Wellness and Diets

A Simpleguide To Mediterranean Diet

First of all, the Mediterranean diet isn't a diet; it's a way of eating. If you are looking to lose weight by following a Mediterranean diet and implementing a few lifestyle changes, you will lose those unwanted pounds and discover a healthier way of eating.
What makes the Mediterranean diet different than other diets is that it isn't something to jump on for a few weeks before a wedding or high school reunion to drop a few pounds. The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle. Changing the way that you look at the culinary experience and how to open yourself up to new tastes and flavors.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on the consumption of high quantities of fruits and vegetables, a moderate amount of good fats found in olive oil and fatty fish, a good measure of whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and an occasional meal of red meat and poultry.

History of the Mediterranean Diet
The traditional Mediterranean diet is said to reflect the eating habits of people living Greece, Crete, and southern Italy in the early part of the 1960s. While the food was first introduced to the American public in 1975, it didn't gain mainstream recognition until the 1990s.
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet were confirmed by the Seven Countries Study, which was published in 1970. A book-length report about the study followed and was made public in 1980.By 2011, authors were acknowledging the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in weight loss, although it was considered more of a fad diet then.
Today, numerous studies have shown evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet not just in losing weight but also for overall health.

How the Mediterranean Diet Works
Various research-based studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet provides necessary nutrients which can aid the body against aging, mental illness, gut ailments, genetic complexities, skin problems, and other diseases. A group of scientists from North America studies the diet regarding its low-fat content and its possible effects. And they found that the diet has proved to be effective in preventing heart diseases and increased the average life expectancies in the studied area.

Long and Healthy Life
The Mediterranean cuisine is often referred to as the healthiest cuisine in the world, and the diet doesn't stray too far away. Because it is based mostly on fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy oils and whole grains, as well as lean meat and seafood, it's not hard to see why this diet is considered to be healthy. Mix with a glass of red wine, and you've got yourself a fun, easy-going food.
Strong Bones
Osteoporosis happens when your body is not able to heal the bones appropriately as a result of a deficiency, and much bone is lost, while very little bone is made, or both.As a result of this condition, bones become fragile and may break from a fall or in more dramatic cases, simple bumps or sneezes.
The high level of healthy fats and olive oil provides nutrients that can help with bone density. In a research printed in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, scientists studied 90,000 women with an average age of 64. The women had fewer occurrences of bone breakage and a lower rate of osteoporosis.
Healthy Heart
Scientific evidence easily connects good heart health with certain foods, mainly vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and nuts. The Mediterranean diet has it all!
The Mediterranean diet is all about highlighting healthy fats. Instead of using the usual Cooking oil, the diet uses olive oil, which contains healthy fat that is good for the heart. With that said, the Mediterranean Diet can help decrease your risk of heart failure.
A Mediterranean diet consists of food with monounsaturated fats like olive oil rather than saturated fats like butter.
The Mediterranean diet naturally includes most of the essential diet changes that would keep your heart in tip-top shape.
Weight Loss
Although the main focus of this diet is not weight loss, it will surely help with it if that's what you're looking for. Here is the point of view: fresh, clean food combined with whole grains, good fats, less sugar, and plenty of liquids coupled with copious amounts of exercise. By transitioning to healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle, you'll shed pounds without causing drastic imbalances in your body. Also, it is known that plant-based diets like the Mediterranean diet help lose weight. The mere fact that you stopped eating junk food and processed food with sugar and unhealthy fats is already a perfect start to weight loss!
High Blood Pressure
The healthy fats found in the Mediterranean Diet are probably one of the keys to the lower blood pressure rates found in people following this eating pattern. These healthier fats include the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and some nuts and the omega-3 fats found in most fish.
It is Affordable
The Mediterranean diet is accessible even if you're on a budget. Legumes, vegetables, fruits, herbs, whole grains, and olive oil are not as expensive as they sound, but they offer so much versatility in the kitchen.
Boost Brain Power
The Mediterranean Diet can also counteract the brain's reduced ability to perform. Choosing this lifestyle will help you preserve your memory, leading to an overall increase in your cognitive health.
Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and fruits like raspberries, cherries, and watermelon all have antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that affect your brain. The Mediterranean diet also tends to focus on monounsaturated fats which come from oils like olive oil. The oils and the fatty acids that you get from omega 3 (from fish) combine to keep your arteries unblocked.
That automatically increases the health of your brain and reduces your risk of getting diseases like Alzheimer disease and dementia.
Encourage Relaxation
The Mediterranean Diet surprisingly enough, can encourage relaxation. The diet can lower your levels of insulin and make you feel at ease. High blood sugar can cause you to be hyperactive and later crash; but eating balanced meals with lots of whole grains, fruits, veggies, etc. helps stabilize blood sugar, allowing you to relax and rest. Since a significant component of this lifestyle is eating with the family at the dinner table, relaxation is maximized. With a home-cooked meal in your comfort zone, relaxation will be evident with this diet.
Enhance Your Mood
The diet can help you to be positive, even when things aren't going your way. Healthy living does that. When you have eaten enough food to fuel you with lots of nutrients, your body notices. Fulfillment and productivity enhance your mood. For one, applying the diet correctly will make you feel like you're doing something good for yourself, and thus improves your overall mood.
Improve Skin Condition
Fish have Omega-3 fatty acids. They strengthen the skin membrane and make it more elastic and firmer. Olive oil, red wine, and tomatoes contain a lot of antioxidants to protect against skin damage brought about by chemical reactions and prolonged sun exposure.
Alzheimer's Disease
As we age, our brains shrink. In several studies, including one published in Neurology in 2017, researchers found that people who eat according to the Mediterranean Diet generally maintain a bigger brain size than those who don't eat this way. Some doctors speculate that having a larger brain may help lower the risk of brain diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer's.
Cardiovascular Disease
Most health care professionals agree that the Mediterranean Diet lowers the risk of heart disease, an association mentioned in Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The Mediterranean Kitchen
So, do you think you are ready for the Mediterranean Diet? Sounds good, but first, let's have a look at your kitchen.
Clean Your Kitchen Out
Now, we aren't just talking about cleanliness. While that is important since you are going to be doing a lot of cooking, make sure your kitchen is clean, and the sort of place food can be safely prepared.
Basically, clean out all the junk.
Go into your kitchen and clear out all the temptations—the junk food, the unhealthy stuff, the sweets, the sodas, and the processed food. Just get rid of it all and start with a clean slate. Not only will it take the temptation away, but it creates a perfect place to begin your Mediterranean diet experience.
Sometimes, by creating this square one approach, people are much more successful. No temptation and a full commitment to their new lifestyle.
Think of it this way: if you only have healthy food in your kitchen, then you are only going to eat healthy food.
If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with drinkable tap water, excellent. However, if you live in an area where you need to buy bottled water or use a purifier, be prepared. Always have extra water on hand for drinking and cooking. If you think you have enough on hand, then get some more. If you have a purifier, be prepared, it will always be running, especially if there are others in your household.

What To Shop For
As you start to go through recipes and learn your way through the diet, you'll have shopping lists as you head to the store for specific items. But eventually, you'll make your dishes or might want to have things on hand to eat that are Mediterranean friendly. Look for these on your shopping trip.
- Olive Oil: a staple in most recipes. Look for first pressed extra virgin oil.
- Fish—salmon, grouper, and trout are excellent. Try other types and see what you like.
- Frozen vegetables: depending on your location or the time of the year, you may have a difficult time finding fresh vegetables. So, when you are shopping for frozen, make sure to read the label and see if there are preservatives, sugar, or salt added.
- Bread and grains: look for the whole grain bread and pasta. No enriched bread!
- Sweet potatoes: the healthy starch alternative.
- Berries: Full of antioxidants stock up on blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
- Condiments: sea salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon.
- Greek yogurt: This is another staple of the diet.
- Olives: Another staple of Mediterranean cuisine.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, grapes, tomatoes.
- Vegetables: carrots, onions, spinach, kale.
- Quinoa: this is used in a large number of dishes. Check your grocery store for a bulk aisle to save money.
- Chicken: depending on the recipe, but you will be using a lot of chicken breasts.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.

Should you Buy Organic? What About Frozen?
Whenever possible, you should bring home fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. But we all know that times can be tough and grocery prices are always on the rise. Not to mention, some people live in an area where it is difficult to get fresh greens when there is snow on the ground.


To begin, organic food will not have pesticides or other chemicals used in its growing. Also, by using non-hormone treated meats, you will not be getting antibiotics. Why is this important? Well, it's about the larger picture.
Antibiotics are a significant discovery in the medical field. They have helped us save lives and shorten the amount of time people are sick. However, people can develop resistance to the drugs. So, if you are getting it in your food, when it is time for you to take it for your illness, there is a good chance it may not work for you when you need it.
Also, of concern are antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Scientists have seen numerous examples of bacteria strains that do not respond to drug treatments. This is of great interest because it means that we have little to no defense against them, and it could be the starting point of a major epidemic.
Also, by supporting organic farming, you are helping keep pollutants out of the groundwater. There is less chemical-filled water running off the plants and into the soil and below. One study showed that organic farming also uses about 50 percent less energy.

In the old days—when we were homesteading on the prairie, and life expectancy was about 30 years—freezing food was a task that brought some risk. There were issues with food getting completely frozen or only partially, or the fact that it took time and might spoil during the process.
In the early part of the 20th century, Clarence Birdseye perfected the art of flash freezing, which allowed for food to be frozen quicker at a lower temperature which kept ice crystals from freezing in the food. These crystals would often cause the food to become mushy or have a strange consistency when prepared. Birdseye's technique remedied this and changed the frozen food industry.
But we have always heard that freezing removes the nutrients. Not true. It's just an old wives' tale. The same is right with refreezing. The issue isn't the safety of nutrients; in fact, it is all about taste and texture.
So, if you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, the fact is, most likely your meal will taste better. In all honesty, nothing feels better than good, crisp, fresh food. But if you do you use frozen, it's okay.

Olive Oil
This is such a large part of the diet; we thought it deserved its section.
Not all olive oils are alike. Whenever possible, you want to use extra virgin olive oil, cold first pressed. This means that it comes from the first pressing of the olive and has no chemicals used in processing. You will also see virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, and pomace oil. These grades can include chemicals, and you should always try to get cold first pressed.
And of course, the fresher the oil, the better it tastes. Olive oil has a shelf life of about two years as long as it is appropriately handled and stored in a dark, cool place.
If you open your olive oil and it smells strange, it might have spoiled. If it smells like crayons, or bad nuts and has a peculiar greasy feel in your mouth, it's time to through it out and gets a new batch. Also, if it has a fermented smell, that's not good. That means the olives sat too long before they were pressed.
Also, if it tastes moldy or has a vinegar flavor, it's time to throw it out. There is a belief that by putting your olive oil in the refrigerator you can tell if it's pure if it solidified in the colder air. This isn't the case because all olive oils have a small number of fatty acids which will cool and harden. This is not a sign of purity of flavor.

To keep it fresh, store it in a dark, cool space out of direct sunlight. If you find you are not using as much as you think, buy it in smaller amounts to keep it fresh. Always remember to replace the cap after each pour to ensure the freshness.
In history, olive oil has been used for many things other than food and food Preparation. It's been used to create soap, lamp fuel, medicine, and skincare.
Olive oil is very high in oleic acid, which is instrumental in reducing blood pressure. It contains several antioxidants such as vitamin E, carotenoids, and oleuropein.
Olive oil has also been linked to beneficial results with many different cancers, including prostate, breast, and digestive tract.

Kitchen Tools and Utensils
Here are some kitchen tools you might want to consider adding to your kitchen.

- Wooden spoons—create a nice assortment of rounded and slotted spoons.
- Baking dishes—you are going to need several different size glass pans for your baking.
- Cast iron skillet—they take some care, but nothing looks quite like them.
- Mortar and pestle—a great way to crush up fresh herbs and spice.
- Olive Oil can—you are going to go through a lot of oil. So much so that you might want to consider buying it in bulk. You also might want to consider an olive oil can or other dispensers. Then you can refill it.
- Spice grater—this can come in very handy to grate your spices or for making zest from oranges.
- Cheese grater—Parmesan is a very popular cheese, so this may come in handy.
- Pepper grinder—need a bit of kick to the meal? Nothing beats fresh ground pepper.
- Whisks—many of the recipes call for whisking and mixing things. Make sure you have an excellent sturdy whisk.
- Rolling pin—a must-have for your Greek pastries.
- Basting brush—very handy when you want a touch of something. Also, it is a huge help when lightly greasing pans.
- Slow cooker—this comes in very handy, and there are countless Mediterranean recipes written for these appliances.
- Parchment paper—many recipes call for this to line pans, so have it well stocked.
- Sealable containers. You will end up having leftovers, and you don't want to waste them. Also, you may find you want to do meal prep in advance, so solid sealable glass or plastic containers are a must-have.

Other Staples:
Baking powder—baking powder is used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods
Vanilla extract—used in many desserts, especially baked goods like cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.
Unsweetened cocoa—when baking, you should always use unsweetened cocoa powder because it allows you to control the amount of sugar in the final product. Is often confused with sweetened cocoa powder or sweet ground chocolate.
Sea salt—created by evaporating seawater and collecting the remaining salt.
Cumin—used as a spice, also ground and used in curry powder.
Paprika—with its distinctive deep orange-red color and this spice is made from dried and ground peppers.
Garlic powder—a common seasoning it is ground, dehydrated garlic.
Chili powder ground up chili pepper, similar to cayenne.

Curry powder—a finely ground spice mixture, including turmeric, ginger, and coriander.
Ginger grew in Southeast Asia, is now widely available around the globe.
Cinnamon—a very aromatic additive it is used for a variety of dishes from entrees to desserts.
Dill—different than dill seed, it is used extensively in fish dishes and pickling.
Parsley—widely used as a garnish and topping on entrees.
Tarragon a species of the herb in the sunflower family, it is heavily used in chicken and fish recipes.
Basil—one of the main ingredients in pesto, it's flavor fades quickly with heat.
Oregano—a member of the mint family, it is a vital herb vital to regional cooking.

Dining Area
While not a part of the kitchen, it is part of the dining experience.

We get it, in the morning, you are usually trying to get out the door to work but try to sit and enjoy your breakfast if possible. Take that few minutes to be appropriately fueled, so get your mind in order as well and prepare for the day. Not a time to stress about the day but charge yourself for it.
If you are eating at work, try to get up from your desk. If it's a beautiful day, go outside. Give yourself a chance to step away from work and relax and digest your meal.
Whatever your family dining customs, sitting in front of the television eating off a TV tray, or your lap shouldn't be one of them. Enjoy the experience. Show it some respect. Gather around the table with your family and enjoy the meal and each other.
Keep your eating area clean and organized. It should be a place of comfort.

The Mediterranean Diet Food List
A s you have seen in the chapter above, the Mediterranean diet is very beneficial. That said, it is tough for you to experience any of the benefits that you have just learned without following the diet to the latter. One way of doing that is by eating what the diet allows and avoiding what the diet prohibits you to eat. Let's get started.

What You Can Eat
The foods you can eat while you are on a Mediterranean diet fall into two categories. There are those foods that you can eat regularly, and there are those that you should only eat in moderation. Here is an extensive list of both categories.

Foods to Eat Regularly
Healthy fats like avocado oil, avocados, olives, and extra virgin olive oil

Fruits like peaches, figs, melons, dates, bananas, strawberries, grapes, pears, oranges, and apples. Note that you can eat most fruits while on this diet.
Vegetables like cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, artichoke, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, onions, spinach, kale, broccoli, and tomatoes. Those are just famous examples, but basically, all vegetables are allowed in the Mediterranean diet.
Whole grains like pasta, whole wheat, whole grain bread, corn, buckwheat, barley, rye, brown rice, and whole oats.
Nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts
Herbs and spices; the best herbs and spices are mostly fresh and dried like mint, rosemary, cinnamon, basil, and pepper.
Tubers like sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, and potatoes.
Legumes like chickpeas, peanuts, pulses, lentils, peas, and beans.
Fish and seafood, which are your primary source of protein. Good examples include shellfish like crab, mussels and oysters, shrimp, tuna, haddock, and salmon.

Foods You Should Eat in Moderation.
You should only eat the below foods less frequently when compared to the foods in the list above.
Red meat like bacon, ground beef, and steak
Dairy products low in fat or fat-free. Some of the famous examples include cheese, yogurt, and little fat milk.
Eggs, as they are good sources of proteins and are healthier when poached and boiled.
Poultry like a duck, turkey, and chicken
Note that chicken is healthy when their skin is removed. This is because you reduce the cholesterol in the chicken. Later on, in the book, this list of foods that you are allowed to eat when on a Mediterranean diet will be expanded further where you will know what foods to take on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Foods to Avoid
The below list contains a couple of foods that you need to avoid altogether when on a Mediterranean diet. This is because they are unhealthy, and when you eat them, you will be unable to experience the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. These foods include;

Processed meat- you should avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs because they are high in saturated fats, which are unhealthy.
Refined oils: stay away from unhealthy oils like cottonseed oil, vegetable oil, and soybean oil.
Saturated or Trans-fats: an excellent example of these fats include butter and margarine.
Highly processed foods – avoid all highly processed foods. By this, you mean all the foods that are packaged. This can be packaged crisp, nuts, wheat, etc. Some of these foods are marked and labeled low fat but are quite high in sugar.
Refined grains: avoid refined grains like refined pasta, white bread, cereals, bagels, etc.
Added sugar- foods, which contain added sugar like sodas, chocolates, candy, and ice cream should be avoided entirely. If you have a sweet tooth, you can substitute products with added sugar with natural sweeteners.
Now that you know what to eat and what not to eat when on the Mediterranean diet, you are now ready to learn how you can adopt the diet. The next chapter will show you how to do that.

Starting the Mediterranean Diet
By now, you know what the Mediterranean diet is, how it works, why you should consider adopting it, and what to eat, and avoid while on a diet. All that knowledge is fantastic for you to have, but it can easily be useless to you if you don't learn how to adapt and practice the Mediterranean diet.
This chapter is going to be very important to you because it is going to educate you on how you can start the Mediterranean diet. If you were to follow anything in this book, this topic would be it.
For you to get a better understanding of how to start the Mediterranean diet, this chapter will be broken down into simple and easy to follow steps that will show you what to do to adopt the Mediterranean diet. So, without wasting too much time, lets head on to the first step below.

Learn the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
The first step you need to take is to learn the Mediterranean diet pyramid. Why is this important? This is important because the Mediterranean diet pyramid is usually your guideline to the Mediterranean way of eating. It is the blueprint of what you should eat and how frequent you should eat it. The pyramid helps you track what you will need to eat on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis; and that helps a lot when it comes to you following the diet to the latter.
That said, you can slightly alter the Mediterranean pyramid if you are a vegan or allergic to some of the foods on it. Below is a picture of a standard Mediterranean diet pyramid.
Interpretation of The Mediterranean Pyramid
In summary, the above pyramid requires you to do the following;

Consume Daily
you should eat at least two servings of vegetables at lunchtime and at dinner time every day. Make sure that one of the servings is raw.

Fruits: eat one or two servings of fruits in each meal that you take. For this to be easy, you can make them your dessert.
Whole grains and legumes: whole grains contain valuable nutrients like phosphorus and magnesium, so you need to take at least one or two servings in a day.
Olive oil: you should cook your food with olive oil.
Water: you need to be well hydrated, so you need to take 1.5 to 2 liters of water each day.
Wine: you can choose 2 glasses of wine if you are a man and one glass of wine if you are a woman per day.
Nuts and seeds: they are rich in vitamins and fiber and are suitable for snacking. You can eat a handful of them each day.
Spices, onions, garlic, and herbs- you are allowed to use herbs in every meal that you cook.

Consume Weekly:
Fish: you should eat two or more servings in a week. The same goes for poultry.
Eggs: eat two to four servings in a week. The same goes for yogurt and cheese.
Red meat- eat less than two servings of red meat in a week.

Consume Monthly:
Sweets, sugary stuff, fruit juices, pastries, and candies should all be consumed only once or twice in a month, and this should be done in small quantities.
You should now print out a copy of the Mediterranean diet pyramid and then stick it somewhere in your kitchen. This will help you remember what you are supposed to cook frequently and what you are supposed to cook occasionally.

Write a Shopping List and Go Shopping
Your shopping list should contain a lot of vegetables, fruits, legumes, extra virgin oil, and whole grains as those are the foods that will be making up most of your meals. The foods, as mentioned above, are essential, and they should be your priority when you go out for shopping. The weekly and monthly foods should also be included in your list, but with them, you can go easy on the quantity that you will be buying. This is because there is no need of buying them in excess only for them to go wrong in your shelves because you won't be using them that much.
Once you have your shopping list, the next step is to clear your house of any Mediterranean diet unfriendly foods. This is usually important because unhealthy foods can be tempting if they are within your reach. Therefore, go to the kitchen, open up the shelves and start removing all the products that have added sugar and saturated fats, all refined oils and highly processed foods. Open your fridge and do the same. Put everything in a garbage bag and throw the garbage bag in a dustbin. Alternatively, you can donate the foodstuffs to a friend, family member, or a neighbor.
Now take your shopping list and go straight to your local market where you can get fresh produce. If you live in an area where people practice farming, you can buy the products that are in your shopping list directly from their farms. That way, you will get your food straight from the ground and at a relatively lower price. If you like doing your shopping in a store, you should do it at the perimeter of the store; as this is where whole foods usually are found.

Write a Meal Plan
After you have done your shopping, the next step is to sit down and write a meal plan that will guide you in making your meals. A meal plan should have at least three meals. That is breakfast, lunch, and dinner; but, you can add extra meals like snacks, appetizer, and desserts. Below is an example of a Mediterranean meal plan that you can follow:

Breakfast: Whole meal toast, peanut butter, and a banana.
Lunch: Whole grain sandwich served with cheese and fresh vegetables
Dinner: Cod Portugaise served with boiled potatoes and a side salad.

Breakfast: Whole grain bread, a piece of cheese and tomatoes
Lunch: Tuna salad that is dressed in olive oil.
Dinner: Galician stew served with roasted butternut squash.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins
Lunch: Spanakopita with a salad on the side
Dinner: Greek-style chicken pittas

Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, strictly fried in extra virgin olive oil
Lunch: Herby mackerel with roasted tomato and pepper Bulgar wheat salad.
Dinner: Mediterranean lasagna

Breakfast: Full-fat Greek yogurt with some nuts, fruit, and honey.
Lunch: Kale served with green lentil soup.
Dinner: A tomato salad with olives and feta cheese.
You might not know this, but there is no one right way of writing the Mediterranean diet meal plan. This is because the diet is based on the way a couple of countries around the Mediterranean region used to eat back in the days. But the thing is these countries didn't eat the same things. Yes, their meals were similar, but they were not the same all the time. They also did not cook the same way. This means that the Mediterranean meal plan written above is not written on stone. You can copy it, but you can also adjust it to your preferred food types as long as they are Mediterranean friendly. You should have fun creating your meal plan and of course, do that follow the Mediterranean diet rules.

Adopt the Mediterranean Lifestyle
By now, you know that the Mediterranean diet is not only about the healthy foods that you are supposed to eat but also about the Mediterranean lifestyle that preserves the cultural element of the Mediterranean people. Thus, the fourth step that you need to take in your journey to adopting the Mediterranean diet is learning how to adopt the Mediterranean lifestyle. There are 3 lifestyle changes that you need to make to adopt the diet entirely. Here they are;

In the Mediterranean lifestyle, Cooking is an essential activity. This is because the Mediterranean people considered it as a 'me' time or in other words as a personal time where you could take time and have fun cooking.
Cooking is also seen as a relaxing activity that is made better when you have some friends, family, or loved ones helping you. The company makes it better because it turns Cooking into a joyous social experience, and as you know, happiness promotes heart health.
Therefore, as a beginner, you must try and make Cooking fun. You can do that by convincing a sibling, husband/wife, or friends to cook with you or give you company while you are cooking. As you prepare, you can encourage positive topics that bring laughter and happiness for both you and your friend or whoever your company will be. That way, you will have adopted the Cooking lifestyle of the Mediterranean diet.
That said Cooking with a company is not the only Cooking lifestyle that you need to adopt. You also need to adopt the Cooking ways that are used in the Mediterranean diet.

Here are some of these Cooking ways;
When boiling pasta, you should always do it 'Al dente' this means not fully cooked.
When it comes to preparing cheeses as a condiment in salads, you should cook them alone.
Use lemon juice to marinate raw fish and meat.
You can use olive oil for dipping, preserving, stewing, marinating, seasoning, sautéing, frying, and cooking.

Social Lifestyle
One of the lifestyles that are big on the Mediterranean diet is the art of socializing.
The Mediterranean countries normally added value to their healthy meals by socializing. They shared their meals with friends, family, and loved ones. They sat on a table and relaxed as they ate and conversed. This did one fantastic thing to their health. It helped them reduce stress, which automatically improved their general health.
As a beginner, you should copy the above lifestyle of socializing by training yourself to eat with the people that are dear to you. If you are in a big family, make sure you always eat with others on the dining table. If you live alone, you can look for a roommate or find a way that you can be inviting friends over for dinners a couple of times in a week.
Note: Eating with others also helps you lose weight. Here is why; when you eat with loved ones, you don't want to seem to be the one who is always overeating, which will make you eat just enough.

Physical Activity
Thousands of years ago, the people from the Mediterranean regions were very active.
This is because they did hard labor manually without relying on machines, and they walked for long distances, which is something that made them lean, masculine, athletic, and healthy. Up to today, people from the Mediterranean region are very active. They usually do 30 minutes of physical activity per day. They mostly enjoy swimming, walking and playing games like tennis, basketball and soccer.
You can use two ways to get your amount of physical activity when you are on the Mediterranean diet. One is through exercising, and the other one is through integrating your daily activities with physical activities. Let us learn how you can achieve this.

How to be Active through Exercising
The best exercises to do when you are on the Mediterranean diet are exercises that increase your heart rate and breathing. This is because the tasks mentioned above match the intensity of the physical activity that the Mediterranean people did back in the day. What is more, is that numerous researchers have found out that exercises which get your heart pumping usually increase your lifespan; with a 60-minute jog estimated to increase your lifespan by 7 hours.

Here is a list of the ideal exercises that you can do when on the Mediterranean diet:
Interval Training
- Interval training is a workout that makes you alternate between periods of high-intensity activity with low-intensity recovery periods. It is suitable for your cardiovascular system, and it helps you burn more calories. 
To perform it, you can either;

Run for 3 minutes at 90 % of your effort, then jog for 3 minutes and lastly take a rest for one minute. Repeat 5-10 times. Add the minutes as you get used to the exercise.
Run for 30 seconds at 100% of your effort and then do a slow run of 3 minutes. Rest for one minute and repeat 5-10 times.
Jumping Jacks: jumping jacks usually enable you to work out your whole body and increase your heart rate, which is good for weight loss and longevity. 
To perform it, you need to stand with hands at your sides and your feet together. Raise your arms above your head as you jump up and spread your feet apart in a simultaneous motion. Do 7-10 repetition with each set being 60 seconds long.
Jogging/Running: Jogging/running are like interval training; they increase your heart rate. The best time to practice it is in the morning before you have your breakfast, although you can do the exercise at any suitable time.
Cycling: Cycling is usually good at working out almost every part of your body. You should try cycling for 10-20 minutes every day.

How to Incorporate Exercises in Your Daily Activities
The easiest way for you to be more active is to incorporate physical activities into your daily activities.
For example, if you look at walking and riding a bicycle, you will notice that these two methods get you from one place to another. So, what you can do is use them instead of your car whenever you want to go to areas that are not too far. A good example is riding a bicycle to the store or work. Another example is walking to your friend's place or a restaurant for lunch whenever you are at work. However, if you have to use a bus or a car, you can maybe park your vehicle, a walking distance to your workplace or the store or you can alight one stop earlier and walk the remaining mile. You can also decide to stop taking the lift and instead use the stairs, which is a very effective way of being physically active.

The Popular Power Pressure Cooker-Instant Pot
The Instant Pot can be key in your Mediterranean Diet journey.
With its versatility, efficiency, and functionality, you can cook your favorite vegetarian dishes and comfort foods using wholesome and fresh ingredients.
The Instant Pot is a programmable countertop multi-cooker that is becoming a kitchen staple in a growing number of households. The original design combined the functions of seven kitchen tools: slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, and rice cooker, steamer, warming pot, sauté/browning pan and yogurt maker. Additional cooking programs have been introduced over the years, allowing newer models also to be used as an egg maker, cake maker, and sterilizer.
Apart from these, units have a built-in timer, adjustable temperature setting, and a variety of other features that make it a reliable and flexible companion in the kitchen.

The Benefits of Instant Pot
You Don't Need to Be a Professional Cook
With the Instant Pot, you can pull off all kinds of dishes—even complicated and elaborate ones—easily. Yes, these include dishes that normally require some form of professional expertise. You might even consider trying out recipes with ingredients that are a bit of challenge to prepare or cook with. Say you have had trouble working with artichokes, beets or squash before. Then now would be a good time to give it a shot again, as your Instant Pot could very well save the day. Or perhaps you're interested in the cooking hacks or tricks of chefs. The Instant Pot is the perfect medium to test these yourself. You could, for instance, steam proteins and vegetables simultaneously by using trivets and steamer baskets—a technique called stacking.

You Can Keep Away from Kitchen
Unlike traditional pressure cookers, the Instant Pot allows for a fully automated cooking process, which means you don't have to keep watch while you wait for your dish to cook. And since the cooking time is set and the unit switches to Keep Warm right after, you don't even have to be in the kitchen. You can step out and do something else or enjoy some much-deserved downtime.
There's also the option for delayed cooking, which is a big plus when it comes to planning meals. The Instant Pot's Delay Start function enables you to add the dish components in advance and leave it to cook at a later time. The actual cooking can start hours later, the maximum being 24 hours.

Save Time and Money
While the Instant Pot can't exactly have dishes ready to serve in an instant, it will definitely save you a lot of time. Based on estimates, you can cook food up to 70 percent faster by using an Instant Pot. So, you can still stay on track with your diet and enjoy home-cooked meals even if your schedule is incredibly tight or you have little time after work to spend in the kitchen.
Money-wise, the Instant Pot is a worthwhile investment since it combines the functions of numerous kitchen tools and devices—tools and devices that you do not need to purchase individually because your Instant Pot can get all those jobs done. Ultimately, you're saving money that would have otherwise been spent on other kitchen appliances.
The bonus: you get to save on counter space too. You only need to find room in the kitchen for one multifunction pot rather than seven different cooking equipment.

It Uses Less Energy
The Instant Pot can also help lower your electricity bill. Regular electric pressure cookers are energy-efficient, to begin with, ranking second out of all kitchen appliances in terms of electrical consumption (the microwave oven ranks first).
The Instant Pot is extra green in that it requires a shorter cooking time and a lower amount of water, and its outer pot is fully insulated. No wonder Instant Pot cooking consumes about 70 percent less energy than slow cooking, oven cooking, boiling and steaming.

Keeps Food's Original Flavor and Nutritional Value
Cooking with an Instant Pot can make for healthier and more flavorful dishes. For one, nutrients in food are better retained because only minimal water is required (just enough to create steam). Less water means fewer vitamins, and minerals are dissolved away or lost due to leaching.
In addition, certain enzymes associated with nutrient loss are deactivated as a result of Instant Pot cooking's high temperatures. As such, vegetables are able to retain 90 to 95 percent of their vitamins.
In terms of flavors, you can thank the Instant Pot's fast and even distribution of heat. With steam surrounding the food in the pot, it is less likely that oxidation will occur due to air exposure. Case in point: When cooked in an Instant Pot, asparagus and broccoli do not lose any of their phytochemical content, their vibrant green color or their natural taste.

Useful Tips for Instant Pot Usage:
Here are some ways you can effectively use and make the most out of your Instant Pot.
Use one-half to one cup of liquid in the inner pot to create enough pressure when you are pressure cooking.
Cook multiple food items at the same time to reduce your cooking time. You can do so with the pot-in-pot method, in which items that you don't want to be mixed together are cooked in separate pots (or oven-safe glass containers or stackable steamer baskets made of stainless steel). Slow-cooking foods should be placed on the bottom and quick-cooking items on top.
Select more than one cooking program. You can, for instance, begin with the Sauté button. After you're done sautéing, you can press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and then add the dish's meat and vegetable components. Once the food is finished cooking, you can use the Keep Warm option until the dish is ready to be served.
Cut roast, large potato, and other big foods into smaller pieces to ensure that pressure and steam can reach inside and cook each piece thoroughly. This can help reduce your cooking time, as food in an Instant Pot is cooked not by volume but rather by surface area.
You can turn up or down the heat or temperature if your Instant Pot is set on Sauté or Slow Cooker.
It is important to follow the fill line, especially if you're cooking foods that expand like beans, rice, and quinoa. Also, make sure to use one to two cups of liquid.
Add 10 to 15 minutes to your cooking time when you select Manual/Pressure Cook. This is to give the Instant Pot enough time to pressurize.
Don't ever try to open the lid if the Instant Pot is on Manual/Pressure Cook mode. Once you press the button, you only have 10 seconds to cancel the operation. After that, you cannot just stop the cooking process by opening the lid. If there is an ingredient that you forgot to include, wait for the unit to depressurize and release steam.
Invest in multiple inner pots so you can cook several dishes at once and can easily store these as needed. Accessories such as silicone molds and steaming racks are worth purchasing too, particularly if you're keen on expanding your repertoire of Instant Pot dishes.
Get an extra set of sealing rings. This way, you will have one ring for sweet dishes and a separate ring for savory meals. The smell of what you cook tends to stay on sealing rings, so it's best to switch between rings depending on the day's menu.
If your sauce recipe calls for milk and cheese, only add these after the pressure cooking process is done to prevent milk from scalding or curdling and cheese from getting watery or congealed.
Because the Instant Pot retains liquid well, certain dishes may turn out to have more liquid than expected. For these instances, just mix a bit of cornstarch with water then add the mixture to your dish once the cooking process is completed. Cornstarch is a thickening agent and can help thicken up a liquid dish.

Transitioning into the Mediterranean diet is mainly about bracing yourself for a new way of eating, adapting your attitude toward food into one of joyful expectation and appreciation of good meals and good company. It's like a mindset as anything else, so you'll want to make your environment unite so you can quickly adapt to the lifestyle in the Mediterranean way.



Avocado Egg Scramble
Chicken Shawarma
Springtime Quinoa Salad
Vanilla Cream
Breakfast Tostadas
Honey Balsamic Chicken

Seafood Souvlaki Bowl
Blueberries Bowls
Parmesan Omelet
Garlic and Lemon Chicken Dish
Spaghetti Niçoise
Watermelon Pizza
Crispy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
Mediterranean Tostadas
Strawberries Coconut Cake
Ham Muffins
Greek Penne and Chicken
Vegetable Ratatouille
Cocoa Almond Pudding
Banana Quinoa
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs
Citrus Cups
Vanilla Avocado Cream
Cauliflower Fritters
Zaatar Chicken Tenders
Mediterranean Frittata
Watermelon Salad
Avocado Egg Scramble
Chicken Shawarma
Springtime Quinoa Salad
Vanilla Cream
Breakfast Tostadas
Honey Balsamic Chicken

Seafood Souvlaki Bowl
Blueberries Bowls
Parmesan Omelet
Garlic and Lemon Chicken Dish
Spaghetti Niçoise
Watermelon Pizza
Crispy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
Mediterranean Tostadas
Strawberries Coconut Cake
Ham Muffins
Greek Penne and Chicken
Vegetable Ratatouille
Cocoa Almond Pudding
Banana Quinoa
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs
Citrus Cups
Vanilla Avocado Cream
Cauliflower Fritters
Zaatar Chicken Tenders
Mediterranean Frittata
Watermelon Salad
Avocado Egg Scramble
Chicken Shawarma
Springtime Quinoa Salad
Vanilla Cream
Breakfast Tostadas
Honey Balsamic Chicken

Seafood Souvlaki Bowl
Blueberries Bowls
Parmesan Omelet
Garlic and Lemon Chicken Dish
Spaghetti Niçoise
Watermelon Pizza
Crispy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
Mediterranean Tostadas
Strawberries Coconut Cake
Ham Muffins
Greek Penne and Chicken
Vegetable Ratatouille
Cocoa Almond Pudding
Banana Quinoa
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs
Citrus Cups
Vanilla Avocado Cream
Cauliflower Fritters
Zaatar Chicken Tenders
Mediterranean Frittata
Watermelon Salad
Avocado Egg Scramble
Chicken Shawarma
Springtime Quinoa Salad
Vanilla Cream
Breakfast Tostadas
Honey Balsamic Chicken

Seafood Souvlaki Bowl
Blueberries Bowls
Parmesan Omelet
Garlic and Lemon Chicken Dish
Spaghetti Niçoise
Watermelon Pizza
Crispy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
Mediterranean Tostadas
Strawberries Coconut Cake
Ham Muffins
Greek Penne and Chicken
Vegetable Ratatouille
Cocoa Almond Pudding
Banana Quinoa
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs
Citrus Cups
Vanilla Avocado Cream
Cauliflower Fritters
Zaatar Chicken Tenders
Mediterranean Frittata
Watermelon Salad
Avocado Egg Scramble
Chicken Shawarma
Springtime Quinoa Salad
Vanilla Cream
Breakfast Tostadas
Honey Balsamic Chicken

Seafood Souvlaki Bowl
Blueberries Bowls