The Mediterranean Diet has long been praised for being one of the healthiest and most sustainable diets. The countries in this area, especially Ikaria in Greece, and Sardinia, Italy, are in what is called a Blue Zone. Blue Zones are found throughout the world and indicate the healthiest and longest living populations. They not only live to age 90 and up, but their quality of life doesn’t diminish as drastically. I can write a future post on the aspects of Blue Zones, comment below!
As a future health coach, the Mediterranean way of eating is my favorite guideline to follow when introducing some different ways to crowd out some unhealthy foods my clients may be eating. Picture healthy fats, Gluten-Free whole grains, and throw in tons of color and flavor!
1) Dandelion Greens. You may have seen these in bunches at your local grocery store. If you are already eating salads a few times a week, add in these greens! They pack a powerful nutritional punch and are anti-inflammatory. If you are a green juicer, or would like to be, add these in with your kale, cucumber, celery and throw in some parsley or a green apple.
2) Olives and Olive oil. I think at this point everyone knows “EVOO” is a healthy fat great for your skin, brain & heart. Eating the actual olives however give you access to the fiber as well as the monounsaturated fats. Olives and their oil also have the power to turn white fat on your body into the “good” brown fat that is metabolically active and can burn calories, reducing visceral fat.
3) Artichokes. If you don’t want to deal with the process of cooking these. You can easily get some artichoke hearts in a jar. Look for the ones in water instead of oil. This rule of thumb is for most everything as you will want to add your own fat to your foods rather than getting it from the jars or cans. Artichokes are a great source of inulin, a pre-biotic fiber. Prebiotics feed the good probiotics in your gut!
4) Radicchio. The same pigment that makes blueberries blue, anthocyanins, are in radicchio and several other colorful vegetables. They are known to repair cell damage and are considered brain-food. They do have a bitter flavor, so roasting or thinly slicing them can reduce this and bring out the sweetness.
5) Fish! Salmon and white fish like Cod are great. But more importantly I’m focusing on the little guys. I am still working on incorporating these into my diet: Mackerel, Anchovies and Sardines. I know I know…. But they are extremely good for your health, contain tons of minerals like calcium, magnesium and selenium. Comment below if you’d like some recipes!
6) Cheese! Specifically hard, aged cheeses from goats and sheep. Pecorino Romano, aged parmesan, Manchego, Roquefort, Feta, Garrotxa, Haloumi are just a few of very fine aged cheeses that lack casein that can sometimes be the cause of dairy sensitivity.
7) Garlic. Naturally an anti-fungal and great for immunity it’s a key staple in a diet. Chopping or mincing and letting it sit for about 15 mins is a great way to incorporate fresh unadulterated garlic into dressings.
8) Grains. For the purpose of this article: focusing on gluten-free grains like chickpeas, quinoa, buckwheat & wild rice are the target.
Gluten free NOT because its trendy, or “low-carb” but because a lot of gluten containing foods are sprayed with glyphosate IE Round Up by Monsanto. This is what we want to avoid! If you scroll back you can find information in my blog posts on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 produce-style to continue avoiding pesticides.
I hope this inspired you to add a couple new and fresh items to your grocery list! Subscribe and Comment below for other articles you’d like to see! Happy New Year!