So apparently I have elevated triglycerides. Thanks mom.
Anyway, so the doctor suggested my husband and I try the Mediterranean diet. I wasn't aware this existed. So of course, I bought a book. :-) I highly suggest it : Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies
So what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?
Glad you asked.
It is based on the foods and way of life of the people that have historically inhabited the Mediterranean coast. This includes most prominently Southern Italy, Greece, Spain, and Morocco. The people in these areas have significantly longer life expectancies and less heart disease and cancer than any other group of people on the planet. Why?
1. The foods they eat in abundance: olives, olive oil, tomatoes, fish, grapes, wine, seasonal fruits and vegetables, legumes, and spices.
2. The foods they do NOT eat in abundance: red meat, pork, dairy, phosphoric acid, bleached flour and sugar, McDonalds...etc.
3. The activity level of a normal day. These people don't sit at desks and drive their Hummer to Wally World. Their jobs include physical labor and their transportation is their feet. They are always active and they are happy about it!
4. The way they eat. One large meal per day, usually lunch, is enjoyed by friends and family around large tables where everyone is relaxed, having good conversation, enjoying good food, and not in any hurry to be anywhere else. Other meals are usually just as relaxed, and shared with loved ones, even if not as much food is served. They love food, they enjoy sharing it, and they take large amounts of time every day to just relax and be with friends and family.
5. Relax. Life is not meant to be so hurried and stressful, and neither is your diet. Food is something you should enjoy and that should nourish your body and soul. This is not about taking things away- it's all about adding things that are good for you. If you want to have a cupcake, go ahead!
Sounds great, right? Of course there is more to it than that, but that is the general idea.
My husband and I have been following this diet for about a month now, and it has been wonderful. It has changed how we see food. It has changed what we want to eat because of how certain foods make us feel physically rather than emotionally. Yes, Kraft Mac & Cheese will make you feel good emotionally because it reminds you of home, of your childhood...etc. And you can absolutely have it whenever you want to. But you don't really want to... because it makes you feel lethargic, foggy, dehydrated, and just generally out of it (and sometimes, it's worth it.) You know that if you eat a bowl of cabbage bean soup instead, you will feel sated, happy, energetic, clear-headed, and full of life.
So let's get to that soup. Because it will do everything I just listed... and because it's really yummy.
Cabbage Bean Soupadapted from here
1/4 c. EVOO
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
6 springs Italian parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. ground sage
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
4 c. chicken stock
4 c. water
1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 head cabbage, chopped
1/2 pound baked ham, diced
1 can (14.5 oz) cannellini beans, drained
1. Heat oil in large stockpot over medium for one minute. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook 6-7 minutes until onions are translucent.
2. Add the can of tomatoes, bay leaf, and sage. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock & water and raise heat to medium high. Bring to a boil.
4. Add potatoes, beans, ham, and cabbage. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add salt & pepper to taste, and serve. Enjoy with a sprinkle of cheese and a glass of wine.