The Mediterranean Diet
Guest Post by Sabra Chef Colombe Jacobsen
Photo: Sabra Grilled Veggie Wrap
The Mediterranean diet is one of my favorite guidelines for eating. It’s full of flavor, delicious, and satisfying. There’s no compromise on taste like most diets. This is in a large part because of the fresh, high quality ingredients and enjoyable, active lifestyle the Mediterranean diet embraces. It’s not a fad that will go in and out of style, but a timeless way of eating that has been around for hundreds of years. Many studies have been done that show its timeless benefits.
The Mediterranean diet consists of healthy oils, such as the infamous extra virgin olive oil, fresh seasonal vegetables, fresh fish and lean proteins, beans and whole grains as well as fresh herbs. You’ll never find heavy sauces or unnecessary loads of butter. Just the right amount of seasoning to bring out the naturally delicious fresh food.
Here are some of the key players that are considered “super foods” because of their high phyto-nutrient makeup. These are considered foods known to improve your health and overall quality of life. The following are a number of super foods found in the Mediterranean diet.
Beans - a great source of soluble fiber, iron and protein. My favorite is the chickpea. Chickpeas have a buttery texture and are highly versatile. They’re commonly used in falafel, salads and stews. They’re one of the main ingredients in hummus, making it a healthy option when looking for a snack, or enjoyed as the star of any meal. To find out how to use hummus in so many different ways, check out my recipes on the website.
Whole Grains – Rich in protein, vitamins, healthy fats and nutrients. These can help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and hypertension. Commonly used are whole grains like cracked wheat or bulgur, faro and wheat berries. These are unsung heroes, delicious in soups and salads too!
Fresh Vegetables – Generally, the richer the color, the higher the content of nutrients. Adding more vegetables to your diet can improve your health but also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Olive Oil – This healthy oil has a high concentration of mono-saturated fats, which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease.
Nuts and Seeds – These are high in mono-saturated fats also, and eaten in moderation they too can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Pomegranate – This fruit has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants than any other fruit. It is also known to reduce cholesterol
and can help prevent heart disease. In the fall you can find fresh pomegranate juice stands in different Mediterranean villages and cities.
Garlic – This food is considered nature’s antibiotic as well as being a great way to enhance flavor in your favorite dishes.
Fortunately, as you can see, the Mediterranean diet is all about delicious food, enjoyed with friends and family that happens to good for you too! Enjoy!
Find great Mediterranean recipes on BakeSpace.com
By the Sabra Chef Colombe Jacobsen
Visit her blog at sabrachef.blogspot.com for more great tips!
Colombe is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, where she developed her understanding of the correlation between the food we eat and its effect on the body and mind. With a culinary perspective focused on high quality, fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients, she has always favored Mediterranean cuisine. This has inspired her extensive travel to the traditional coastal cities of France, Spain, and Italy, the vibrant souks of Morocco, and the rustic villages of Turkey. Along the way, she has been influenced by the Mediterranean’s varied offerings of authentic flavors, local produce, and traditional cooking techniques.
Colombe recently appeared on the Food Network in season 3 of “The Next Food Network Star”; she is best remembered for her creatively healthy approach to everyday meals. Named in 2007 as one of Shape Magazines “Woman who Shape the World”, Colombe also coordinates Harvest Time, a non-profit in Harlem that teaches children nutritious, yet practical cooking techniques and recipes.