Mediterranean diet: Where do I start?
Posted on February 26 2020
Whether you were advised to start the Mediterranean diet or simply want a change. The Mediterranean diet is a clean way of eating that is not hard to adapt to.
First thing you do when considering a change to the Mediterranean diet is to think “close to the sea”. You are going to incorporate more wild fish and seafood into your diet while limiting red meats.
Chicken and pork can be eaten in moderation.
Another thing to keep in mind is “keep it fresh” If something you are considering, has been altered or made in a factory - stay away from it.
Know the basics
Eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes and extra virgin olive oil.
Eat in moderation: Lean proteins including fish and some poultry
Eat less: Red Meats alcohol and Sweets (sweets should be eliminated if possible)
Add some flavor: Use lite salt sparingly and use more fresh herbs, citruses, garlic, and dried spices.
Here is a great fish recipe that is super easy and satisfying.
Seared Salmon over Zoodles
2- (4-6)-ounce Salmon portions
2-4 sprigs fresh Thyme
Olive oil Cooking spray
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 cloves garlic - minced
2- Large Zucchini (or 4 med) - *see instructions below on how to make the Zoodles- (zucchini noodles)
Zest from 1 lemon + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Note: Feel free to add any additional veggies to this dish. For example, Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, carrot shreds etc.… all will work very well with this recipe.
Preheat oven to 325
For the Salmon:
Pat salmon dry with paper towels; Season with salt and pepper.
Spray a medium sized oven safe pan liberally with cooking spray.
Get pan nice and hot on the stovetop over med-high heat.
Add salmon and 2 sprigs of the thyme.
Sear both sides until golden. (should take approx. 2 mins per side to get them nice and golden)
Place pan seared fish in oven for 3-4 mins.
For the Zoodles:
In a large skillet, heat EVOO over medium heat.
Add garlic, sauté for 3 mins.
Add your Zoodles. (and any additional veggies) Cook just until noodles soften, about 2 minutes.
Add lemon zest, lemon juice salt and pepper.
Optional: Garnish with thyme
Do ahead- To make Zoodles using a julienne peeler or large grate - cheese grater
Trim off both ends.
If using a julienne peeler run the peeler lengthwise across the zucchini to create long strips
If using the cheese grater run the zucchini lengthwise down the grater blades. Use caution when you get down to the end as to not run your knuckles on the blades.
Add Zoodles as instructed in recipe above
Olive oil is another biggie when it comes to the Mediterranean diet.
Swapping out canola oil, butters & margarines for extra virgin olive oil will be another major change that you’re going to want to do while on the Mediterranean diet.
You can also try this delicious substitute in place of butter and margarine
Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Spread
Here’s how to prepare it.
Slice off the top of each head of garlic drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top. Wrap entire head of garlic in foil and bake for 45 mins until browned and soft.
Squeeze 3-4 cloves of the oven roasted garlic into small bowl add 1tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir well to incorporate.
Try this roasted garlic spread on sliced bread, toast, crackers in mashed cauliflower, mixed into steamed broccoli, over broiled chicken breasts etc.…
Tip: Roast a couple heads at a time so you can always have them on hand. Roasting the garlic makes the flavor milder and therefore can be eaten at any meal.
Another great substitution is avocado. Simply mash up the avocado and spread it on a slice of whole grain bread to have with your morning eggs and fruit. It is so good that you won’t even miss the butter.
Having trouble keeping your Avocado fresh between uses? You might be surprised to know that avocado freezes very well.
Follow these steps for a do-ahead, avocado spread.
Cut avocados in half lengthwise
Scoop out flesh
Mash with a fork
Add ½ tsp lemon or lime juice per avocado (this helps to keep it from browning)
Divide amongst individual Ziplock bags or spoon into ice cube trays. (if using ice cube trays - once frozen dump them into a Ziplock bag)
Store in freezer for up to 6 months
Defrost as many servings as you need, in fridge overnight
Should you exercise while on the Mediterranean diet?
As with any diet, exercise is key. Be sure to get in whatever exercise you can throughout the day. Simple things like adding in an afternoon walk around the office; taking the elevator instead of the stairs or parking further away, all help you get in more steps throughout the day.
Tip: Try setting aside time for a couple’s exercise routine that you can do with your partner. It can make exercising more fun and may make you more eager to do it. Who knows…it may just lead to another form of exercise?
Can supplements be taken while on the Mediterranean diet?
Yes. You can continue to take your supplements as usual just be sure to read the labels and know what is in your supplements. A good example is this natural Collagen +Vitamin C by Glamour Nutrition. This product is Sugar free, Gluten Free & Fat Free. It also contains
- No Artificial Colors
- No Artificial Flavors
- No Artificial Sweeteners
Glamour Collagen plays a major role in the health and repair of hair, nails, ligaments and skin. When consumed daily, collagen supplements give the body all the amino acids it needs to regenerate healthy connective tissue. Collagen is also known to aid gut regulation & digestion, support weight management, and impact detoxification.
The first steps to any new diet, is simply, getting started. Do your research, clean out your cabinets and go shopping. Don’t forget to park further away and spend a little extra time in the produce section, exploring all the possibilities.
Always consult with your health care professional before starting any new diet.