Have you ever wondered what to eat on a Mediterranean diet? In recent years, this plant-based lifestyle has become increasingly popular due to reports touting its many benefits. The following is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) that I been asked the most by readers.
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Answers To Your Mediterranean Diet Questions
I've gathered the most frequently asked questions I've received about a plant-based Mediterranean diet here. But if you don't find the answer to your question, please leave a comment. I'm here to help!
And since I'm vegan, I personally don't consume any animal products including fish, poultry, and dairy.
However, you may choose to eat these foods in moderation.
What To Eat On A Mediterranean Diet FAQ
The foods included in the Mediterranean diet are similar to those that make up a whole-foods plant-based diet. These foods include vegetables and fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains, breads, and potatoes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, and extra virgin olive oil.
Foods to avoid include highly processed foods, refined grains, processed meats, added sugars, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
Because this lifestyle is based on whole unprocessed foods with an emphasis on vegetables and fruits and includes natural exercise like walking, it's possible to lose weight. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.
Start by planning meals around produce, legumes and beans, and whole grains. Cook with olive oil instead of butter. Try plant-based milk and yogurt instead of dairy, and eliminate red meat. And if you like, enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner, in moderation.
When it comes to breakfast, it's okay to think outside the box. Traditional American favorites like whole-grain cold cereal or oatmeal with fruit are wonderful with non-dairy milk. Or try toast topped with vegan Garlic Yogurt Sauce with Herbs with a side of Mediterranean Cucumber Salad. And if you enjoy smoothies, try a Pineapple Green Smoothie.
Yes, you can enjoy pasta topped with vegetable-based sauces. Whole-wheat pasta is a great choice. And gluten-free options include noodles made from quinoa, rice, and/or corn. Some of my favorite recipes include Cherry Tomato Pasta with Fresh Basil, Roasted Vegetable Pasta, and Spinach Orzo Salad.
Yes, corn is considered a whole grain like wheat, rice, and oats. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is in a grilled Corn Tomato Salad.
While avocado may not be native to the region, it can definitely be included as a source of fat. And avocado oil is another great option to use in place of butter.
In moderation, dark chocolate is allowed since it doesn't contain as much sugar. Choose dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa beans for a naturally sweet treat.
Yes, popcorn is a wonderful snack since it's a whole grain. But top it with a drizzle of olive oil instead of butter. And try seasoning it with herbs and spices instead of too much salt.
Yes, you can eat peanut nutter and other nut butters. However, look for ones that don't contain added sugar.
Since the Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and healthy oils, it is considered anti-inflammatory. You can learn more from Harvard Medical School's Foods that fight inflammation.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes enjoying delicious plant-based meals, moderate daily exercise, socializing with friends and family, spending time in nature, and having a sense of purpose in life.
It's flexible in that there is no one set of rules regarding what you should eat. Rather you can choose the cuisines and dishes you enjoy that are based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and extra virgin olive oil. To me, this lifestyle is a recipe for happiness and longevity.
More helpful Mediterranean diet information
For more information about the Mediterranean diet and ideas for what to eat, check out the following posts:
- Mediterranean Diet will give you more information about the traditional lifestyle.
- Food Guidelines from Blue Zones outlines 11 simple rules that the longest-living people ate for most of their lives.
- The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest -- Learn the secrets of the longest-living people on the planet and how they live happier, more fulfilling lives.
- The Mediterranean Diet -- Learn about how to lose weight and be healthy by following a Mediterranean diet.
- The Vegiterranean Diet: The New and Improved Mediterranean Eating Plan--with Deliciously Satisfying Vegan Recipes for Optimal Health -- Learn how to follow a vegan Mediterranean diet with meal plans, shopping lists, and budget-friendly recipes.
Sample Mediterranean Meal Plan
Want to see what a typical day on a Mediterranean diet looks like? Check out this sample meal plan for inspiration: