How to Live the Mediterranean Way and How to Feed Your Microbiome: Rules to Live By:
“Each country around the Mediterranean Sea offers a rich bounty of delicious ingredients. Many authors have written about the Mediterranean Diet in terms of the health benefits that have been shown by an exhaustive array of scientific studies on its merits. The diet is now recognized as an “intangible cultural heritage” in Italy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is a way of life and a way of eating, which the Italians call “Cucina genuine” or “cuisine of the poor”. This is the diet of those who work the land and feed themselves using seasonal ingredients grown in their small plots outside the kitchen”.
The following characteristics attempt to describe the “Americanized” version of how to live and eat the Mediterranean way – it is not just a diet but a gift to a healthier lifestyle.”
DIET: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. (Michael Pollan). Whole grains, unprocessed foods, fruits, and vegetables. It is not a diet but a lifestyle.
Eat meat in moderation. Limit your saturated fat, sugar and salt intake. Snack on nuts. Reduces inflammatory foods
Practice mindfulness, smaller servings, early light dinners.
Try yogurt, beans, chickpeas (hummus (fermentable foods) like sauerkraut – gives us a diverse microenvironment
Maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) 19.0 – 25.0
Drink plenty of water
Take a walk. Enjoy the sunshine.
Stay active. Get gardening.
Exercise improves cognition and stress reduction
1-2 Glasses of red wine (daily): Optional (if you don’t drink wine, don’t start)
Have a purpose in life (a reason to get up in the morning).
Laugh with friends.
Keep your brain active (read, puzzles, learn a language) card games
Focus on family, God, camaraderie, nature
Reduce stress and avoid eating when angry or sad.
Enjoy the secret pleasures and social aspect of foods. Become more expert at listening to your gut feelings. (mind/body).
Diane Phillps, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker Cookbook, Chronicle Books, 2012.
Emeran Mayer, MD. The Mind-Gut Connection, Harper Collins, 2016.
Dan Buettner The Blue Zones Challenge, National Geographic, 2021.