I really dislike dieting; not only is the process restrictive, but it usually means tiny portions of boring, bland foods. With so much focus on being told “what” and “when” to eat to achieve a short-term goal, instead of listening to what your body really needs over the long haul, it’s no wonder that most diets fail to keep the weight off.
That’s one reason why I like the philosophy behind the Mediterranean Diet; it’s not a “diet“ per se, but instead a healthy-eating lifestyle that promotes fresh and flavorful foods with long-term health benefits. A reduced risk for cardiovascular disease has long been touted as a perk of following this approach to eating, but new research, as reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2013), the Mediterranean diet can help middle-age women increase their lifespan, avoid physical and cognitive impairments, and reduce the risk for other chronic illness common in older age.
Inspired by the traditional dishes of Greece, Crete, Southern Italy and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, this life-long eating plan centers around an abundance of plant-based foods. In addition to nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, a variety of whole grains along with legumes and nuts are consumed. Lean proteins are eaten mindfully (and with a close proximity to the sea, fish and seafood are popular) and healthy fats, primarily olive oil, are allowed in moderation. You typically won’t see heavy sauces, crusts or fried foods in this diet and salt is swapped out for aromatic and flavorful spices. In fact, spices are such an integral part of cooking in this part of the world; they are actually a part of the Mediterranean Food Pyramid. Litehouse Food’s line of Instantly Fresh Herbs is a convenient way to prep your pantry for dressing, marinating, grilling and sautéing the Mediterranean way!
My recipe for Fennel, Carrot and Olive Salad makes me feel like I’m with friends enjoying a lovely al fresco dinner overlooking the sea in Italy’s Cinque Terre region. If this fantasy were true, I know I would have worked up quite an appetite quite hiking about all day and would be ready to sit down and relax with a glass of red wine and good company – yes, exercise, friendship and even red wine are all approved, and even encouraged, in this good-for-you, almost too-good-to-be-true lifestyle! In honor of a healthy, long and productive life, I tip my wine glass to you and suggest you to top off this delicious, nutritious salad with Litehouse Food’s Red Wine Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Enjoy!