The Mediterranean Diet - Che Cos'e'?

Nutrition and weight loss, two hot topics you can't avoid. Pick up any magazine or newspaper, listen to any news show, talk to any doctor, friend, or co-worker and the topic is bound to come up. Oddly, for all our interest in nutrition and weight loss, Americans have never been heavier. Fad diets abound but don't seem to work. How about a new diet—a new diet that's been around for centuries? A diet that lets you eat normal food, is tasty, filling and can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure? Sound too good to be true? Well, the Mediterranean Diet is all of these things.

The Mediterranean Diet is based on the dietary patterns of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is based on whole grains, unsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables, fish and smaller amounts of meat than are common in our Western diet. Increased physical activity is another component of the Mediterranean Diet. Residents of the Mediterranean walk, ride bicycles and are generally more physically active than those of us in the U.S.

Most of today's popular diet trends are based on limiting or eliminating certain foods or food groups. These types of diets can be maintained for short periods but are not suitable over the long term. The Mediterranean Diet does not ban any food or label certain foods as "bad foods." It does emphasize eating a wide variety of seasonally available food, portion control, and exercise. It has been recognized as a healthy diet by physicians and is often prescribed by cardiologists for their patients.

Lots of good information and tasty recipes can be found in the library and on the Web:

Resources Available at the Library

The Mediterranean Prescription: Meal Plans and Recipes to Help You Stay Slim and Healthy For the Rest of Your Life by Angelo Acquista with Laurie Anne Vandermolen
"Created by respected physician Dr. Angelo Acquista, who has successful counseled his patients on weight management for years, The Mediterranean Prescription starts with a two-week weight-loss stage that includes simple, delectable recipes to help you lose eight to ten pounds right away. Still convinced that all diets leave you feeling deprived? Imagine eating Baked Zucchini with Eggplant and Tomatoes, Sweet-and-Sour Red Snapper, Chicken Cacciatore, Pasta Fagioli, and Baked Onions. Dr. Acquista culled his Sicilian mother's recipe box for the most mouthwatering recipes-plus he includes meals from famous chefs at top Italian restaurants, such as Cipriani and Serafina."
From the publisher's description.

Cooking the Mediterranean Way: Culturally Authentic Foods Including Low-fat and Vegetarian Recipes by Alison M. Behnke, Anna Christoforides and Lazaros Christoforides
"…serves up tantalizing recipes for stuffed grape leaves, meat and lentil soup, cannoli, and more. Seasoned liberally with vibrant, color photographs and easy, step-by-step directions, many of the recipes are low in fat and call for ingredients you may already have at home. Also included are vegetarian recipes, complete menu suggestions, and a cultural section highlighting the Mediterranean people and their countries, holidays, festivals-and, of course, their food."
From the publisher's description.

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, a Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
"…the classic recipes that fall within the defined parameters of the Mediterranean diet (as recognized by the World Health Organization): "plentiful fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains; olive oil as the principal fat; lean red meat only a few times a month; low to moderate consumption of other foods from animal sources, such as dairy products, fish and poultry; and moderate consumption of wine." Simplicity is the key to the Mediterranean diet--simple ingredients and stress-free preparation and cooking. This is more than a cookbook--it is a blueprint for healthier living."
--Schuyler Ingle for

A Mediterranean Feast: The Story of the Birth of the Celebrated Cuisines of the Mediterranean, from the Merchants of Venice to the Barbary Corsairs: With More Than 500 Recipes by Clifford A. Wright
"…shows how the cuisines of the Mediterranean have been indelibly stamped with the uncompromising geography and climate of the area and a past marked by both unrelenting poverty and outrageous wealth. The book's more than five hundred contemporary recipes (which have been adapted for today's kitchen) are the end point of centuries of evolution and show the full range of culinary ingenuity and indulgence, from the peasant kitchen to the merchant pantry."
From the publisher's description

Mediterranean, the Beautiful Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from the Mediterranean Lands by Joyce Esersky Goldstein
This lovely book examines the cuisines of many Mediterranean cultures, including Italian, ProvenÇal France, coastal Spain, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Greece and the Balkans.

My New Mediterranean Cookbook by Jeannette Seaver
"…over 200 mouth-watering recipes focuses on nutritionally proven ingredients that are as tasty as they are healthful."
From the publisher's description.

Resources from the Internet

The American Heart Association
The AHA gives the pros and cons of the Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet
Check here for the basics of the Mediterranean Diet and some sample recipes from the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers.
Look here for lots of Mediterranean-inspired recipes with nutritional information, such as Minestrone Verde, Halibut and Vegetables, and Orange Almond Cake.

Quick Study: How the Mediterranean Diet May Help to Prevent Heart Disease
Does the Mediterranean Diet have an anti-inflammatory effect that may explain its protective role against cardiovascular disease? Read the results of the Stanford study.