Our beautifully tanned Amanda Haberecht has just returned back from her well deserved break chilling out in the Mediterranean.

As she reminisces of her days spent cruising and reading and sleeping, we can’t help but notice how youthful and happy she is. As she tells us the stories about all the amazing yet simplified food she ate, you also can’t help but be infected by her holiday “blues” (um which is not blue at all). Let alone be inspired.

The Mediterraneans really do have it sorted.

The Mediterranean Diet and it’s Health Benefits

The typical Western diet is high in animal fats and preservatives, but low in fruit and vegetables. Scientific research has shown that this food combination is partially responsible for triggering many chronic diseases and cancers.

Research has also shown that following a Mediterranean diet can reduce the chance of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Switching from a Western to a Mediterranean diet represents a healthy lifestyle choice. It can reduce the risk of a premature death and increase the chance of a healthy retirement, free from long-term medication.

The word ‘Mediterranean’ refers to the origins of the diet, rather than needing to eat Greek or Italian foods – although, experimenting can be enjoyable and rewarding.

The overuse of salt in flavouring Western-style meals and fast foods has been linked with increased blood pressure. The healthy alternative is to replace the excess salt with herbs, as Mediterranean folk have done for many years. This can also add new flavours to quite simple pasta, rice dishes and stews.

The Mediterranean Diet is not about quick fix ‘superfoods’. Nor is it a strict list of what you should not eat. Rather, the Mediterranean Diet is a formula for healthy day-to-day eating over the long term.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.

The best part is you don’t need to be in the Mediterranean to adopt this lifestyle. All these components are available to us here in Australia. No matter the season. We are a very lucky country too.

Also, check out Blue Zones. This is a project identifying the diets and lifestyle characteristics of countries and zones that might explain longevity. It has developed the Power9 concepts of how to live longer better.

Who needs science anyway, when the proof is written all over Amanda’s face. ; )