On our journey to shed several pounds, we failed miserably. Even worse, my blood panel is not good at all. Time to find the best diet for us.
My wife and I sat and decided to investigate best diet ideas as the “homemade” low fat didn’t lower our weight that much, and the 3 months vegetarian diet cost us more weight and worse blood panel results.
We decided to research some more sustainable options, and out of all possible solutions, we both favored the whole food plant-based diet. The concept of eating only whole plant foods made a lot of sense to us – “eating nature’s bounty,” as we said. We knew we had to cut out processed meats, rich sauces, cheese, sugar, and other unhealthy foods.
We decided to focus on eating more of the plant-based best diet, occasionally popping in some seafood, and adding nuts, seeds, and some dairy. But it didn’t work –> see here.
What are the best diets?
According to many, the Mediterranean Diet is by far the best diet. I read that there is not a Mediterranean Diet, but many… Well… not sure if the researcher who wrote that study looked at a map and studied a bit of the country around the Mediterranean Sea culture. I don’t know all of them, but I was raised in that part of the world, and the nutritional habits can be very different:
Italy’s usual diet:
- Colazione (breakfast), very light. Coffee with a slice of bread or brioche.
- Pranzo (lunch) it is a three-course meal: antipasto (appetizer), primo piatto (first plate), which is usually pasta, soup or rice, followed by secondo piatto, a meat or fish dish. It can last more than an hour.
- Cena (dinner) has the same pattern of lunch, three courses beginning with antipasto–cured meat, olives, and little bites to amuse the palate. Next is pasta, rice or soup, followed by a meat or fish dish, accompanied by contorni (vegetable side dishes), ending with fruit.
Lunch and dinner come with wine.
- Breakfast (Desayuno) – This is light, just bread, toast, and coffee.
- Coffee Break (El Café) – This is the “second” breakfast to compensate for the previous light meal. At around 10:00 am, something more substantial, like a sweet roll (galleta) or a grilled roll rubbed with tomato and garlic (tostada).
- Lunch (La Comida) – While others hurry with their lunch, Spaniards take their time eating what they consider as the principal meal of the day. This meal is between 2:00 and 4:00 pm and is a three-course meal with wine and bread. The first course may be a salad or a bowl of soup, the second, a meat, poultry or fish. Dessert is usually made up of a pudding or some fruit.
- Afternoon snack (La merienda) – As dinner is late, a snack is eaten at around 6:00 pm. This light snack may include a hot drink, a pastry, or a sandwich.
- Dinner (La Cena) – Dinner is eaten anywhere from 9:00 and can last until midnight. This may comprise of a full three-course meal or tapas.
Greece’s eating habits
- Breakfast (Proino) – it’s a light meal with herbal tea or coffee with bread or paximadi (dried bread)
- Mid-morning snack (Kolatsio) – around 11 am, Greek preferred snack is a savory pie such cheese pie (tyropita) or spinach pie (spanakopita) or a ham and cheese grilled sandwich.
- Lunch (Mesimeriano) – Greeks eat a traditional vegetable casserole for lunch, but in most cases, pasta, grilled meat, and sandwiches are also on the menu. Lunch last at least one or two hours.
- Afternoon coffee – Greeks drink a Greek coffee with a spoon sweet or some other small dessert or cookie as an accompaniment.
- Dinner (Vradino) – Greeks eat late. They may have a full meal or order pizza, souvlaki, hamburgers or even Chinese.
I would recommend this book by Christos Sourligas and his Mom Evdokia Antginas: My Big Fat Greek Cookbook, $17 on Amazon.
I could go a long time about other Mediterranean countries eating habits 🙂
But let’s say that they all generally have the same dietary staples as outlined above. Legumes, such as beans, are often prepared in stews or used with grains and vegetables.
Grains, such as couscous, are also eaten widely in the region and are often served with fish or vegetables. Nuts and seeds are also staples of Mediterranean cuisine, providing proteins and healthy fats. Fruits and vegetables are also essential components of the diet and are often relied on as snacks.
Olive oil plays a major role in cooking and flavoring the cuisine of the Mediterranean and is used in either raw or cooked form.
What is your first comment? They all take a long time to eat – an hour and a half for lunch, late and long dinner.
Something that happened to me. At the time, I lived in Africa, working for an American company with vendors in Marseille, France. One day we had technical issues, and I requested a solution meeting at 12:30. I got laughed at as it was lunchtime – 1:30pm was set. As usual, my best diet was to eat quickly at my desk, and at 1:30 pm, the team came back.
No need for a meeting. We have a solution, they claimed. During the one and half hour lunch, they solved my problem. After that, I took the same lunch break in the cafeteria to realize that it’s not just about food. It’s also a social moment, sharing ideas, having fun, and solving problems.
Mediterraneans eat a lot, often, and take a long time to do so. We eat little compared to them and eat quickly (how long is your lunch break?). For them, eating is a pleasure. For us, it’s a duty.
If I look at what is called the best diet or the Mediterranean Diet, I’m a bit surprised that the diet is low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts, and other healthful foods… Have you ever seen an Italian eating a Beef Braciole (Braciola) or a French eating a Daube? Not sure where the experts have seen the low red meat and low fat…
The picture above is a Tunisian dish that calls for 100g (3.5oz) of animal fat for 4 people – Tunisian prefer to use sheep fat as it is more flavorful.
The fat is heated until it starts to turn slightly brown. Next, a mixture of onions, carrots, garlic, and spices such as cumin, coriander, and parsley is added to the fat. This mixture is cooked until the vegetables are softened, and the meat is browned. The fat is then strained, and the cooked vegetables are added to the sauce. Finally, it is served with rice or couscous and some vegetables.
Looking at it, I feel that the best diet is a fancy name for the vegetarian diet I discussed in my first post.
Let’s continue the journey and see what best diet we can find.