Recently, my physician has placed me on the “Mediterranean Diet,” which, in the interests of staying alive, I’m doing my best to follow.
I don’t really know much about this diet, except what I’ve been able to find by Googling. Essentially, it involves cooking the cuisines or more accurately, just eating the diet of the residents of the coastal portions of countries surrounding the Mediterranean. You should end up eating a lot of vegetables and fruits, tomatoes, legumes, and whole grain carbs. Olives, olive oil and avocados, despite their fat, are great. Fish is the primary non-vegetarian protein (nothing is said about other forms of seafood). Meat should be eaten in moderation, whatever that means, and apparently nobody knows about chicken. Or cheese.
It’s been eight months, and I’ve eaten all the hummous I can stand. I’m semi-vegetarian at this point, eating chicken perhaps once a week and red meat only when there’s no other alternative (a job site meal, for example). What I’d like to know is:
1) Is there a way to “adapt” the cuisines of other countries to fit this diet? I crave not so much hunks of meat as tacos, Chinese food, pizza, etc.
2) You folks from the Mediterranean, do you REALLY eat all these whole grains that the American Heart Association imagines you do? Because traveling throughout Italy several years ago, I never once saw whole-grain bread or pasta. I don’t see it in authentic ethnic groceries or restaurants offering the cuisines of the region. I can live with a mix of whole-grain and refined breads, but I’ve never had or made edible whole wheat pasta. Is there something I’m missing?
3) Any favorite “Mediterranean Diet” recipes or cookbook recs?
My plaque-filled arteries and I thank you in advance.