fabulous, great tasting recipes. Mix Mediterranean with Paleo and you may well have the perfect diet for your health, fitness, well-being, and gustatory satisfaction.
get robust red wine delivered
Take Good Care Of Yourself.
It turns out that the urban myth of red meat being bad for you is true after all. Which is sad, because I do enjoy a good steak.
The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. ~ Julia Child
Eating a lot of steak, or roast beef, or burgers, or lamb, or pork increases your chances of dying from 9 major diseases by 26%, according to the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. Red meat raises the risk of death from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, a stroke, various infections, and kidney, liver, and lung diseases. (You can die from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.)
Processed red meat such as corned beef is even worse for you, as is eating offal, liver, kidneys, pate…
There is a lot of ‘bad’ stuff in red meat, including cholesterol, (although there is a lot of ‘bad’ cholesterol in other popular foods such as macaroni and cheese). As well as the fat in red meat having too much of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, (Low Density Lipoprotein), red meat also contains a lot of heme iron, and too much of that is very bad for you as well. Too much heme iron increases your chances of dying from cancer, a stroke, liver failure, or heart disease.
At the moment I am taking a daily iron supplement, because I was diagnosed with a low red blood cell count, (anemia), but when my blood count returns to normal I will stop taking iron supplements. Too much heme iron can result in haemochromatosis, which is a particularly nasty illness causing things like fatty liver, cirrhosis, and liver failure.
Luckily, regularly eating white meat, (chicken breast), and oily fish may reverse the damage caused by eating steaks. Just don’t eat the chicken skin, or processed white meat, or processed fish. In fact don’t ever eat processed meat or canned meat ~ canned food is generally very bad for your health.
We are what we eat. Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es. ~ Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
It is a scientifically proven fact that our food choices affect our health. I know that if my diet is bad ~ if I drink too much booze, have too much sugar, eat processed foods, eat out, eat ready-meals, eat too much fatty meat, then I feel bloated, lacking in energy, and I gain weight. It is also a scientifically proven fact that an unhealthy diet will significantly shorten my life.
Health is the natural condition. When sickness occurs, it is a sign that nature has gone off course because of a physical or mental imbalance. The road to health for everyone is through moderation, harmony, and a ‘sound mind in a sound body’. ~ Jostein Gaarder
Like everything else in life, our diet should be moderation in all things. When it comes to my diet, I have tried various fads, including eating only one meal a day, being vegan, and never eating carbohydrates. Now I believe that a mixture of the Paleo Diet, and the Mediterranean Diet is right for me.
Some things I try not to eat include wheat, (bread, pasta, cookies), and some other grains, (white rice), processed food, canned food, and dairy products.
I need to eat more oily fish, such as salmon. Looks like I also need to cut down on steak too. Shame, especially as I like my steak well-done, and that is really bad for my health…