Sophia Syed | Fulcrum Contributor
The Mediterranean diet takes the basics of healthy eating and adds a splash of the exotic. Characterized by the authentic cuisine of South Italy, Greece, and Spain, the diet embraces a rich array of colourful and flavourful food and drink: fresh fruits and vegetables, succulent omega 3-rich fish, lean white meat, whole grain bread, sweet honey, tasty herbs and spices, and red grape juice or wine to top it off.
Like with any health-conscious regime, you’ll have to make some sacrifices if you decide to give it a try—refined sugars, artificial ingredients, pre-packaged meals and caffeine are all banned. The payoff is worth it, though, since the Mediterranean diet is proven to reduce cardiovascular problems, lower bad cholesterol, fight inflammation, reduce the risk of contracting many bodily cancers, and even counter depression.
As a Greek cuisine junkie and the occasional health freak, I have to say that the Mediterranean diet was one of the tastiest and best diets I have ever tried. After a few weeks on the diet, my health started to take a turn for the better. At first, consuming lots of extra virgin olive oil on salad and bread seemed rather unhealthy, but I actually started to lose more weight and feel energetic after every meal, something I never felt while eating my traditional south Indian cuisine. My complexion went from dull to glowing because all of the antioxidants in the berries and olives that I ate, and for the first time, I achieved soft, glowing skin without using an excess of moisturizing lotion or exfoliants. I started to crave only health foods and natural sweeteners instead of my usual fried comfort food and sugary sweets—and giving up fried food for only two weeks sped up weight loss and gave me a more toned appearance, even though I didn’t increase my physical activity at all. I even started to feel happier after just two weeks, since the diet increased my level of endorphins and gave me an overall positive feeling towards life.
If you’re only going to try one more diet ever again, make it this one—it’s delicious, nutritious, and is definitely a mood booster. Opa!