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Eating healthier and losing weight following The Mediterranean Diet

lose weight following the Mediterranean Diet

 

You’ve heard me talking about the Mediterranean Diet many times in my posts.

For those of you who are not familiar with this diet, this is the modern nutritional recommendation, inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Crete which expanded to the remaining parts of  Greece  and followed by most of the countries of Southern Europe.

The Mediterranean Diet, as it is called, actually is not a diet but it is a lifelong living style, the one our parents used to follow, without being aware of its benefits.

Although our dietary habits have changed significantly during the past years and have been influenced by the western lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet as it is defined below, is followed for health and weight loss by millions of people worldwide. Numerous scientific studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet protects against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other chronic diseases, while providing for loss and weight maintenance and good metabolic function.


Pyramid of the Mediterranean Diet

You can see from the pyramid I made, what to eat. The pyramid is divided into three levels:

The quantity to be consumed depends on age, height, sex and level of activity of each individual. Based on this information we must regulate our calorie intake. The daily meals should be five: breakfast, 10 o’clock snack, lunch, afternoon snack and supper. It is common sense that if we take any amount greater than the calories we need this will increase our weight and less calories will help to reduce weight. For example, if we need 2,000 calories a day, that is where we should stop.Otherwise if we take 2500 calories a day, it doesn’t matter whether these calories are from protein or fat or carbohydrates, then we will gain ½ kilo a week fat or two kilos per month or 24 kilos a year!

The information provided is from the Medical School of the University of Athens who have set some dietary guidelines.They haves a standardized portion size which they call micro-serving and give us the multiples of which are to be consumed. A total of about 22 to 23 servings are to be consumed daily, in four or five meals. In a rough approximation, a serving equals one half of the portions as defined in the Greek market regulations (approximately half the quantity served in a Greek restaurant). So, one serving is equal to:

  • one slice of bread (25g)
  • 100 g potatoes
  • half a cup (i.e. 50-60 g) of cooked rice or pasta
  • a cup of raw leafy vegetables or half a cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped (i.e. ~ 100 g of most vegetables)
  • one apple (80 g), one banana (60 g), one orange (100 g), 200 g of melon or watermelon, 30 g of grapes
  • one cup of milk or yogurt
  • 30 g of cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ~ 60 g of cooked lean meat or fish
  • one cup (i.e. 100 g) of cooked dried beans

Here is what this pyramid means:

The base of the pyramid has food which has to be consumed daily.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating plenty of natural products such as cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, milk and olive oil as the primary source of fat.

Mediterranean Diet Greek Food

Vegetables: 6 micro-servings per day
Fruit: 3 micro-servings per day
Dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt 2 micro-servings daily
Olive Oil: main source of fat  (2 tablespoons per day)
Red wine: 1 (wine) glass per day for women and 2 for men
Water:   8 – 10 glasses per day


The central part is the food to be eaten a few times a week: white meat and fish and seafood are recommended in moderate amounts.  When cooking, salt must be used in moderation and  herbs and spices should be used to enhance the flavour.


Fish: 5-6 micro-servings per week
Poultry: 4 micro-servings per week
Potatoes: 3 micro-servings per week
Eggs: 3 micro-servings per week
Olives, legumes, and nuts: 3-4 micro-servings per week
Sweets: 3 micro-servings per week


At the top of the pyramid is red meat, i.e. beef, lamb or pork should be consumed about once every 10 days. Recommended: 4 micro-servings a month.

As you can see, olive oil is an integral part of Greek diet. We are the third largest producers after Spain and Italy but according to statistics of 2005 we are the top consumers: the per capita consumption of olive oil in Greece amounts to 26 liters per person per year.  Wikipedia

Οlive oil is the base of the Mediterranean diet, which is regarded to be the exemplar of correct and healthy diet and a factor of longevity. As much as olive oil may have substantial properties, we must not forget that it is rich in calories:    10 g has 90 calories οr 1 tbsp = 119 calories. Our parents used it generously, but they did not have the means to cook in a healthy way. Rather than frying food we can get a non-stick cookware and significantly reduce the amount of olive oil use and it is much better when we cook to add some uncooked olive oil on top. A teaspoon of olive oil once a day is enough to supply the nourishment that you might need and thus get from this humble kitchen oil.

Disclaimer:  I am not a dietitian or health care professional. My posts reflect my own personal experience.   I have visited a lot of dietitians in the past, so I have learned what to eat and what not to eat.  However, you should always consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet and exercise routine.

 

Breakfast:

1 glass of milk + 2 slices of bread with 1 teaspoon honey

Or 1 glass of milk + 1 cup cereals + 2 kiwis or ½ glass of grape fruit

Or 1 toast with 2 slices bread, 1 slice cheese, 1 thin slice of turkey + 1 cup orange juice

Morning Snack:

½ glass orange juice or 2 kiwis or 1 orange or 1 apple or 2 tangerines or 1 rusk with low fat cheese

Lunch:

Salad:

  • Any kind of green salad without limitation, such as lettuce, rocket, with herbs, spring onions etc.
  • Tomatoes with limitation

Or

  • Boiled vegetables
  • Add:  1 tablespoon olive oil per person

Main dish:

  • 1 medium fish + hot salad (4 courgettes  + 2 carrots with 1 tablespoon olive) oil and 1 slice of bread
  • or 1 steak, pork chop, or fillet + 1 slice bread
  • or 2 medium burgers + 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • Pasta + 3 tablespoons sauce, or
  • Ladera: stewed okra, green beans, gemista (stuffed tomatoes or peppers, spanakoryzo (spinach and rice) + 100 gr. feta + 2 slices bread
  • Or 120 grams chicken (without the skin) + ½ cup cooked orzo
  • Or legumes

Afternoon:

1 jelly or 1 ice cream 0% fat or 1 yoghurt with fruit or 1 yoghurt with 1 tablespoon honey (2 times a week) Or a handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans etc.) not salted

Dinner:

  • 1 medium fish
  • Or 1 lean fillet
  • Or Caesar’s salad
  • Or Tuna Salad or tuna salad sandwich
  • or ½ toast + green salad
  • or 1 small omelet with mushrooms
  • or 1 souvlaki + salad + 1 slice bread
  • or 1 souvlaki with pita (no oil) and low fat tzatziki
  • or 1 cup of low fat milk + 3 tablespoons all bran and 1 fruit

Note:

You can switch lunch for dinner or morning snack with afternoon snack

 


On the top header of the blog there is a tab called Healthy Recipes from where you can choose recipes to cook from.  I shall update this regularly.

My second Cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad (in English), which is based on the Mediterranean Diet, is now available in DIGITAL FORM on the Amazon Kindle.  Find more about this cookbook here.

BMI For Adults. Flash Player 9 is required.
BMI For Adults.

 

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

 

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42 Responses

  1. Very well said Ivy. In my new eating regime I aim for “up to” 15 different plant foods a day (including nuts).

  2. Ivy

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Hope this post of mine will help others begin a healthy lifestyle as well.

  3. Wow, a very informative post Ivy!

  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog – and thank you for posting this on the Mediterranean Diet – I cannot tell you how many times I watch people just pour the olive oil, saying "this is why people in Greece and Italy are healthy" – but like you said, olive oil, a healthy as it is, is fat.

  5. Thank you for sharing all of this valuable information Ivy and your meal plansI agree it is easy to overdo it on the Olive oil – I am guilty of drowning my pastas and salads in it. I have been trying to add more vegetables and fruits into my day.

  6. Love this info cos this diet is a diet I am working towards. But wine everyday will not come true for me…;p

    • Don't get this wrong. Wine is not compulsory although a chemical in red wine (a form of estrogen) is believed to help reduce risk for heart disease. The substance, resveratrol, is highly concentrated in the skin of grapes and is abundant in red wine. However, what is recommended is not to exceed the consumption of one glass of wine for women and two glasses for men, daily.

  7. Thanks very much for visiting my page and leaving your wonderful advice. I will try the yoghurt dressing next time! xxoo

    • You are welcome. Glad if I can help in any way.

  8. You are getting great advice by your dieteticians, Ivy.
    You could also try logging your food for a while. That's compatible with any eating style and that allows us to know better the nutrients of our food, and how our body reacts.
    When I cook dishes with multiple ingredients (everyday), I find it easier to use a scale and a measuring cup, and calclutate values exactly for each nutrient, than to use the complicated portion systems.
    That logging system helped me greatly as I had become a little … well, really huge, due to a spriral starting with bad mood, food binging (bulimia) and excess of inactivity.
    Now I am 25 kg lighter than last year, and I have seen that I had to increase my daily intake of 1000 cal a day (not overnight, not without exercize) to get in shape. The thing is whenever I log the ingredients I plan to use that day, that reminds me the obvious need of eating everything in moderation. If you take more olive oil… you have to eat less butter and that includes the butter in cakes, etc…
    I understand what you said in another post about the cooking passion that makes you over-eat. It's so tempting to make a blog carrying everyday gorgeous wedding cakes and Christmas dishes. Then you won't throw away, you will eat some everyday. My job is related to cooking, sometimes I even work in a bakery school that makes decadent cakes by the dozen… but there is a way to live it healthily. My blog was created as an extension of my online food log (on dailyburn), and it encourages me to cook and eat healthy… most days. You blog carries many healthy recipes too.

  9. Just wanted to share that I just returned from a vacation in Greece, we were there for a total of 11 nights. Typically, I always gain weight on my vacations, since I indulge more with my eating and don't get as much exercise. But I was very surprised to see that I did not gain any weight in Greece! I know I ate plenty of healthy, wholesome food, but, I felt that I was consuming enough bread and wine to counteract that. Ironically I see that those two items are at the base of your pyramid so I guess it wasn't too bad! Though I definitely consumed meat more often than your pyramid recommends, but being vacation and all, I guess that's ok 🙂

    • How interesting Cara. That's great news that you did not gain any weight. Hope you had a great time.

  10. I was asking before about what is Mediterranean diet? But time comes that it really helps me a lot especially I learned the right type of diet in an easy way.

  11. Kale

    This is perfectly shown, thank you so much for sharing a good diet.

  12. Tariqul

    Very authentic and informative post specially all your chart of diet and weight loss. It will be so helpful for those who are suffering obese and someone who has high possibility of obese for their life style. Thanks for your informative post.

  13. Jennifer

    Wonderful blog, Really you did a great job by posting this article. After reading this article I got idea about what to eat and what to not eat. Means a perfect idea about diet. Your blog helps me a lot to control my diet. Thanks for sharing such an informative post.

  14. Jenny

    When I start reading your blog I found it really enjoyable and  helpful for me because I want to pursue my career as dietitian because I like this field so much. I think your blog will help me always because Mediterranean diet is not easy to use it. I like the chart and all facts that you shared here equally from meat to veggies. Keep it up and thanks for sharing with us.

  15. Saz

    Thanks for sharing. It helps.

  16. Jason

    When you have big problems of gaining weight, try to follow these tips. Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to avoid weight gain. Its not easy but by balancing your health will sure to give you a healthier life.

  17. Vincent

    Hi,
    Thank a lot for this, and I want to say there is no weight loss without patience. that’s all.

  18. Robby

    What a diet! This post gives you the enthusiasm to start and maintain the Mediterranean diet. I commend not just the quality of each part of the diet but also the quantity and variety that is introduced. With that you can never say that this diet is boring.

  19. Rachel

    I’m a bit overweight, and yet my husband telling me to do a diet. Hope this will help me to reach the ideal weight. thanks

  20. David

    Wow, Thanks for this really informative and nice post.

  21. Jared

    I had heard of the Mediterranean diet before but hadn’t really looked too much into what it’s specifics were. It seems like a pretty healthy diet. I’m not sure I could cut red meat down to that little, but then again, if it allows for red wine more often then maybe I could give it a try 🙂 Great article

  22. Hercules

    The first time ever i have hear about Mediterranean Diet. I will definitely share this diet to my colleagues as well and your readers will surely love your content.

    Thank you.

  23. Cele

    Beautiful insentient, congratulations on your article!

  24. Joanne

    Thanks for sharing this post. It’s really very useful tips. I will try and follow it.

  25. Harold

    thanks for sharing up such a high quality content. great work.

  26. Mirka

    Helpful article for weight loss..

  27. Carolina

    I wish more people would post valuable content like this. This is the first time I’ve been on your website, but after this, I doubt it will be the last time. I am definitely going share this with a few of my friends. Very cool information.

  28. Dianne

    Nice article. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Jenni

    Brilliant write up! 🙂

    Here, I’ve found the real facts and diet plan to lose weight super fast.

    It contains so good ingredients.

    Love the way you work.

    Keep it up. Thanks!

  30. Anna

    Great one.Thanks for this wonderful information.

  31. Mario

    I just couldn’t leave your website before telling you that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new posts.

  32. Den

    Thank you for the info! Great post!

  33. Justin

    Hmm this diet plan looks really great i think i should try this thanks for sharing
    Bookmarked 🙂

  34. Hyedi

    Nice bit of writing and the infographic was very helpful, and bookmarked,

    Hyedi

  35. Carlos

    Hi!

    Thank you for this article, I’m from Spain and Mediterranean diet is also very typical here :), but is always wonderful to know a little bit more about it due to its benefits.

  36. sarah

    Thanks for Tips

  37. Jenni

    Thank you for sharing such article with us.

  38. Anna

    Thanks for info. Just printed it out. I am trying to integrate more Mediterranean diet into meals despite fish allergies.