There are so many diets or should I say "lifestyle" diets that people can have really strong opinions about because it works for them. These can include vegetarian, vegan, paleo, flexitarian, etc.
But one thing, I think most people can agree upon and that is to include more fruits and vegetables into their daily meals.
One way of approaching getting more of healthy fruit and vegetables is to look at the basic foundation of the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet consists of all food groups including healthy animal proteins of fish, seafood, chicken and even occasional red meat if your heart desires.
Extra virgin olive oil is the oil of choice. In addition, healthy grains and beans are included and encouraged.
Some popular dishes you may already be familiar with are hummus, Baba ghanoush, (eggplant dip) Shawarma (Beef or chicken that is marinated and sliced before serving.)
Because foods from the Mediterranean can consist of multiple countries, the popular main dishes can vary with ingredients and spices used.
If you have access to a market or restaurant that specializes in this way of eating, you surely should explore it! Not only is the food delicious and healthy, but also opens your eyes on how you can get creative in your own kitchen.
IF you venture into a Mediterranean market, here are a few favorites I use regularly:
Sumac-a spice with a tart citrusy flavor that can be used just like citrus such as lemon.
Pomegranate Molasses-a tart syrup great for adding to salad dressing
Garlic Sauce-a creamy sauce made with lots of garlic and oil.
By Tamorlan - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3208973
Some of my favorite ways of this way of eating is emulating some of the concepts into some of my meals, is just marinating plain chicken breast in plain yogurt to make chicken kabobs.
To my yogurt, I will add fresh lemon juice, garlic, fresh flat leaf parsley, salt & pepper and smoked paprika.
I'll also make my own spin on making my own hummus, using a variety of beans outside of using garbanzo beans.
Need some ideas? I found a wonderful resource on making Mediterranean foods from various countries to get you inspired. Recipes are compiled from the various countries such as Egypt and Morocco.
Mediterranean Recipes to try
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet can be an easy and delicious way of getting the proper nutrition into your body. Only YOU can determine what's best for your nutritional needs.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator