Facts and Myths about the Mediterranean Diet

Adopting a Mediterranean diet offers a lot of exciting benefits. However, there are still plenty of misconceptions on how you can really take advantage of this way of eating to lead a longer and healthier life. The following are several facts and myths you should know about the Mediterranean diet.

1st Myth: Eating More Bread and Pasta is the Mediterranean Way

The truth is that Mediterranean people usually don’t eat a large plate of pasta similar to how Americans do. Pasta is instead often a side dish with just a 1/2-cup up to 1-cup serving size.

Their plate also features vegetables, fish, salads, or a small portion of grass-fed organic meat, and probably one slice of bread.

2nd Myth: If a Glass of Wine is Good for the Heat, Three Glasses is Thrice as Healthy

Reasonable amounts of red wine, or two drinks for men and one for women, definitely offer unique health benefits for the heart. However, excessive drinking will have the exact opposite effect. Anywhere over two glasses of wine might no longer be good for the heart.

3rd Myth: Eating the Mediterranean Way is Expensive

If you are preparing meals out of lentils or beans as your primary source of protein, and you want to stick with mostly whole grains and plants, then the Mediterranean diet is cheaper than serving dishes of processed or packaged foods.

4th Myth:  Food is What Mediterranean Diet is All About

While food is a major aspect of the Mediterranean diet, you should never take for granted the other ways Mediterranean people live their lives. Every time they sit down for meals, they never eat in a rush or sit in front of the TV.

Instead, they sit down for a more leisurely and relaxed meal with others, something that might be equally important for your health as the foods you have on your plate. Mediterranean people also enjoy lots of physical activities.

How to Switch to a Mediterranean Diet

If you find the mere thought of switching your current eating habits to adapt Mediterranean diet a bit daunting, there are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Always eat your breakfast. Whole grains, fruits, and other foods rich in fiber are a great way to kickstart your day so you can stay full for several hours.
  2. Prepare a vegetarian meal one night per week. You can also join the “Meatless Mondays” trend where you forego meat at the start of the week. You can even choose a day where you prepare meals around whole grains, vegetables, and beans. Once you become used to it, you can try two nights per week.
  3. Load up on your veggies. Prepare a simple plate of sliced tomatoes and drizzle it with crumbled feta cheese and olive oil or load thin crust pizza with mushrooms and peppers instead of pepperoni and sausage. Salads, crudité platters, and soups are also great ways to increase your vegetable intake.

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