I’m sure you’ve heard recent reports that adopting the so-called ‘Mediterranean’ Diet or the ‘Paleo Diet’ will help you beat heart disease. Or at least fend it off for a few years. But is it the specific diet that does your body good? I think it’s characteristics both diets share that do the magic.
A diet refresher
What are the Mediterranean and Paleo diets?
The Paleo Diet, popular with healthy eating advocates and athletes, is based on the principle that followers eat only what their distant ancestors had available to eat. The dictionary definition goes as follows:
A diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.
According to a recent story in Science Daily, the diet delivers 22 per cent fewer calories and 44 per cent fewer grams of carbohydrates than the normal western diet, which has been criticized for being high in carbs and calories. The high carbs and excess calories come mainly from the processed foods we consume, which also contain high levels of Salt.The Paleo Diet is also associated with a stronger immune system and modest weight loss.
The Mediterranean Diet is simply what the folks on the Med eat: Lots of fresh Fruits and Veggies, Olive Oil and Whole Grains. It also uses less Red Meat and relys mainly on Fish and Poultry for animal protein. Folks have been saying for ages that we eat too much red meat in the Western Diet. Oh! Let’s not forget one key ingredient in the Med Diet: Red Wine, consumed regularly but not to excess.
The Med Diet has been linked in a whole slew of reliable studies to improved Cardio Health.
So what does that all tell us?
It tells us to eat more Fish and Poultry and less Red Meat. Fish is expensive, but not nearly as pricey as Red Meat, these days and Poultry is downright cheap, by comparison. Both Fish and Poultry are already part of the Western Diet. No-brainer. Produce prices have rocketed in the past year or so. But we can still afford to eat plenty of Greens and Fruits. After all, pound for pound, kg for kg, Veggies and Fruits are much cheaper than Red Meats. Processed foods? They’re popular because they’re convenient. Maybe we should place a greater emphasis on the family-building power of preparing and eating meals together. That might deliver a lot of collateral benefits!
So, we don’t really need to change our diet completely to reap the benefits of either the Paleo or the Med diet. We just need to dial down some tantalizing, Salty, sugary, greasy, convenient processed foods and dial up the fresh foods. Dial down the expensive Res Meats and Dial up more affordable options such as Poultry and Fish.
And I firmly believe that everyone should have a bottle of Olive Oil and a Bottle of Red Wine in the house at all times.
~ Maggie J.