fbpx

What is the Mediterranean diet and why is it considered one of the healthiest diets in the world? Print

ctv morning news logoThe Mediterranean diet, which has been shown by hundreds of peer reviewed scientific journal articles to be one of the healthiest diets on earth for preventing chronic disease including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in plant-based foods such as grains like pasta and bread, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil as well small portions of fish, seafood, lean meat, cheese and wine.

Can you set the record straight on pasta, which is sometimes mistakenly cut back on due to recent fad diets?

Mediterranean diet - pasta dishPasta is often mistaken as one of those foods that we need to cut back due to recent diet fads promoting low-carb and gluten-free diets. However, despite common misconceptions, pasta does provide the perfect foundation for a healthy diet and is part of the Mediterranean diet, considered one of the healthiest diets in the world.

As a complex carbohydrate, and when cooked al dente, most pastas have a low Glycemic Index value, making it a great way to get grain-based foods into your diet. Low Glycemic Index foods promote satiety and go into the blood stream slowly preventing blood sugar rushes, which is better for your health.

In addition, it’s tasty, easy to make and can be a source of B-vitamins and fibre.

To benefit from even more nutrients from your pasta meals, consider adding Barilla PLUS pasta into your weekly dinnertime routine. Barilla PLUS is a new premium, multigrain pasta which contains protein, fibre and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It tastes great and it’s a quick and easy solution for providing a delicious balanced meal that even the pickiest eaters in your family will enjoy.

What are some easy ways to incorporate more Mediterranean eating patterns here in Canada?

  • Don’t be fat phobic! Some people have been unnecessarily removing even healthy fats out of their diet. Research is showing it is the TYPE of fat that is most important. Healthy fats in the Mediterranean such as olive oil, nuts and fish are good things to eat regularly.
  • Pro pasta: The Mediterranean diet includes pasta as a staple. Use a good quality pasta cooked al dente and enjoy healthy additions such as olive oil, nuts, grilled seafood, beans, tomatoes, plenty of veggies and a sprinkle of strong cheese for flavor. For added protein, fibre and omega-3 fats (which are all key nutrients in the Mediterranean diet), try the new Barilla PLUS pasta.
  • Boost your veggies! The Mediterranean diet includes a wide variety of veggies and fruits. Try something new such as eggplant, arugula and broccoli rabe. They are all loaded with phytonutrients to prevent cancer and heart disease. Try grilled eggplant slices brushed with olive oil and garlic on the BBQ. Try arugula on a mushroom pizza or as a salad with a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette. Try broccoli rabe sautéed or roasted with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and topped with toasted nuts.
  • Sensible portions of seafood and meats: If you like fish and seafood these are great additions to your weekly supper meals. Choose small portions of meat, poultry and cheese for protein. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes a plant-based diet, which is not only good for you, but it is also good for the environment.
  • Find balance: The Mediterranean is known for both whole grains as well as some white breads, white pastas, couscous etc. and they still achieve good health. Asia is the same with white rice. No extremes are necessary – food needs to be both healthful and soulful. You don’t need to eliminate white foods such as white rice, white pasta or white bread totally out of your diet. Health Canada suggests consuming half or more of your grains as whole grain.
  • Share: In true Mediterranean style a good meal is often accompanied with a glass of wine and the company of family or friends at a slower pace to truly savor the food.

Where can I find out more information on the Mediterranean diet and recipe ideas?

For additional recipes, please visit www.barilla.ca and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/barillacanada.

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF.

As seen in

  •  

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This