Get Started on the Mediterranean Diet

How You Can Get Started on the Mediterranean Diet

Advice on how to get started on this life-saving way of eating

Contributor: Leslie Cho, MD

As an interventional cardiologist who specializes in prevention, I’m often asked by patients, friends and family which diet will best prevent heart disease.

There’s been much hype and fanfare surrounding various diets, but the diet that has consistently shown benefit in randomized control studies is the Mediterranean diet. It’s been shown to reduce heart attack and stroke as well as lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits found in southern Italy and Greece in the early 1960s. It focuses on plant-based foods – heavy on vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, olive oil and some amount of nuts.

But what does that really mean, and how much of these should we be eating? We can all agree that even too much of good thing is bad. So here’s some helpful advice about how to follow the Mediterranean diet as studied in clinical trials:

  • Vegetables: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cooked or 1 cup of raw vegetables.
  • Fruits: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 to 1 cup.
  • Olive oil: One tablespoon a day, but no more than four tablespoons a day. This includes your cooking oil.
  • Legumes: Three servings a week of beans, peas, alfalfa, peanuts, etc.
  • Fish: Three servings a week. The smellier the fish are, the better, because smelly fish contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Smart choices include salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.
  • Nuts: Three servings a week. One serving equals 1/4 cup, one ounce or two tablespoons of nut butter. Ideally, go for raw, unsalted and dry-roasted walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.
  • Starches: Three to six servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cup cooked, one slice of bread or one ounce of dry cereal. Choose whole grains, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and red skin or sweet potatoes.
  • White meat: Three three-ounce servings a week. Choose skinless poultry, which includes choices such as chicken, turkey, pheasants and ostrich instead of red meat. You should have no more than one serving, meaning three ounces, of red meat a week. Choose lean cuts such as sirloin, tenderloin or flank steak if you have to have red meat.
  • Dairy/eggs: Three servings a week. Choose 1 percent or fat-free milk, yogurt or cottage cheese. There are no limits on egg whites.
  • Desserts: One three-ounce serving a week. If possible, let fruit be your dessert. If you have to eat baked goods, choose one with healthy ingredients, and eat smaller portions.
  • Wine: Four to six ounces a day. No beer or hard liquor; drinking wine is optional. Don’t start drinking if you’ve never drank before. There is no good data that taking up alcohol will prevent heart disease.

The first thing people notice about this diet is the limit on fish, nuts, meat and dairy to only three servings a week – not every day. Also, notice the lack of animal fat. In this diet, meat is an accent and not a centerpiece, of your meal.

Finally, eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Enjoy your food, eat what’s good for you in moderation and remember the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

More information

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/10/can-get-started-mediterranean-diet/?utm_campaign

 

Recipe: Zesty Bean Salad

cleveland zesty bean dish

Cleveland Clinic
@ClevelandClinic

A diet loaded with plant-based foods, such as this tasty dish, can help you feel fuller for longer and stay at a healthy weight.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including beans, is linked with a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and colon cancer. It’s unclear yet which components protect the most against cancer, so enjoy a variety of whole foods naturally rich in nutrients.

Eating a diet loaded with these plant-based foods, such as this tasty dish, can help you stay at a healthy weight. Fill at least two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or your favorite beans)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh or frozen edamame
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or your favorite flavor-infused oil – try garlic or ginger!)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup chopped shallots or red onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic (or more to taste)
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup grated cucumbers
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers (choose a variety of colors)
Handful of chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. The longer it sits, the better it will taste!
  2. Serve as-is or over field greens.

Nutritional information per serving

Makes 8 servings

Calories 206
Total fat 6g
Saturated fat 0.8g
Fiber 7g
Sugar 5.6g
Protein 10g
Sodium 154.8mg
Calcium 68mg
Magnesium 61.3m
Potassium 519mg

Recipe: Zesty Bean Salad

cleveland zesty bean dish

Cleveland Clinic
@ClevelandClinic

A diet loaded with plant-based foods, such as this tasty dish, can help you feel fuller for longer and stay at a healthy weight.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including beans, is linked with a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and colon cancer. It’s unclear yet which components protect the most against cancer, so enjoy a variety of whole foods naturally rich in nutrients.

Eating a diet loaded with these plant-based foods, such as this tasty dish, can help you stay at a healthy weight. Fill at least two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or your favorite beans)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh or frozen edamame
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or your favorite flavor-infused oil – try garlic or ginger!)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup chopped shallots or red onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic (or more to taste)
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup grated cucumbers
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers (choose a variety of colors)
Handful of chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. The longer it sits, the better it will taste!
  2. Serve as-is or over field greens.

Nutritional information per serving

Makes 8 servings

Calories 206
Total fat 6g
Saturated fat 0.8g
Fiber 7g
Sugar 5.6g
Protein 10g
Sodium 154.8mg
Calcium 68mg
Magnesium 61.3m
Potassium 519mg

Mediterranean Style Potato & Greens Salad

Ingredients

100g baby/new season potatoes (or 2cm cubed Roosters)

½ fennel bulb, finely sliced

1 small courgette

50g cook lentils

30g pomegranate seeds

10 green beans, topped and tailed

10g sunflower seeds

For the dressing:

2tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

½ tsp dill

1tsp chopped parsley

Method

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, drain and once cool enough to handle cut in half. Place into a mixing bowl.  Cook the green beans in the potato water until tender and place into the bowl.

Take a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of courgette and place into the bowl.

Add the finely sliced fennel, cooked lentils and pomegranate seeds.

Make the dressing by simply mixing all the ingredients together and pour over the salad. Mix well and serve with a scattering of sunflower seeds.

Prep in:20 mins
Cook in:10 mins
Serves:2
Per Serving %RI
Energy (Kcal) 226 11%
Energy (KJ) 940 11%
Fat 14g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Total Sugars 5g 5%
Salt 0.3g 5%

https://potato.ie/recipes/mediterranean-potato-greens-salad/

 

Expand your plant-food menu options with this tasty wrap.

cleveland veggie wrap

Expand your plant-food menu options with this tasty wrap. Collard greens replace the traditional flour-based wrap and are stuffed with fresh corn, tomatoes and peppers. Each wrap is topped with a zesty rice blend. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber, they’re perfect for a quick, healthy meal!

Ingredients

1 cup cooked brown rice
½ cup fresh corn kernels
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large collard greens, Swiss chard, or cabbage leaves, stems trimmed
2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Hot sauce to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the rice, corn, cilantro, yogurt, lime juice and salt.
  2. Lay the collard green leaves flat on your work surface. Dividing evenly, layer the tomatoes, avocado and bell pepper in the center of each leaf, leaving a border all the way around.
  3. Top each leaf with the rice mixture. Add a few dashes of hot sauce.
  4. Roll up like a burrito.

Nutrition information

Makes 4 servings

Per serving:

185 calories
Total fat 8.2g
Saturated fat 1.2g
Protein 4.5g
Carbohydrate 26.4g
Dietary fiber 6.2g
Sugar 5.3g
Added sugar 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 110mg

Recipe developed by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness

Recipe: Southwestern All-Veggie Wraps

 

Expand your plant-food menu options with this tasty wrap.

cleveland veggie wrap

Expand your plant-food menu options with this tasty wrap. Collard greens replace the traditional flour-based wrap and are stuffed with fresh corn, tomatoes and peppers. Each wrap is topped with a zesty rice blend. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber, they’re perfect for a quick, healthy meal!

Ingredients

1 cup cooked brown rice
½ cup fresh corn kernels
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large collard greens, Swiss chard, or cabbage leaves, stems trimmed
2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Hot sauce to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the rice, corn, cilantro, yogurt, lime juice and salt.
  2. Lay the collard green leaves flat on your work surface. Dividing evenly, layer the tomatoes, avocado and bell pepper in the center of each leaf, leaving a border all the way around.
  3. Top each leaf with the rice mixture. Add a few dashes of hot sauce.
  4. Roll up like a burrito.

Nutrition information

Makes 4 servings

Per serving:

185 calories
Total fat 8.2g
Saturated fat 1.2g
Protein 4.5g
Carbohydrate 26.4g
Dietary fiber 6.2g
Sugar 5.3g
Added sugar 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 110mg

Recipe developed by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness

Recipe: Southwestern All-Veggie Wraps