There are about 16 countries which border the Mediterranean Sea, therefore, the Mediterranean diet is not any one specific choice of foods. Remember amongst all these countries are many cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and religions within all the countries along the Mediterranean. The economy and the agriculture result in different Mediterranean diet plans but a similar food base.
The Mediterranean diet does have a pattern in which certain characteristics avail. One of the concerns for a lot of us is how the American Heart Association perceives any diet that we may plan on following. The following is some examples of the things that are a part of the diet.
It is up to each individual to put together a diet that you feel comfortable with. Mediterranean-style diets are very close to diets that are recommended by the American Heart Association. The major difference this diet has a high percentage of calories from fats. The fact is that heart disease is lesser in the Mediterranean area than in the United States. The death rate is lower in the Mediterranean area as well. This factor is not all the diet but you must consider that in the Mediterranean area the lifestyle factors such as physical activity and extended social support systems play an important part.
In any diet certain things must be understood and compared to what we need. It is advisable to consult your physician and start reading the food labels whenever possible. Understanding the differences in fats is essential when putting together a diet plan. In the Mediterranean diet it
calls for olive oil but you may substitute canola oil if you are not use to using olive oil. The Greek Mediterranean diet contains little of the two kinds of fat known to raise blood cholesterol levels. The two types are saturated fat and trans fat which is also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. That is why it is very important that you read the ingredients on the labels. Recipes can be altered and it is advisable to do that. In the case of fats, use canola oil. If you are not a wine drinker or prefer not to drink wine then grape juice is highly recommended. Studies have shown that drinking grape juice has the same beneficial effect as drinking wine. The seeds of the grapes are powerful free radical quenchers. Remember when you do drink wine or grape juice, do it in moderation. There are other things involved with the diet that can be substituted as well if necessary.
The Mediterranean diet is a good way to lose weight but let me recommend to you that you exercise on a regular basis; drink at least 6 glasses of water a day and a moderate consumption of wine. You can drink grape juice as it provides the same heart health benefits as red wine without the concerns of alcohol.
Now, let us look at the Mediterranean diet itself and see how we might be able to utilize it for ourselves. One of the main components recommended to eat is lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. It seems that red meat is not recommended rather substitute the red meat for fish or chicken also in moderation. A cholesterol free product means that it is good for you because they are made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. The Mediterranean diet is a good diet for people who have heart disease. Now that we have checked out the diet we can put together a meal plan. I am going to put together a mock plan for one day. I advise that you work out your plan according to your own food preferences.
My Version of The Mediterranean Diet
Whole wheat toast
Small Glass Orange juice
A glass of grape juice
Fruit mixture of melon, strawberries, apples, and peaches
Chicken Salad Vegetable salad
Consists: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, chicken breast strips with a vinaigrette salad dressing.
Hard rolls and glass of water
After Noon Snack:
Glass of water
Watermelon or other fresh fruit in season
Fish in lemon juice lightly broiled
Lettuce and Peach Salad
*Drink water daily until you have consumed at least 6 glasses.
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