TOTW Tuesday: If You’re Going to Follow a Diet, Follow This One

by Ashley on October 15, 2013

Hi friends! I hope your Tuesday is off to a great start. Today we’re talking “my least favorite word ever: diet.” But don’t be scared off, we’re talking about it in a good way!

During my internship at the Mayo Clinic, much of my time was spent studying the Mediterranean Diet. I hosted presentations, attended health fairs, and created several educational pieces touting the benefits of the diet. I guess you could say I became the “resident intern expert” regarding all things Mediterranean Diet.

Whenever anyone asks me which “diet” I recommend, I usually first tell them that I am not a fan of the word “diet,” but if I have to give them a specific answer, then it is definitely the Mediterranean Diet. I support this diet because through my studying, I have found it to be the most sustainable, balanced and supported by research.

So that is my Tip of the Week Tuesday: If you’re going to follow a diet, follow the Mediterranean Diet.

For those of you that don’t know what the Mediterranean Diet entails, it includes the following:

  • High intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and unrefined grains
  • Regular use of unrefined olive oil
  • Low intake of saturated fats such as butter
  • Moderate intake of lean fish and poultry
  • Low-to-moderate intake of dairy products (cheese and yogurt)
  • Low consumption of eggs (0-4/week)
  • Moderate intake of red wine (up to one five-oz. glass per day for women, and up to two five-oz. glasses per day for men)
Oldways Med Diet Pyramid
{Pyramid Source]
Extensive research suggests that the Mediterranean Diet provides the following benefits:
  • Decreased risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Provides disease fighting antioxidants
  • Helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) 
As mentioned yesterday, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, therefore, the benefits provided by this diet can all help us reduce this number. (Here I go talking about heart health again!)
So how exactly can you follow this diet? By making the following small changes, you can see that it’s actually not that hard. Here’s what a typical day following the Mediterranean Diet would look like this:
  • whole-grains, fruits and low-fat/fat-free dairy (or a non-dairy sub) for breakfast
  • veggies and fish for lunch
  • vegetable based dishes (think veggie soup, veggie stir-fry, etc.), whole-grains, olive oil and a glass of red wine with dinner (not to say that you should start drinking alcohol if you don’t already consume it)
  • fresh fruit for dessert
Pretty easy right?!
While at the Mayo Clinic, I created this handy cheat sheet so that you can see just what those numbers and serving looks like and be well on your way to a healthy heart and healthy life! Print it, slap it on your fridge and see just how your diet (as in the foods you consume) stacks up to the Mediterranean Diet!
Med Diet HO How Much
Note: This chart is based on the original recommendations that were studied and align with the research supporting the Diet’s benefits.
Also note: I left alcohol off of this chart on purpose to ensure that no one confused that I was promoting the introduction of alcohol into one’s diet if he/she didn’t drink already. However, if you are choosing to include alcohol than the recommendation is no more than one five-ounce glass of wine for women per day and no more than two five-ounce glasses of wine per day for men.
Have an awesome day!
Good health!

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