Feb 20 2010

3 Ways to Get the Mediterranean Diet Into Your Life — Easily!

The world-famous Mediterranean diet comes in a lot of forms. It was popularized by a diet book way back in the 70s (or at some point around then), and is still held up today — at least anecdotally — as one of the world’s best and most delicious diets.

You don’t have to follow one particular example of it, and really you don’t have to follow it at all, if you don’t want to, but being here in Malta and seeing directly how people eat so differently from North America has just made us want to write about it constantly. So we started thinking of three ways you can get some of the best things about the diet without upending everything about your current routine.

Savor Your Meat By Making it Scarce and Expensive.

When you have chicken or beef several times a week, you not only cease to make it a special meal, but you also simply eat it too much. If you steer your weekly meals around vegetables and grains, the few times you have meat, you’ll be able to enjoy it that much more often.

One of the best ways to do this? Buy better meat. Go out and buy some delicious, premium quality, grass-fed, beyond-organic steaks from your local butcher. Or get some really good prosciutto from the Italian shop and do something with that. Decide to spend some real money on meat, ignore the feedlot stuff, and watch as your financial commitment forces you to slow down and really enjoy the meat you’re eating.

Create Your Own Junk Food.

This is one of Michael Pollan’s new Food Rules, and it’s perfect, really. There’s no question that people following the Mediterranean diet eat what we might call “junk” food — you’ve got your potato chips, your french fries, your varieties of donuts.

Seriously, every European culture basically has a version of deep-fried dough with sugar on it that they trot out for the dozens of festivals celebrated each year, and these things all taste a bit different and are called a billion different things and are fundamentally bad for you in terms of the amount of fat & sugar in them, but hey — they’re homemade, they actually spoil, and they take work to prepare, so you can’t just sit there, sucking them back on a daily basis.

Make a Pledge to the Good Fats

North Americans eat way too much “vegetable oil”. Most of it is inserted/injected into products and we don’t really find out what kind of vegetable is providing this oil. Could be corn, could be something else. Lord knows it’s not extra virgin olive-oil, as anyone using that on the label will trumpet it loud and clear, and it’ll be reflected in the price.

But here’s the thing: good quality olive oil isn’t that much more expensive outside of Italy or elsewhere. So much of it is exported that the prices are down, and it’s not hard to find it at a slight premium. Take a little vow — if you’re going to eat “vegetable oil”, make sure it’s only olive oil.

Why These Little Restrictions Are Easier to Do

It’s a lot easier to explain to someone that you’ve “decided to cut out X” or “are eliminating Y” from your diet, than to announce a whole-scale change in every last thing you eat. We try and cut out fats or cut down on carbs all the time — why not pick an ingredient or two instead? It’s kinda fun, restricting yourself like this, and watching the changes that result.

Pick a “meat night”, announce you only eat junk food you make from scratch, or skip 100% of the foods that have just “vegetable oil” on them. With little steps like these, you’ll be on your way to eating better in no time.

Mediterranean Readers — Over to You!

We’ve got a lot of readers from all around the Mediterranean and beyond — so tell us: what are your favorite things about your own diet? Or if you’ve visited or stayed in Spain, Italy, Greece, and so on — what did you notice the most about eating habits there?

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Around The Web
  • Noriko

    Hi Zuzana and Freddy,
    I liked the post, A Simple Approach to Potion size, on Sep 14 so much that I started to read other “food and diet”. I like this one too. “Create your own junk food” is a great one!
    Thanks!

  • Tonya

    We are Lebanese. So even though we are in the states, we try to eat in the Lebanese (a version of Mediterranean) style. We have cheese, fruit, veggies for breakfast. Maybe eggs or a zataar pizza type thing with it. We have heavy lunches and light dinners. Dinner may be similar to breakfast or will be just a thick yogurt type sandwich with tomatoe and cucumbers, etc. We eat LOTS of olives and olive oil is the oil of choice. We always have fruits after lunch. It is as Zuzana said…whole foods. We eat meat, but not at every meal. We eat dried beans a lot…chick peas, lentils, fava beans, etc. We eat fish and we definitely have our bread. As she said, junk food is even home made. LOL

  • nelianae

    I was born and live in Spain, certainly since you were small you purchase food habits you see at home. At every meal the salad always comes first (always with olive oil). You here the “junk food” is not much room at the table, perhaps from time to time, but nothing more. Most of our traditional dishes always include vegetables, grains, vegetables and of course, olive oil. I love the Spanish gastronomy not exchange or fast food throughout the world;) Bess from Spain. I love your page and your workouts (sorry for my English lol)

  • scott

    I have looked at the leptin diet and looks like another FAD diet (no offense).

    Eating 5-6 small meals is, for me, the best choice. I have been researching nutrition rabidly for the last 6 months. this started when my wife was told she had high cholesterol and we were sent to a nutritionist who taught us the basics.

    One of the keys to eating 6 times a day, is eating the correct foods. especially before and after work outs. understanding what causes insulin spikes and using the knowledge of how your body works to your advantage.

    Zuzana, I enjoy your site because your exercises work just as well for men as for women. You prove that you don’t have to shell out hard earned money for a gym membership to get awesome results.

  • Cindy

    The very latest research is saying that the “6 small meals a day” paradigm was flawed. Google “Leptin” or the “Leptin Diet”. Apparently, new research is showing that to lose weight, you need to put many hours between eating. Eating even one tiny thing between meals causes Leptin to be released and a cascade of things happen, including that insulin is released also. You then don’t utilize sugars as you should. Completely opposite what we have been taught for years. Also, it’s supposed to be better for diabetics too, who have been told that eating small meals is better for them. Do the research, its very enlightening.

  • Lucia

    Hey there everyone!I think this is a great post, it´s crucial for everybody to become aware of the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. I´ve lived in the U.S before but I´m actually spanish and I currently live in Spain. I LOVE the mediterranean diet and love cooking also :-) . I can´t even explain the difference between this diet and the american way of eating…

    I just wanted to share with you what I´m cooking today just to give you ideas…(I´m not an expert but I love nutrition and fitness)
    Thanks Zuzana for your great workouts, ideas, motivation and support!

    What I´m cooking today>>> Lentils potage!!! for 2 people:
    Ingredients:
    - 250 (more or less)gr. of lentils
    - 1 tomato
    - 1 big green pepper
    - 6/7 cloves of garlic
    - 1 onion
    - a bit of sea salt
    - fresh water
    - 100 ml (more or less) of Extra Virgin Olive Olive.
    NOTE. much more benefits if all these ingredients are organic!!!
    The night before, pour 250 gr of lentils in a bowl of water, leave them there until the next day.
    The next day: whash them a little bit with fresh water and put them in a big pot. Add a full tomato, a full pealed garlic (if it´s small), a whole pealed onion, a big green pepper (washed and taking off the top), a bit of sea salt and 100 ml of EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.
    Add fresh water until it covers up all these ingredients and put it to cook. You can really heat it up until the water boils, but then lower down the heat so it boils really slowly.
    It´s normally ready in between half an hour or 45 min.But you don´t have to watch them all the time, just every 15 min or so.
    Then, you can take all these whole ingredients I just said (the onion, tomato..) grind them up and add them again afterwards so it´s smoother.

    This is it! I really enjoy this meal and hope you like it too if you have the chance to try it!

    xoxo from Spain

  • AnnMarie Hammondq

    Hi Zuzana and Frederick,

    I have just discovered your site and love all the healthy eating tips and recipes. Unfortunately i cannot do your workouts as i have spinal damage and need low impact workouts. If you post some low impact fat burning videos i would be absolutely wrapped :O) let me know if you do so i remember to pop back and get into them.

    I am active in that i teach belly dancing 3 x per week or more … so although i have spinal damage i can move freely with the style of dancing that i do which builds the muscles to support the spine and the moves are actually really helpful when i am in pain to relieve it. So i am dance fit but need to do something else to jump start my metabolism which has slowed to a drip. I am copying your recipes and looking forward to trying them they sound fantastic and look so yummy.

    (The damage to my spine is cervical 3, 4 and 5, thoracic on the right side under the right breast and lumbar 5. Movements that kick start my pain are slight bends, lifting weights higher than 5kg, walking up or down hills/slants, standing still too long, or sitting on hard surfaces; plus my knees are no good from 12 years of martial arts prior to my back injury). Fingers crossed you can come up with some workout ideas for me xxxx

  • Sophia

    I’m originally from the Med area of Europe but have been living in North America for many years now. The difficulty in the US is that local produce is hard to get and if it is available it is ridiculously expensive, as opposed to the stuff available in regular supermarkets. In Italy for example, (I’m sure it is true in many other parts of EU) local produce is sold in your neighborhood markets and the price is much lower than of its equivalent in supermarkets.

    When I’m in the US I’m paranoid about almost everything I put into my body. Even the stuff that is labeled organic here makes me really wonder since the “green” industry is now mostly about making huge profit. This doesn’t make for a pleasant eating experience.

    • Crystal

      I completely agree with you. Buying food here is scary and local produce is too much money, but I stick to supporting local farmers anyway. The more the Americans stick with local the cheaper it will be in time.

      • KNathan

        Girl, I hope you’re right about that. Produce is so expensive out here. I’m in the suburbs of Chicago, and the reason it’s so easy for us to get off track and eat such unhealthy foods is because the cost of eating healthy and perishable foods is too high for even middle class to afford to eat on a regular basis without going broke. Plus, the quality of fresh produce out here isn’t all that great either. I would have to shop at a Fresh Market grocery store to get any type of quality fresh produce, and it’s almost double what I’d pay at the local Jewel-Osco. Let’s face it, it all comes down to money. I’ve even tried budgeting more and more produce into my diet, and it’s still too expensive and perishes too quickly for it to be a good investment. Plus figuring in the cost of gas for the constant trips to and from the market. It’s just too much money.

  • Bianca

    Zuzana and Frederick,
    Your workouts are very motivational and i am so glad that i found your website! However, i am confused about what you mean by keeping meat scarce if both protein and carbs need to be eaten together at each meal? Please correct me if i misunderstood your articles. I have a big problem with my diet as i am used to overeating and i want to understand how to eat properly 5-6 times daily.
    Thank you!!!

  • Der

    Hi,

    I just started following your workouts, so I can get to have a perfect 6 pack without giving up to the widow soup, and the local cheese in pepers in the bread with olive oil and stuff.

  • Jon

    I am a 37 year old American that made a lifestyle choice when I was 23 years old. I was just out of college and not happy with my body, not overweight but limited muscle with a little stomach bulge. I ate as much as I wanted and didn’t work out but I had a high metabolism thanks to my family genetics. My lifestyle choice of learning about diet and exercise has given me sooo much motivation, energy and self confidence. I made the right choice because I look and feel much better now than when I was 23.

    It’s good to surround yourself with people that make healthy choices.

  • Linda

    Hi Zuzana! I find your workouts really informative and useful, although I’m a little lost about the food part… Can you post some information about how to cook/choose healthy meals and snacks? Because what’s happens often is that people do exercise but eat wrongly! I would really apreciate your help because I want to do everything right.
    Thank you so much!

  • Britney

    Hello everyone and kudos for doing what most people talk about…I know it is a challenge but on this site we have the most beautifully ethereal human being one can hope to lay eyes on to inspire us…anyhoo here is my deal…

    I recently started my first 21 day detox which was very expensive ($200.00) by a company called Standard Process I highly recommend it. I am the kinda person that will make you sick I can eat literally anything and not gain a pound…but my dentist is not too happy about that LOL

    Anyway I quit half way through and am very guilty…I take shakes three times a day and herbs three times a day (i.e SP Cleanse, Gastro fiber and Green Food) it has been about a week since I have really taken anything consistently…

    Should I:

    a. Replenish the one bottle that is almost empty and the half of container of shake I have used mind you I have 1/2 tubs of the shake still left…and start over completely or…

    b. Pick myself up and dust myself off and keep going where I left off?

    I have been eating fast food and chocolate at the same time when I should only eat fish, chicken, veggies and lentils it is so hard for me to stop eating junk…any advice you can give me on finishing what I start that has been my problem throughout well throughout, throughout…

    • http://www.facebook.com/HealthyLo Lauren

      Hey Britney,

      I’m in my 4th and final year of naturopathic school, and I guide patients through detoxification programs all the time. I am familiar with standard process and they have great products. Congratulations on finishing half of a detox. It’s a hard thing to do! First of all, don’t beat yourself up. Give yourself credit for the hard work you DID. Secondly, you need to assess why you stopped the program. A big reason why people fail to complete detox programs is that they don’t do adequate preparation beforehand. They jump right into it without being realistic about how feasible it is to finish. My suggestion to patients is to take a week BEFORE starting the detox to prepare. Don’t implement any changes during this time. Just prepare your schedule, and get organized on HOW you’re going to complete the program once you start it. You need to be realistic about get togethers, social events, etc. Chances are you’ll have to prepare your meals for the entire duration of the cleanse. That is the only way you can be 100% sure that you know what is going into your body.
      Also, set boundaries for yourself. Use the “NO” button. If friends invite you out, be up front and say you are in the process of a cleanse and you’ll have to pass. Don’t put yourself in situations where you’ll fail.
      The last thing is – the hardest part of the cleanse is the refeeding period. .. the time where you re-introduce foods back into your diet. Make sure you have it figured out what you’re going to have each day, otherwise you will eat everything around you like a crazy person.

      Good luck.

      Lauren Noel
      Naturopathic Student – Portland, OR

  • Angela

    My beliefs are somewhat contrary to those who continue to, wholely, label “Americans” as bad eaters. I experienced what it was to commit to making healthful decisions which led to a total of 50 lbs in one full year. It was the most liberating moment of my life. Over the course of that year, I simply committed to making the best decision about foods that I bought and literally put in my mouth. That simple concept held me accountable to myself. I didn’t eliminate everything at once, but made more of a gradual progression towards stocking my pantry with healthier options. Skim to soy, vegetable to evoo, sugar to splenda, chocolate to fruit and dark chocolate, and etc. Making these substitutions became easier from week to week with my husband being away in S. Korea for a year. This meant my children and I weren’t forced to consume meat filled menus everyday of the week. Compliments came pouring in from friends and church members who would ask what made the difference, but really doubted. They considered the stress of being separated from my spouse, or that I suffered from an illness that I was really trying to hide. They didn’t believe because I didn’t workout at all. I hardly believe that a country should take the blame for the lifestyles that it’s people choose to live. I chose not to be a statistic and I’m healthier for.

  • Dani

    Hello all, first time poster here. I live in Spain, am a 25 years old male.

    The common people here eat pretty bad, as in everywhere else! There are some strong and weak points on our diet. But basically a lot of carbohydrates, and an abusing of pork meat. Fats are OK, olive oil is much extended but a large part of people cook with sunflower oil which is considerably cheaper…

    Bread, eggs, pork, rice, potatoes, legumes and cow milk are probably the most eaten meals around here. Some fruits like bananas, apples and oranges too. Oh, and wine!

    Spain is famous for its outstanding gastronomy and as a Spaniard I agree but you can find lots of people eating junk too. So it’s up to anyone to get good or bad quality food, here you have great options for nutritive and tasteful food.

    If you ever visit Spain I suggest you search for ‘Mercadona’ stores, they are known as the best choice for quality/price alimentation and related products.

  • Lucas

    I live in the US and while I think there are various misconceptions/exaggerations throughout the world regarding the US citizen, I have to say that our food habits and offerings are truly as bad as the stereotype. However, that’s not to say that we don’t have the same healthy choices as the rest of the world … it’s just that our accessibility to non-healthy foods is much greater and our culture does not value its diet in the way it should. Additionally, there are a variety of socio-economic factors that come into play such as income, education and population density that limit the availability/awareness of healthy options/habits.

    As an example, I once worked in a very rural area with about 2000 people where the ONLY food options where Burger King, Arby’s, four truck stop diners and two gas stations. The nearest grocery store was about half an hour away… but to get here you ended up passing another dozen fast food restaurants. What’s worse, while there where many small farms in this area, they didn’t really sell their goods to the locals! The farmers knew that they could pack up their produce, drive 2 hours to the nearest urban farmers market and sell their goods at 5 times the price they could have gotten in their own area!

    When I quit that job and moved out of that environment, I lost 30 pounds within 6 months without modifying my activity level at all! When I started actively paying attention to my diet and exercise, I lost another 20 pounds.

    Now that’s just one small example and not necessarily the norm, but I would say that 50% of US citizens are in a situation where their healthy options are outnumbered fifteen to one and their exposure to healthy habits in their community may be non-existent.

    • Crystal

      Wow!
      Thank you for sharing. I couldn’t agree with you more on the overabundance of fast food chains and options that are on every corner block in the US. Kindof like SBUX, ha. :)
      The more you can eat whole the better you will feel with energy and the more nutrients you will give to your body.
      I truly believe exercise is the easy part. (yea, yeah, don’t get me wrong, it takes effort) Nutrition is the hardest. The good news is that once you find out what healthy foods work for you and your body, maintaining a healthy lifestyle of eating will be a breeze.
      Best!
      Crystal

  • http://bodyrock.tv zitlalit

    i live in the u.s and people are always eatin gout its horrible. i try to avoid all these fast food places its hard but now im just going ot try one of these diets from the website. hope it works any advice on any other diets anyone?????

    • Dave Res

      Try the once at a time drop out strategy mentioned in the main article. After reading different diet books and facing my reality, I decided to start, first, by supressing all salt from my food. It worked, but it took some weeks or months to get acquainted, but then I got rid of the silent killer (hypertension). Then I moved to sugar, bread (this one was hard to beat), and red meats. I also started cooking exclusively with good quality olive oil. I a few months I noticed changes and now, after years, I indulge myself, sometimes, into eating some of the now forbidden meals. However, I can´t eat much of them now. Goods luck.

  • ciara o connor

    Hi, I live in France but was recently in the U.S for just two weeks. I ate breakfast,lunch and dinner out. I am a healthy eater and would always opt for the “healthy” option on the menu, yet i still managed to put on over half a stone, probably about 10 lbs! I would put it down to the amount of salt and sugar that is in the american food….sugar in coldslaw, i was shocked!! Make your food and snacks from scratch and eat raw fruit and veg! Biggest tip….salt causes your body to retain water and bloat…so dont add buckets of it to your food.
    I am sorry to say but it was the worst food i have ever tasted. (and i was eating at top restraunts!)

    • Gevine

      I know, and I’ve been eating that bad stuff since I was a kid! No wonder I’m fat now as an adult! Nowadays, I just cook at home. At least then I can watch what I put in it and control what I eat.

  • Allen

    Since I have not visited the Mediterranean area, I would like to know what are a few of the staple dishes in that area?

    • Tia

      When I visited Spain I noticed that salad was served with every lunch and dinner. It was always composed of the same ingredients: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, salt, and a vinegar and olive oil dressing. Also, my house mother always offered fruit or yogurt instead of dessert.

    • Alice

      I’m French – sorry for my bad English by the way – and my mother is from the South of France.
      The staples of Mediterranean food? Totally ok with Tia. = Olives, tomatoes, salad, soup, fine ham, rice/pasta/baked potatoes, “tartes salées” (= pies with vegetables… I don’t know how to translate it), fruits like apricots/peaches/cherries/strawberries, fish…
      I tend to eat salad every day in the summer, soup in the winter – it is really good and healthy, and you get quickly used to it ^^

  • Andrew

    Be careful with Black Tea. Recent research (that our research team presented at a cancer research conference in 2009) suggests that tea may be more harmful than previously thought, ie, it may influence cancer growth. It has its benefits, but is no better for you than eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
    On that note, eating fresh grapes is just as good as drinking red wine–so eating grapes instead of drinking wine is a good way to get the antioxidant benefits from the grape without drinking the harmful alcohol.

  • Maryam

    this is another great post n im learning a lot from ppl’s comments…its awesome.

    one suggestion (more like a huge request) you guys should really make a post about what people do to avoid cravings or what healthier options they pick over a bowl of ice cream or something. i would LOVE to hear all the different ways ppl use to stay on track. u should REALLY REALLY REALLY PLZZZZZ consider this topic

    thanks in advance ;)

    • Mikus

      I totally agree, a list of things people do to curb cravings with healthy alternatives would be great.

      • Ace

        One major factor in cravings has to do with your blood sugar levels. A lot of these cravings are caused by these high fluctuations in blood sugar levels that are brought on by consuming foods that are extremely high in sugar, wreaking havoc on our body. What I have been able to do to curb these cravings, is to really start the day off right with food that is extremely low in sugar which does not spike our blood sugar levels after consuming (think glycemic index). The secret: OATMEAL (steel cut, etc, doesn’t matter). No salt, no added sugar, use only water- pure oatmeal. The first thing that goes into my mouth (besides water) is about 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal. You can add fruits, cinnamon, etc. to make it more interesting. Trust me, just starting your day off with oatmeal will make a world of difference. Your blood sugar levels will be stable throughout the day, and you really will see after a few days that your cravings are less and less, and you feel more full throughout the day and don’t have that dreaded “food coma”.

  • Suna

    In some mediterranean cultures we drink tea. Mostly Black tea in the mornings and mid-afternoon. I myself put a little bit of sugar in it but some don’t. Do you think drinking tea is good while trying to lose weiht and burn fat? Or does it depend on the type of tea?

    • http://www.tgtea.com Brooke

      Tea is a fantastic substitution for other beverages, as long as you’re not just drinking black tea, switch it up a bit.

      I usually make pitchers of iced fruit tea (all natural freeze dried fruit and herb mixtures) or rooibush teas which are very high in antioxidants.

      These teas are more similar to drinking water but you don’t flush out all of the electrolytes in you’re body, and they are not diuretics like black, oolong or green teas.

      Plus they have all sorts of chocolate, marzipan and amaretto flavored teas that may curb some cravings in a completely healthy, sugar free (assuming you don’t add any), calorie free manner.

  • JOA

    Hi, guys,

    I am Venezuelan and back in my country the meat is very expensive. So our diet was based in vegetables and grains. I remember my mom used to prepare for each lunch a soup of grains and my favorite was the black beans soup. I really enjoyed her rich flavor. We used to eat meat in little portion and my stomach was full already with the starting soup. That was a good trick of my mom. Now when I moved to Chicago 5 years ago I got around 10 pounds because I discovered something called “eggo waffles” and without my mom, i started eating fast food. Now I live in Canada and I am very aware about my nutrition. I eat very healthy and I am in shape and gaining pounds but in muscles with the work out.
    After all my story, I wanted to recommend extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and a clove of GARLIC for dressing the salad, it adds flavor and not to mention helps prevent heart diseases and as antioxidant inmunize our body system and countless more benefits.

    Now, don’t forget of brushing your teeth after.

  • jennie

    just want to say thank you for the article, I love reading them and look forward to the next :)

  • http://behance.net/pabloserrano Pablo

    I am from Spain and people always talk about how good is Mediterranean food but they don’t seem to realize they are changing their habits by going to the fast food restaurant. I use several kind of oils depending on ‘What am I cooking’ but generally I like to have salad all the time. Tomatoes, lettuce, fruit. And mostly I like to go walking or by bike all day long. We are blessed with such a nice weather so why not enjoy it?

    Love your workouts.

  • Igor

    Hi Zuzana, I have lost about 10 kilos in 1 month performing your workouts every day. My diet is severe, I don’t eat potatoes and meat. I want to thank you for your workouts and the inspiration you give.))
    And I want to share my inpiration with you, Zuzana. As a healthy and energetic person you may be interesed in fighting aging. Do you have some knowledge in this sphere wich you may share with us? I am intersted in transhumanism, movement for the developing of technologies, which may give immortality to humans. I am only 21 yo and I think that healthy way of life is essential for people who dream to prolong their life for that amazing time.
    Answer me, Zuzana, are you interested in?

    Best wishes.

  • MzSlyde

    I know that there is alot of Fast Food and Processed food in America – IT’S TRUE.
    But there are people in North America – such as myself – that do eat better and healthier.
    I personally grow a very large garden every spring/summer filled with veggies and some fruit. We have very harsh winters in Iowa so my husband and I Can (Canning is a very old art) most everything from our garden so in the winter we have our very own veggies – that way we know exactly what we are eating.
    We also have some of the best meat in Iowa that is farm raised – so I only buy organic farm grown meat from friends we know that have raised the animal and have it butchered.
    My husband and I hardly ever eat out – we both love to cook and so we do most days of the week. We also know exactly what goes into our meals that way.

  • Vince

    Hi guys,

    I’m a 22 years old Spaniard and I’m a personal trainer. I’ve been working on some project that toke me to a lot of countries: What’s makes the Mediterranean diet so special and so addictive?

    Yes, I said addictive because once you are used to eat healthy you’ll never eat junk food anymore, it will not taste good. A close friend of mine used to drink coke every day, for breakfast, lunch, dinner… anytime; we achieved to make him eat healthier and quit drinking coke. After some months he tasted it again and literally spit it out of his mouth, as he said, it was like having a bunch of sugar in your mouth. When you eat rubbish for a long time you get used to it but as soon as you quit it you’ll realize how bad it tastes.

    One of the points of Mediterranean diet are the vegetables. I can’t remember any single day with no vegetables and fruits on our table. Italians, Greeks, Turkish, Spanish… we all eat by color, as much as color is on your table, the better you eat. Next time you cook something try to get something green (spinach, lettuce), yellow (corn) and red (tomato)… if those colors are fruit or vegetables I guarantee you’ll be eating properly.

    Another point is how you cook it. People usually cook with a bunch of unhealthy sauce, butter, or whatever or otherwise so dry and tasteless you feel like eating rubber. We cook everything with a little bit (tea spoon) of olive oil (never butter) which makes your food taste way better. And we use a lot of species which wake up our senses and our food taste, like marjoram (great for fish with lemon), rosemary, and a long etc. You don’t have to be a genius in the kitchen, with just a little bit of creativity, fun, music and internet help… you will experiment new flavors.

    As Zuzana said, our meat and fish have a good quality. We do have rubbish meat, but we rather some more expensive meat or fish with high quality. You probably are thinking “yeah but if I can find a cheaper meat why do I have waste my money? “, easy… probably that “cheap meat” is made by skin, bones and unhealthy parts of the animal which only gives you poor calories and fat, instead of paying maybe 3€ more and get a good quality piece. Something you can do is asking to your butcher where that meat comes from and if he doesn’t know it, don’t bother buying it… probably you will be paying for a lot of disgusting meat. Ask, ask, ask, ask, ask and ask… always ask…is food what you are buying, that food will get into your body and be the fuel for you day to day.

    And last but not least. DO NOT MAKE ANY EXCUSES! “I don’t have time for cooking” “I’m out the whole day” “when I get home I’m too tired to cook”. I’ll give you the secret: Schedule the meals and cook them, you can do it weekly (with some food like pasta and rice), for 2 -3 days or leave for the last moment the fresh products like chicken, meat, etc. That means, if you are out of home the whole day, cook everything you need for the week on Sunday, and each morning cook the fresh products, get some Tupperware , et voila, you can take them to anywhere you have to go, have a healthy snack or lunch and way cheaper than going to a fast food or any restaurant. This will save you too of starving moments where you need to get something to eat and you end up eating any kind of rubbish.

    Hope it helps you to eat better, feel stronger and be younger.

    • Frederick

      Thanks for the great comment Vince!

    • Minerva

      I do totally agree with you. By the time I banned junk food and the industrial shit off my house I feel so much better. Each meal has to have vegetables or at least fruits in it. Since I avoid butter and margarine and replaced it with olive oil, everything tastes so much better. I remember I was at my mum’s place once and I really wanted to eat somthing, so I took yoghurt from the fridge – it was disgusting. At first it was WAY to sweet and then it didn’t taste natural (by that time I used to make my own yogurt from fruit) … So it really works. You can achieve a better taste if you just be consequent. And I say this because I’m convinced – I was eating bad for more than 20 years till I finally understood how wonderful and tasty healthy and natural food is. :)

  • Sara

    Hi Zuzana ! I’m from Poland, and I love You videos ! Pozdrowienia z Polski !! :) :)

  • Eva

    I’m a pure product of the mediterranean sea (my roots are all over this sea).
    I was born and I live in France in the french riviera by the sea and I live in the border of Italy (which i often go for some grocery shopping).

    Well, basically we eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. We have lots of markets where we can buy fresh products from the farmer everyday.
    Important ingredients : tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, carots, onions, garlic, pepper, olive oil, lemons, oranges…
    I lived in the USA, I also travel a lot in many different countries. My main problem is not being able to find simple products such as fresh vegetables and fresh fruits for a good price. Also when i needed to eat outside it was impossible to buy healthy paninis, sandwichs with simple products and “healthy sauce” or “vinaigrette”…

  • Tina

    I am from Slovenia and must say tht I didn`t even know for MOST of “your” American eating problems, problems with processed food etc. I haven`t been in America jet and we here have very different food, apparentely!
    As I read all your articles about food, Frederick, I even don`t have nothing smart to say, cause I never even knew for all those American food problems. Here, We are very different and so, even Food inc. movie and MP`s books etc. do not have WOW revealing-the truth-factor for us. We just don`t have those gross foods, so we don`t have to deal with that kind of stuff. But I must admit it must be ugly if you are American and raised with all that processed and other bad food.
    So, the only thing I can contribute here is my experience. We live pretty healthy here what concerned food, we cook at home ALL the time, we don`t have processed food, we even don`t know what that corn sirup is. We have lots of amll, tiny fields and little farmers from whom you can buy all that helathy food and those farmers sell their helathy stuff in supermarkets (which are not big). Our chains of food are small, we have all different economy and the whole foundamental thing about that is so different than Americans. We can watch helthy cows and chickens wondering around our houses, literaly! They are free and healthy, live slow life like we do. I can`t believe have different we are from Americans! We are little and the only bad thing here are few Macdonalds here and there, but not as half unhealthy as American ones, apperantelly!

    Sorry for Americans, I really am.

    Better food for everyone, screw those inc.`s!!!
    Its all about the money, yes. Unfortunatelly. Europe is so much better place to be what concernes food!

    Tina

  • tbone

    Hello Zuzana! We are loving you in America babe!

    Zuzana, from your expertise, what are good late night snacks, if any that you could recommend?

    Thank you and continued success!!

    xo

  • http://www.goddesscarlie.com/tag/weight-loss/ GoddessCarlie

    Same as Samia, I’m wondering what you do to for protein intake?

  • Noah

    I am very interested in Nutrition and so I make it a priority of mine to eat right and in proportion. I take a mental note of the things I eat during the day so I make sure to fit in everything my body needs to stay healthy. Fruits and Vegetables make up about 60% of my diet while the other 40% consist of grains, nuts, dairy and a little bit of meat(I consume meat every couple of days). I do not buy food that advertises having more than 6% of my daily fat in one serving or that has any trans fat. I have also trained myself to eat healthy by cutting out anything with high fructose corn syrup in it and by making my meals instead. It is easier to keep track of what you put into your body and saves you money when making your own food. I challenge others to cut out eating out at restaurants if you do so more than once every 3 weeks. Also, don’t eat any sweets or junk food. Instead, when you get the craving for something sweet, eat some natural fruit.

  • http://ozziepossum-diyhealthfitness.blogspot.com/ ozziepossum

    I agree with eating the grass fed meat rather than grain fed. Much healthier. You will find that grain fed beef for example contains hormones and anitbiotics, primarily for the cattle to grow faster and provie more “meat”. That sort of unnatural product cannot be good for you! You might as well eat at Maccas!

    I don’t use vegetable oil. I much prefer Olive Oil if I need to use oil at all.

    The Mediterranean Diet is wonderful, healthy and very flavoursome!

    Dee
    Aussie Aussie Aussie, Yum Yum Yum!!

  • bea

    Hi Frederick

    I have the pleasure to eat a good sandwich of bread with a little salted butter, to mix vegetables and cereal with walnuts, to crunch a piece of black chocolate, a sandwich of bread (still!!) with some cheese…
    But I always choose organic products and quality.

    I prefer to eat less but better.
    And I am a french .

  • http://bodyblog.tv Lish Weese

    My family is half italian and they have unfortunately adapted to the western diet these days. Because I was interested in learning how the Italians dine, I researched the Mediterranean Diet on my own time. I enjoyed reading your tips, thanks you for sharing!! I am feeling down today because of the cold and icy weather and one of Zuz’s exercise routines is just what I am needing! I don’t think you guys will ever realize how much good you are doing for others. Have a nice evening!!!!

  • hipretty

    Hallo,

    I am surprised at all the data I am seeing here on Mediteranean Diet… I was sick with bronchitis, and continued along until it became pnuemonia…so I have been absent from here for a while. But I was under the impression you guys do Eat Clean Diet not Mediteranean Diet. Why all the input on Mediteranean Diet all of a sudden. Did you guys switch over??

  • http://bodyrock Terry

    Never saw it from that point of view…quality instead of quantity…Thanks!

  • Heather

    It’s hard for me to know the right thing to do. My husband is a body builder, very muscular and very meticulous about his diet. His diet revolves around protein. MEAT MEAT and more MEAT! Then I come on here and read you guys saying that your should only have meat once in a while and make most of your meals full of grain and vegetables. I wish that there was something out there that could just point at which side was correct.
    Here’s my questions… If I let my husband read this he would roll his eyes and say, ‘Look at how healthy body builders are, their diets revolve around lean protein.’ and he would continue from there.
    1.How often do you eat meat? How many days a week?
    2.What do you eat for dinner if you don’t have a meat portion? I was raised as many people were, dinner revolves around the meat- the pork chop, the chicken, the roast, the ham, the hamburger, spaghetti without ground turkey or beef just isn’t spaghetti… it’s unheard of to not have meat with a dinner, that is what ‘makes’ dinner dinner
    3.Why do you think that meat should be scarce in your diet?

    Thanks, I hope to hear back from you on this one as it is very important to me.

    • Pamela

      I’ve grown up with the same mentality of meat is what makes ‘dinner’ dinner. I’d like some example new dinners! :)

  • ooo la la

    Good stuff!
    Mediterranean like most non-Caucasian diets use many types of legumes to increase their protein consumption.

  • Louise

    Samia – beans, beans and more beans! Also tofu. I used to be a junk food junkie in my late teens and swore I would never eat that “rabbit food”, but once I learned to cook with beans and tofu I found a whole new world of flavour! They are soooo versatile (and mega cheap)! One of my favorite things to nibble on is endemame beans roasted in the oven with salt and pepper. Gorgeous with a glass of wine.

  • ~Mary Liz~

    What a great topic. You got me thinking and I think I did pick-up a lot of my eating habits when I was living near Venezia, Italia.

    The things I love most about my diet is that I never feel like I am depriving myself. All the foods are whole foods (not low fat) and I’ve found the key is to savor my foods. I love to eat and I take my time enjoying whatever I am eating. I don’t have to eat a lot to feel full when I am really savoring the meal.

    Also, it seems like my grossary shopping consists of 3/4 – 1/4 parts. I spend 3/4 of my time and cart space in the produce section – then 1/4 of my time and cart space in “other Parts” of the market. In the summer I go to the local produce farms/markets, and I generally only eat local beef and fresh caught local fish as well. I’ve found that I don’t eat meat everyday. I have more energy if I only enjoy a steak once or twice a week. (Plus when I have stir fry and such I just feel huntry afterward – wierd I know). The beef I buy is cheap but I really enjoy mozzarella and bean dishes and such. I also don’t feel the need to have meat when I am eating quinoa in that meal.

    Fresh veggies go in everything – eggs, quinoa, cassaroles, I mean everything and with the right herbs and spices…everything is always so tasty.

    When I want something sweet I ususally mix bananna, strawberries, blueberries (slice bannana & strawberries very thin) and have that salad. It’s my fav “kill the craving” dish, and if I am feeling very hungry when I have it I will drink a glass of organic whole milk with it… really hits the spot and I never want anything after I’ve had that.

  • Melina

    I love that you mentioned grass-fed meat…so important.

    I eat tons of good fats, very little carbs, and no sugar. If I do have sugar it’s infrequent and comes in the form of fruit. I use the herb Stevia as a sweetener. I eat plenty of coconut products (oil, cream, meat). I eat raw fermented dairy (cheese, butter, kefir, yogurt), I am just starting to incorporate meats after being vegetarian for a while, and I eat fermented veggies and fermented fruits. My main fuel comes from fats and I’m not fat. I’m a female that wears size extra small – small and from my experience fat doesn’t make me fat, it only makes me leaner.

    Try burning fat an see how you feel.

  • http://rathernotsay Sabrina

    I am Canadian but I have been living in Italy for many years. Firstly I would like to point out that you should only use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, preferably cold pressed. I buy mine from the farmer and when they finish with the olives they throw them on a big pile outside to rot, often the workers urinate on this pile as it seen as just waste. Later this pile is brought in and repressed to make Olive oil. Its still better then most oils especially because u can guarantee that its not GMO but now that you know this do u really want to eat it?? Secondly a lot can be said for the trace minerals found in Italian veggies and meat. To often these minerals are lacking in western food as fields are not replenished with the proper fertilizers. When u lose those minerals you body doesn’t function properly and cannot reverse damage done to it. When the minerals are present then the body easily repairs its self and disease is virtually unseen. Sadly in the west even eating organic food does not guarantee that the food contains these trace elements. The best way to in sure eating properly is also to grow the food yourself.

  • Nicole M-H(Trinidad, Caribbean)

    Well being from the islands myself and doing a Agricultural degree I know that our farmers send their organic produce to Europe and America and to other countries because they fetch better prices on the outside markets. So we have less options when it comes to organic. But we as a people don’t have a strong enough passion for organic foods or rather don’t know about it, so we just eat what we get or can only afford the non-organic. Mind you our fast food is not cheap either.
    I myself, try to eat healthy because I have IBS so my body can not tolerate all the junk, and fatty foods that everyone else can tolerate.

  • Iriletta S.

    Hi! I live in Greece and I have to say that even if I haven’t travel in other countries, I can mention a big difference between our diet and yours. I have seen recipe websites and I said “Oh my god, how do people eat all these?”!!
    Here we use a lot the olive oil and feta cheese and the truth is that in general greek people only the last few years seem to care about the really healthy way of diet, because of the diseases that have come up. Greeks are famous about eating a lot, either home made foods or restaurant foods.
    I would like to share with you and your readers a traditional greek salad which I don’t know if you have ever tasted. Here are the ingredients:
    “Choriatiki Salad”: All chopped in peaces, Tomato, cucumber, dry onion, a peace of feta, green pepper, olives, fresh oregano and fresh olive oil!

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  • buket

    Hi I am Turkish. here is my delicious,fast,healthy Turkish food called “melemen”:

    olive oil
    tomatoes
    sweet green and red chili fresh papers
    onion and garlic(optional)
    mince meat (optional, if you want to add meat stir fry it first)
    eggs
    parsly
    salt

    cook onion in olive oil with salt. dont burn it, just till it gets softish. then add fresh chopped papers. stir together. add chopped tomatoes and garlic. cook it for about 5 min till all veg. cooked. break egg(s) on top of the vegetables. stir a bit. add chopped fresh parsley and close a lid of the pot. leave it a minute to rest.

    This food should not take more then 10 min. Basically you add the vegies one by one and stir each time. The heat should not be too low. just medium.

    ENJOY :)

  • Pikmin

    I know Fast Food franchises in Italy had an hard time to settle here, but still… as a population, we’re not less affected by western diseases than anyone else in Europe or North America. I have lived in Ireland, where if they could, they would use butter even as toothpaste :-S I’m still wondering why they’re not all dead by their thirties:)
    Let’s object to some food myths. I’ve said this in a previous post, in Italy portions are huge. Plus, processed food are big here as well, and the more society adapts to a fast-paced lifestyle, the less “traditional” families out there, the more crap we eat. Let’s also cut out northern Italy from the discussion, where we have probably heard the word “pasta”, “fish“, “oil” probably around the 50’s/60’s, not before. Sometimes I think that “Mediterranean diet” works as some kind of alibis for people who in fact are not very committed to eat well… In the end, when it comes to diet habits in Italy, as we say here, I’ve only a few ideas, but confused : ) : )
    Ciao!
    Pikmin

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  • Victoria

    First of all, hi everyone.

    Second, legumes have as protein quantity as meat or eggs, but in a different way because they are vegetable proteins. It’s better to eat 3-4 times/week of legumes than any kind of meat or animal protein.

    I didn’t think that olive oil would be so difficult to find or expensive to buy out of Spain. I thought that olive oil exportation didn’t raise its price very much (you know, because the transport improves every day). I can’t think how it could be living without it, here we use it a lot, and personally I couldn’t take anyother.

    Of course we have salami, but in general people prefer other kind of meat (if you have proved it, you know what I mean with that ;) )

    And, finally, the best thing of the Mediterranean diet for me is all the variety of traditional homemade recipes we have here, all made only with real and organic food from the vegetable gardens and orchards, tasty and delightful!!

    P.D. I really like our confections and dessert ^^ By the way, it’s going to be very hard for me joinning to the sweet challenge, but I’ll start today!

  • http://www.topsportsgroup.nl Daphne

    Hi Zuzana, Frederique and all the visitors of this site..
    I live in Holland and spent my holidays in Spain.

    Spanish people also eat a lot of fish and therefore they don’t eat meat all the time. I believe that fish contains much better fats than meat.

    Besides that, their main meal is in the afternoon, in the evening they eat just a small meal. This is something I personally like very much.

    And the food in Spain is very basic: a salad has just all the basic and pure ingredients like tomato’s, letuche, onions, pepers, olives and the dressing is also very simple and pure: oil (olive-), vinegar, pepper and salt. That is it! Delicious.

    In Holland we do have a lot of biologic, organic food in special stores and in the supermarkets. That is great.

    For gravings I would suggest to eat dried fruits like apricots, raisins, mango, cranberries without any additives, oil or sugars on it. It is delicious, a lot of calories, but absolutely healthy and it is full of fibres. So: try it, I would say….

    Have a nice Sunday.

  • Daniela

    I love my italian diet because it’s healhy and simple. And most of all it’s very rich of wonderfull ad clean flavours, so you feel very satified after each meal!

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  • Iris

    Hello you two,
    I am from Germany and I appreciate a lot more the mediterrian cooking than the german.I really like preparing my food and cooking with my boyfriend.I also try to buy quality.Ww were a few times in egypt and I really the loved the way they prepare the food.In a way they just mix all the vegetables together into different salads and each combination just tastes very yummy!!And also the big offering of fresh fish is great!
    You said that we should buy only olive oil if it is vegetable oil-but what do you think about canola oil?I heard it is even more valuable with its ingrediants than loive oil.What do you think about it?

    Nice weekend-hey today is the first day here in South Germany with a lot sun that just reminds me of SUMMER!!!!

    So now I will go directly to do my workout!!!!

  • Healthy Mama

    Samia raises a great question on protein. Do you have a Protein during each meal and if so what does it mostly come from grains and vegetables. I usually don’t really keep track of the amount but I usually have about 2 or 3 egg whites or a little bit of chicken breast each meal with my vegetables and grains but now I am wondering if having a food mostly protein is necessary at every meal.

    Healthy Mama

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  • Azier-’di

    Ok, So I’ve never been to any of those places.I’ve never been out of the U.S. I’m from the Carolina’s and I love Southern food. Homemade meals are the best…..Homemade Mac n Cheese and Homemade Biscuits are my specialty…I Love to eat anything that’s good. The recipe Zuzana posted up I think I’m going to try…it looked yummy :-)

  • http://www.wix.com/janine1/janine-sleem Janine from Jerusalem

    My favorite part has always been the variety. Unlike the western diet, we almost never sat around a table to only one or two things, like steak and fries. Instead, we would lay out the largest spread of prepared foods and fruits, dairy spreads, breads and so on. The entire extended family would sit around the table and we would each have a little bit of everything, and that is what made it so satisfying.

    We incorporated fruits and vegetables into almost every meal, and everything was always fresh picked, baked, cooked and freshly slaughtered animals that were free roaming, cage free and never corn fed.

    My mother would always say that whether it is one bite, or an entire meal, it’s always going to taste the same. It’s a philosophy I still live by, finding satisfaction in a little bite of everything.

    Unfortunately, this is very unrealistic for most Western families working 9-5 and constantly surrounded by cleverly labeled engineered, imported and processed foods.

  • Yvonne

    I don’t know why we feel the need to eat meat every night….? The idea of eating higher quality meat a few times a week rather than crappy meat every night is much more appealing.
    As for keeping protein levels up, beans are a great source of protein and so versatile. And I know here in Canada, most people eat too much protein anyway.

  • http://mariemolinski@blog[email protected] Marz

    I’ve lived most of my life in between Spain & Portugal, now I live in Mexico…but what i remember & miss from the Mediterranean diet is fish, they eat lots of fish…its I personally don’t care much for red meat. I mainly get my protein from fish & Chicken, plus it’s less fatty…altho once in a while I’ll have a nice steak just for variety.
    Another thing they drink wine with every meal, which isn’t bad for you either, it’s supposed to help the digestion.
    I miss the spanish Chorizo & hamon serrano..ahh sooo good, glad it’s extremely expensive here or else I’d eat it everyday.ha

  • MikeK

    Corn oil is actually poor oil to consume. Olive oil, coconut oil and flax oil are healthy to consume.

    Meat is insanely expensive in Canada, I usually eat it once a week and that is it. High consumption of meat raises risk of colon cancer and also can weaken your bones. If you an illness it’s best to keep meat consumption to a minimum.

    For those of you think you need high protein, it’s wrong. You don’t meat much protein. Looks the biggest animals creates they do not consume high protein diet.

    High protein diet will shorten your life span.

  • Pearl

    Hey Zuzana,

    I thought of a workout heading of a name for you,

    “Murder She Wrote”

    =)

  • Christian Baumann

    I´m German, not mediterranean, and german food is not exactly what I would call “gourmet”. Nonetheless I´d like to share my own little recipe of personal junk food. I love to drink shakes with avocado, banana, strawberry, ginger and vanilla soya milk. Variations are always possible, but this is the holy elixir for me. Try it, it sounds a bit weird, but I bet you won´t regret it.
    Cheers!

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  • Hilary

    When I was in Greece, there were lots and lots of fish dishes using cuttlefish and squid. Instead of the usual beer (which was watered down where we were staying) we drank lots of red wine. We ate loads of fresh olives, they always had loads of vegetables on hand. Lots of fresh fruit too. I felt great while I was there and not sluggish. The best thing about incorporating this kind of diet in your life when you live in North America is that the water pressure of the toilets here is so much stronger, because this diet does make someone extremely, uh, “regular”.

  • Samia

    Great points and advice
    I am 22 and it’s not easy for me to afford spending on high quality meats since I have so much of school expenses! But, that is definitely something I will start doing once I am in a position to afford it. I eat mostly chicken, fish, eggs everyday in order to get my protein…and I can’t buy organic, grass-fed or like (although I wish I could) but do make sure the meats and fish are decent quality and not loaded with hormones/steroids/antibiotics.

    What I am wondering is…if you lower the meat consumption, how do you keep your protein intake high everyday? Whole grains and vegetables etc tend to have much lesser protein…
    Any input??

    • Pati

      I can think of tofu and beans as a source of protein but I am also wondering what else could be used in place of meat? Besides fish?

    • thomas

      try quinoa, kidney beans, seitan (obviously only if you can process gluten properly), tofu, feta. except for the tofu, all are delicious choices ;)

      and stay away from fish, fish is even worse off than meat nowadays (have a look: http://www.amazon.com/Bottomfeeder-Ethically-World-Vanishing-Seafood/dp/1596912251)

    • Natasha

      There are lots of ways to get the protein that you need such as beans (chick peas, black beans, pinto beans etc.) There also is the ancient grain quinoa which is the only grain with all 8 amino acids required for building muscle. You cook it like rice and you can eat it instead of rice, oatmeal, etc. There are lots of soy based products. I cook my oatmeal or quinoa with soy milk for even extra protein. Tofu is great because it is a blank canvas, Add any flavour sweet or savory and it sucks it in. Use it with stirfrys, soft tofu for desserts or protein shakes. There also is vegetable, soy, or brown rice protein powder for after Zuzana’s brutal work outs!!! A have been weight training, and doing Bikrams yoga for quite a few years back to back and I have no problem building muscle and I am a vegan. Good luck !

    • P

      Half a cup of tofu has about 20 grams, Beans are around 7-10 grams for a half cup, I’ve seen yogurt that has 11 grams, eggs are like 6 grams each, and a half cup of cottage cheese is worth about 15 grams.. Some of these foods added to diet rich in veggies and grains might give you the protien you’re looking for. Hope this helps :-)

    • Debra M

      Hi Samia,
      I just took a class on nutrition (I’m going into nursing), and a project we did was to record our food intake for three days and enter it into a food tracker (I used mypyramid.gov). The only meat I had over three days was one slice of bacon…and I met my protein needs for all three days, just from whole grains and veggies and peanut butter.

      Our protein needs are lower than we think, since our body actually recycles amino acids to make protein that we need. Most people in America consume waaay more protein than they actually need.

    • Monique

      Hi Samia,

      This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions about eating less meat or being vegetarian: where do you get your protein?

      Actually, many meat eaters eat way to much protein to begin with, which puts stress on the kidneys and causes an acidification of your blood, therefore increasing calcium loss. So it’s actually not that hard to meet your daily protein requirements. As Frederick rightly pointed out, eating good quality meat only a one or twice a week (which probably works out to the same price as eating cheap meat everyday) is much better for you, better for the farmers who raise local, organic meat and better for the environment. The rest of the time, try experimenting with vegetarian food, especially protein rich lentils, beans seeds and nuts. An excellent site is vegsoc.org. As a vegetarian myself, I really find this to be a great resource. A good book, if you live in Europe, is ‘Beyond Baked Beans Green’ which is for students and has wonderful and easy veggie recipes.

      Good luck!

    • ~Mary Liz~

      With Quinoa(costs me about $6.00 a month), Beans (buy in bags and make yourself.. very low $), Dairy like Cottage Cheese etc etc… there are a lot of low price quality options. Good Luck!

    • Tiffany Stephens

      I agree, i find that hard to manage as well. But I do incorrporate a lot of nuts, spinach and high protein cereals as a sub often. I don’t like a lot of meat so I tend to sub quite a bit but I notice that I do tend to have hair and nail issues so I would like more ideas also.
      Thanks

    • Tiffany Stephens

      Oh…Quinoa is another inexpensive tasty way to get protein (goes great w/ veggies). Check under Zuzana’s Diet section archives for Salba posted 10/11/09 and Quinoa posted, uncertain of the post date.

    • Laura

      Protein is everywhere! Like you said, you’re eating eggs. Eggs are good, a boiled egg has about 6g of protein in it. But its in more places than you think.
      Dairy products have a ton of protein! cottage cheese, cheese and milk are good.
      Try some oatmeal, get a bag that you cook yourself, the pre-packaged stuff has way too much sugar in them!
      Have you heard of Quinoa? Its got more protein than your average grain product. Soy products have protein, and nuts and seeds do too. Especially peanuts and almonds, any kind of bean, pumpkin seeds and flax are great ways to get protein too. Talk to any vegetarian! Theres tons of ways to get the right amount of it without meat.
      Just look up some high protein veggies and its easy to give up meat all together.

    • http://www.gizmonkee.com Josh

      Try beans, Legumes etc. These sorts of things are packed with protein. Maybe some soy too, tofu tastes like whatever you put it in and is great source of protein. Nuts, like almonds have high fat content but good fats, and are packed with protein. I think a serving of almonds has 9g or protein in it. And don’t buy salted, sugar coated nuts. Stick with regular plain old nuts. You’ll find they are tastier than expected. I am in college and find buying nuts and big ol bags of vegetables is a great way to minimize intake of crap. Personally like to get frozen vegetables, I suppoe they lose some of their nutritional value but I know the brand I get has absolutely nothign added, just vegetables. So feeling hungry boil a few vegetables and put some hot pepper flakes on top and a touch of olive oil. Or munch on a few almonds!

    • Vegan_Laura

      All beans aka chili, hummus, burritos & soy products like tofu and boca-burgers, edamame. Nuts aka peanut butter, pine nuts topping spaghetti, walnuts on oatmeal etc. It is really easy to skip discusting dairy nowadays w/ almond milk, soy milk, rice milk etc too which is enriched w/ calcium & vitamin D. To get more vitamin D through food try mushrooms. You can get calcium fortified cereals, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli etc have calcium as well as almonds & much more. <3

    • mary

      hi, samia.
      legumes are a good source of vegetable proteins,fibers and micronutrients, and also very low in fats and help to reduce cholesterol. good sources of animal proteins are eggs and dairy products. it’s better not to abuse eggs, ’cause they’re rich in fat (especially the red), and you should limit also cheese, but you can eat yogurt every day, it can also replace your meat in a meal (e.g. bread + veggies + oil + fruit + yogurt).

      • Lindsey W

        Nuts are also a good source of protien.

    • Samia

      Wow…I appreciate all this input!!
      I do eat quinoa, beans, soy, eggs, cottage cheese and all the stuff mentioned actually :)
      But I calculated my calorie intake and ratios (according to 1-2-3 nutrition rule) and I must first say I have fast metabolism and am a hardgainer…my protein intake is supposed to be 130 grams per day! That’s a lot of protein and yes, I am very active and need to eat quite a bit to put on mass. If I take out meat and fish which contains up to 30 grams of protein in 4 oz…consuming so much of beans, quinoa etc to make up for that also means a lot of carbs! Carbs aren’t as bad as they say…but I don’t want to go overboard either…in order to not gain fat
      Also, I steer away from tofu and dairy since they are not exactly great sources of protein…I eat them minimally…

  • Alex

    What i as a greek girl love about the Mediterranean diet is the rich flavors added in small amounts of feta or olives, or capers that bring such satisfaction to your taste buds. The flavor of lemon wakes up your mouth–the stronger taste of spinach or hummus even the different taste of lamb makes you stop and think while you are eating–it is hard to eat a well prepared home cooked greek meal and not do so slowly….its so satisfying! As for the treats, you are right–home made galactoburico takes a work and its so good, but you cant eat it every day–much too rich–i dont think you could even if you tried! Your body just says enough!

    Enjoy your food!!! :)

    • Tiffany Stephens

      He Alex,
      Do you have a nice flavorful Greek meal you can share. I love all of the items you announced but I just don’t know how to put them together and make them low calorie and sutable for kids age 2 and 5. Any quick dinner ideas would be great!
      Thanks

      • Tiffany Stephens

        Oh…Quinoa is another inexpensive tasty way to get protein (goes great w/ veggies). Check under Zuzana’s Diet section archives for Salba posted 10/11/09 and Quinoa posted, uncertain of the post date.

  • Yada

    The favorite things about my diet? Have a craving for something salty (people think potato chips or fries)? – eat a kalamata olive or two, have some feta on your whole wheat bread sandwich.

    have a craving for something sweet? – eat a ripe and juicy mango :) not good enough? melt some dark organic chocolate on a whole wheat waffle and top that with low fat vanilla yogurt… yum!!!!

    Strategies like this allow me to satisfy my cravings, especially around that “pms” time of the month, without feeling guilty about eating over-processed junk.

    • Tiffany Stephens

      That sounds terrific all sounds terrific. I think i’ll introduce that to the kids, and me, not until after my thirty days are up on the chocolate unless anyone knows of an unrefined choc w/o sugar added?

      • Tiffany Stephens

        found it Ghirardelli has an unsweetend choc i’m guessing the yogurt would add a little sweet flavor to the bitter tasting unsweetend chocolate. I’ll let you know. Thanks for the healthy snacking ideas

  • Zuzana

    I was in Spain last summer and the very thing I noticed about Spanish diet (as compared to Czech diet; I’m Czech) is that you won’t see this cheap salami and meat in Spain at all, only real, quality meat. You know that Czech salami and meat products in particular are not in fact made of meat but of a disgusting mix of skin, bone, wheat and Lord knows what – and Czech people love to buy it because it’s cheap. I haven’t encountered anything short of quality meat and meat products in Spain, and it was very refreshing, although it made me sad that meat of this quality (and price, naturally) would have a hard time finding a customer in the Czech rep.

    Nice reading from you, btw. Good luck in Malta!
    Zuzana

    • Pavlina

      Well first of all, not all meats and salami in Czech Republic are made from some disgusting mix, we also have real quality meats on the market and plenty of it. And second of all not every czech is cheap to buy better product.

    • andrew

      you are very lucky that excellent quality foods are not easily obtained. In the U.S. fat foods are available everywhere and any where and everyone is fat. Disgusting to sit in a public area and watch people go by. Nearly all are obese and disgusting. I have been a vegeatarion all my life. I just married a very nice and beautiful girl that likes meat. Recently she made scrapple (bones, ears, butt etc.) and fed it to my daughters. Very gross. I don’t know how anyone can eat that. Love your videos. Very inspiring. More difficult than it looks. Take care. Andrew

    • Libor

      Ahoj Zuzano

      Napsala jsi , ze jsi ceska a tak pisu cesky…
      Zajímá mě tvůj názor na sušenou šunku, pršut, nebo carpacio..? ( jsem na ně zatížený ;-) ).

    • Cheyenne

      I’m an American who has never been to the Mediterranean (yet), but my Dad served a Mormon mission in Spain for two years. He has quite a few recipes that he learned there, my favorite would have to be a dish called paeya. It consists of lots of shellfish, chicken, rice and saffron. It’s incredibly delicious, filling, and good for you too!

      Thanks for your site. It has given me lots of good ideas!