| By Jamie Rametta |
Recently, the ketogenic diet has been getting lots of attention — and in my professional opinion, way too much of a following.
With a diet high in saturated fat and low in carbs and fiber, there’s good reason to be concerned about getting high cholesterol down the road on the keto diet.
However, so many people are jumping on board because of all the media attention.
Carbohydrates actually are not bad — they are good for us if we incorporate the right ones healthfully.
Among the carbs that nourish us are fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains like quinoa and oats, and legumes including beans, peas and lentils.
(Processed carbs like enriched crackers, cookies, high-sugar cereals — not so much.)
You may be wondering then, “What diet do you recommend?”
Drum roll, please…
The Mediterranean diet.
So, what’s on the table with a Mediterranean diet?
- Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, olive oil and fish are the mainstays.
- Herbs and spices are used to flavor foods.
- Fermented dairy (such as yogurt), cheese, chicken, and eggs are included in moderate portions.
- Beverages are water and wine. (Note: For those of age who choose to drink, moderation is defined as up to one drink/day for women and up to two drinks/day for men.)
It’s more of a way of life than a diet. And being physically active and lingering over meals are part of that.
Although I’ve been enjoying Mediterranean food for a long time, I recently had the amazing opportunity to experience it firsthand while I was on my honeymoon in Santorini, Greece. The food was so fresh and delicious… I dream about it daily.
In Greece, we walked to our meals from our hotel — climbing steps and tackling inclines.
We lingered over our food — eating slowly, savoring flavors, and engaging in great conversation.
The restaurant owners were proud of their dishes and told us about their preparation with fondness.
It all tasted so fresh. The tomatoes were the best we’ve ever had. Then there was the warm pita, the cool tzatziki with herbs and the variety of seafood… We even watched a fisherman bring his fresh catch through the restaurant one night.
Our favorite dishes were the seafood soup, rice-based grape leaves, Greek salads, Greek yogurt parfaits, pita and hummus, and chicken gyros.
So, if you’re looking to improve your health, perhaps you can take a page out of Greece’s book.
And if it’s all Greek to you, I recommend that you check out the Oldways website. It’s a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the Mediterranean diet with research supporting the lifestyle, grocery lists, menus and more to empower you on your food journey. (Of course, it’s always a good idea to see a registered dietitian, too. You can find one here.)
Jamie Rametta, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, is a registered dietitian, a lifelong cook and a frequent gym-goer. She’s also a proud dog mom and a newlywed.