Mediterranean Diet – “There’s no stoppin’ the Cretans from hoppin’”

Yeah, yeah.  I know it’s “cretin”.  But I’ll use any gimmick I can to get you to read on.  Even shameless hacking of my beloved Ramones.  Why?  Because instead of a lobotomy, shock treatment, or other sedation I want you to be happy, healthy and divinely aware.  And I bet Joey, may he rest in peace, would now agree with me.

So what we’re talking about here is the Mediterranean diet.  Yeah, you’ve been hearing about it since the 60’s but there’s a reason; it’s great for you.  The discovery of the Mediterranean Diet was actually the byproduct of a seven country wide study on diet and disease patterns throughout the world which also established the connection between saturated fat and heart disease.

So now we’re narrowing down to our great Greek islander’s.  During the course of the study it was discovered that some of the longest life spans and lowest rates of heart disease were found in the people of Crete.  Later studies confirmed that Cretans also had much lower rates of cancer as well as type 2 diabetes.

Now they call it the Mediterranean Diet but it’s really the whole lifestyle because in addition to the way they ate (which hadn’t changed much since ancient times), the hardy people of Crete, mainly farmers, got loads of physical activity.  But what about their diet?  Delicious meals full of vegetables and fruits, abundant in beans and fish, and almost devoid of red meat and processed foods, the Cretans regularly took in high amounts of fat—40 percent of their daily calories—but most of it came from olive oil; their average saturated-fat intake was among the world’s lowest.  And this diet has stood the clinical test as well.  Huge studies have shown that when people are put on a Mediterranean eating program, they tend to live longer and have lower rates of heart disease and some cancers.

So how do you do the Cretan hop?  Eat more whole foods and fewer processed foods; use unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated fats like olive oil, for cooking and flavoring foods, and for salad dressings; eat an abundance of vegetables, especially leafy greens, every day; eat more servings of fruits, grains and legumes than animal-based foods, and include low-fat or fat-free dairy products; serve beans and fish as your main protein sources; make small amounts of meat an occasional treat, rather than a daily staple; and enjoy nuts, such as almonds, peanuts and walnuts, regularly, in moderate amounts.

Remember, “All good Cretans go to heaven” (Ok I’ve taken this one too far.)

Be well,


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