Mathea Ford: [00:00:28] Hi there! It’s Mathea. Welcome back to the Nutrition Experts Podcast. The podcast featuring nutrition experts who are leading the way using food starts today right now. Today this podcast is just me talking to you. This is my news edition for the month and I just want to go over some things that I thought were really interesting that came out kind of at the beginning of the year and talk through those with you and get your feedback. So, go ahead and let me know. Reply your post on the blog or do whatever to let me know what you think of my podcast.
Mathea Ford: [00:01:09] So, I wanted to really talk about the Mediterranean Diet. It come out as being one of the best diets that is recommended and I think that’s because it’s fairly easy to follow and it is one of those things where you can incorporate a lot of the food that you already eat and do some small changes. So, what is a Mediterranean ?Diet? It is a heart healthy eating plan that’s based on typical foods and recipes of a Mediterranean style cooking. It incorporates the basics of healthy eating with a little bit of olive oil and some red wine or other types of wine that are similar to when you’re in the Mediterranean Sea area that those people eat. So, most of that is fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and very little unhealthy fat. So although they don’t have a problem eating healthy fats like olive oil some things that are a little bit different for us here in the States probably is that we are not used to necessarily being okay with eating fat. And in this case the fat is healthy for us and is going to keep us so you’re not going to raise your cholesterol and they’ve done some research that a meta analysis of more than one and a half million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean Diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality or less risk for death than the normal diet that we eat here in the US.
Mathea Ford: [00:02:46] So, it’s also associated with reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and women who eat a Mediterranean Diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have had a reduced risk of breast cancer. So most scientific research has gone into this and said that this is a healthy diet.
Mathea Ford: [00:03:09] And what is the diet? The key components of the Mediterranean Diet are to eat primarily plant based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. You can replace butter with healthy fats like olive oil. Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. Eating red meat no more than a few times a month. And that’s going to be in a reasonable portion so a four to five ounce portion of red meat. Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week. Enjoying meals with your family and friends. So, when I went to Italy what I found was they ate kind of later in the day and they enjoyed their meal. They kind of stretched out the meal and enjoyed it. And I think part of that also gave them the opportunity to feel that they were full and stop eating. And in America we tend to just eat what we have on our plate. Eat it so fast that we don’t even taste it and have that don’t feel full until later. When if we eat a little slower talked kind of enjoyed the meal then we might have a better kind of gauge for how much we needed to eat. They also drink red wine in moderation and getting plenty of exercise. They walk a lot, they walk to places it’s not a flat flat area. They’ve got to go a couple of blocks they tend to walk. So and it’s a lot of fresh foods. For example residents of Greece eat very little red meat and average nine servings a day of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. The grains that are typically eaten on the Mediterranean Diet are wholegrain and usually contain very few of the unhealthy fats and bread is an important part of the diet but it’s usually eaten plain or dipped in olive oil not eaten with butter and margarines. Also another thing is a handful of nuts or so as a snack or during the day. Nuts are a healthy part of the healthy Mediterranean Diet. They’re high in fat but most of the fat is not saturated. So because nuts are high in calories they shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts. Generally, just you know no more than a handful a day and avoid the candied or heavily salted or honey roasted type of nuts with the extra calories added to them.
Mathea Ford: [00:05:35] Okay, so let’s talk about fat. Healthy fats vs. the saturated fats, hydrogenated fats or trans fats. This diet incorporates lots of the healthy fats and very little of the unhealthy fats which are the saturated and hydrogenated. And I always remind people that if something is solid at room temperature that it would be solid in your arteries. So, those are kind of the saturated fats whereas olive oil, canola oil is liquid at room temperature therefore it’s going to flow fairly easily in your arteries. Olive oil in particular provides mono and saturated fat which is a type of fat that actually helps lower your LDL cholesterol which is your quote unquote bad cholesterol. The extra virgin and virgin olive oils the reason why they call them that is because they’re the least processed forms and they have the most of that protective compounds that give you the antioxidants. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil and some nuts have the beneficial Linolenic acid, the Omega 3 fatty acid. An Omega 3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting, are associated with decreased sudden heart attacks, improve the health of your blood vessels and help moderate your blood pressure. And then there’s the fatty fish. We all know salmon is a fatty fish and it’s a good source of Omega 3 but you can also eat mackerel, Lake Trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna but fish are eating on a regular basis in the Mediterranean Diet. And a little bit about wine, they do have wine and there’s some discussion and obviously if you have a concern I would recommend you talk to your doctor about it but alcohol in moderation has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. So, the Mediterranean Diet typically includes a moderate amount of wine no more than five ounces a day for women and more than 10 ounces a day for men. And again if you have issues with alcohol the benefits of drinking and are not outweighed by the issues that you might develop from that like alcohol abuse or any sort of issues interacting with your medications. So, let’s put it all together. The Mediterranean Diet is a great way to eat but it’s and it starts with this eating your fruits and veggies and switching to whole grains. Get some nuts every day. Don’t use butter use the healthy olive oil or canola oil. Add spices, spice it up. We have for my business Nickanny’s Kitchen.com, I have some spices that are salt free and they’re great to use and give you a lot of flavor without having that salt but I definitely recommend that you get some new spices in your cabinet and try them out. Go fish, get more fish, eat less red meat, avoid kind of processed meats like sausage, bacon. Use lower fat dairy whole or 2 percent can be a little too high in the saturated fat so you should try this skim or the fat free yogurt, low fat cheese and I want to get into some more a little more detail about some of those unhealthy foods. Foods that you should eat and foods that you should not eat. So, you’ve got things that you can eat are like vegetables, any type of fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, eat eggs, cheese, yogurt, poultry, just watch out for the amount of saturated fat that’s in there and eat only rarely red meat like once a month. And don’t eat or drink sugar sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meats,, refined grains refined oils or highly processed foods. So, you probably wondering what some of those might be added sugar can be like soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar or many others. What I love when I wanted sweets is to grab a piece of fruit. It has the natural fructose sugar in it but it’s also got the other healthy benefits of the antioxidants and using that sweet taste without the extra calories of soda or candies.
Mathea Ford: [00:10:05] Watch out for refined grains like white bread and pasta made with refined wheat. Make sure you’re getting the whole grains. Avoid trans fat, avoid refined oils like soybean oil, cottonseed oil. Avoid processed meats like sausages and hotdogs and anything that is labeled low fat diet. You’re really not trying to be on a diet you’re trying to eat a healthier way that’s going to stick with you. And so thinking about yummy foods that you could eat that would be your base on a Mediterranean Diet. Something like vegetables would be tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, cucumbers. For some nuts and seeds, you might want some almonds, some walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Remember those can be high in calories but they’re healthy fat so just grab a handful. Don’t overdo that. Some fruits are like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberry, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches. You get the idea. Legumes would be beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas those types of things. And I love to make a salad and add chickpeas onto it because it gives you some protein but it’s not a you know like a red meat or anything. You can eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams. You’ve got for your whole grains whole oats, rice, brown rice, dry barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, wholegrain, fish. I already mentioned some of those but things also like shrimp, oysters, clams, crabs. Herbs and spices, so think about using garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper. All those to augment your meals instead of salt and stick with your healthy oils like avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil and you should drink water.
Mathea Ford: [00:12:07] Water is your go to beverage. There is some wine in there maybe with your dinner meal but if you again have any issues with it don’t bother doing that. But coffee and tea your also completely acceptable but avoid the sugar sweetened versions or adding a lot of sugar to those. Thinking about you know what you want to do. It’s a little different. I want to remind you that you’re going to avoid you’re going to limit your red meat. You’re going to limit your processed meats, you’re going to avoid added sugars so you’re going to look on the label and see if it says added sugars and it’s really wine that’s on this diet. It is not hard liquor. So, vodka, whiskey, gin – none of that you’re really sticking with just the wine. Those don’t have those other hard liquor don’t have the same benefits and tax benefits of wine when you’re looking at grains look away from the white flour and the white rice and look more towards the brown rice whole wheat pasta replaced butter with olive oil. Watch out for the hydrogenated oil that you might be eating. And so I want to remind you if you’re thinking about you know “how do I change this? It’s February.” Maybe you made a decision at the beginning of January to do something different and it didn’t stick. I want to let you know I heard from the podcast by Brooke Castillo about… She talked about habits and research that had been done and we all “say oh it’s 21 days to get a new habit.” But the truth of the matter is the research showed that it could be 66 days is a good average. So I would encourage you if you want to switch to eating healthier that it’s something that you do a little bit at a time and it can take longer than you imagine. So, I’m going to have a guest on soon that’s talking about brain health and how brains form connections and how we can improve those to improve our habits. But I want to just encourage you that repeating a process So, you’ve basically taught yourself that you can you know when you’re hungry if you go get a sweet you feel rewarded. So, you’re going to have to start catching those things and then reminding yourself “Okay, what other reward can I give myself besides a sugary sweet thing?” It’s also good to have somebody to talk to you know just somebody maybe a partner that’s doing that exercise with you or knows that you’re doing it it’s hard to do it as a single person as far as if you have a family and you’re the only one following this diet then you may find it difficult. So, I encourage you to get your family to participate as well. And I don’t want you to forget that exercise is also important. You can out eat any exercise program. Trust me. But what you want to do is try to exercise just consistently because even if you just walked 30 minutes a day. Yes, it’s not going to make you lose hundreds of pounds but when you combine it just as a habit your body is healthier. You’re able to do so many more things, you get through your day a little better, you can focus better so I would just encourage you to making some changes if you want to switch to a healthier diet. Try the Mediterranean Diet. Make some changes and then you know after you kind of get those in your routine then get in a workout routine whatever you’re going to do so that you can build these habits. If you make a sudden changes a lot more difficult to stick with. So I just recommend that you consider doing you know some small changes and kind of taking a hard look at your food choices asking yourself you know “what do you do for comfort? How do you feel that? How does your body give you comfort?
Mathea Ford: [00:16:04] I found when I’ve tried different things even I’ve tried even intermittent fasting. And at that point it just when you’re doing intermittent fasting and it’s like “Okay, I’m not going to eat till noon.” One of the things you figure out is how often you eat because you really do go get that food you know in the morning maybe and then you get a mid-morning snack and then you eat lunch. So if it’s even just to the point of writing down what you’re eating so that you remind yourself how often you’re going to food may be for comfort and not from hunger then that would be a good thing for you to kind of learn about yourself. But I want to encourage you today to think about changing you know some more foods along the line of the Mediterranean Diet. It’s a plant based diet. I’ve talked a lot about plant based diets on this podcast so I hope that you found this helpful and enjoy your day.
Mathea Ford: [00:17:04] So, I really enjoyed talking to you today about the Mediterranean Diet and you know where to connect with me you, know where to find me. Just comment on my blog post or comment on my Facebook page. So thank you very much. And I hope you learned more so you can do more with nutrition in your life. Have a great week.