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Our 6-point checklist for spotting the REAL & Healthy Mediterranean-style diet

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May was International Mediterranean Diet Month and the perfect time to explore the secrets of a diet-lifestyle that is connected to many health benefits including increased quality of life and lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. In our work and travels, we found many people were mixed up about what is the REAL Mediterranean-style diet. Fix the mix-up with our 6-point checklist.

Tasty Italian food such as pizza, pasta (which we love to enjoy from time to time as well) is not the real pattern of a healthy Mediterranean-style diet. The healthy Mediterranean diet is the traditional eating pattern of those who live along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a culturally diverse region with over 20 countries including Italy, Greece, Spain, France, and North African countries. This classic Mediterranean-style of eating was one of the three approaches for healthy eating recommended by the latest USDA Dietary Guidelines. Here is our 6-point checklist to recognize a Healthy Mediterranean-style diet that is based on nutrient dense, quality food.

  1. Plant based, using vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.
  2. Olive oil (which is high in monounsaturated fat) is a key ingredient
  3. Moderate fish / meat consumption
  4. Flavour boost from lemon, garlic, herbs, cheese, yogurt
  5. Wine with meals in low to moderate amounts
  6. Food and meals are enjoyed in the company of family, friends or community

Interested in learning more about the Mediterranean-style diet? Contact us for tips from our culinary travels and recipe collections. For starters try this “Memories of Italy” healthy snack: sliced pears topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese chunks and walnuts, drizzled with aged traditional balsamic vinegar (not the popular store variety).

 

Nutrition Month 2016

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(Photo credit: Canadian Lentils)

Celebrate the joy of good nutrition and healthy eating all month and beyond! Be inspired to make small, lasting changes to your eating habits. And try a new recipe every now and then too! Trending in the news was this fabulous recipe for Garden Veggie Buddha Bowl. 

Everyday Super Food

Sue Lucia Jamie Oliver bookICYMI, Jamie Oliver was in Toronto to launch his new TV show on Food Network Canada and his new cookbook Everyday Super Food. We were there at the TV show prescreening and had a chance to listen to Jamie’s thoughts on his latest cookbook.

The uber chef and foodie, noted that his 40th birthday was the impetus behind this cookbook in which he has a section dedicate to nutrition healthy eating. With so many inspiring words of wisdom from Jamie, we just aren’t sure which one of these is our favourite!

  • “On cold, wet, rainy days, food can be a hug.”
  • “Access to freshly grown food is linked to longevity.”
  • “If you just pick up your shopping and get cooking, you’ll be in a beautiful place.”
  • “Food is there to be enjoyed, shared, and celebrated, and healthy, nourishing food should be colourful, delicious, and fun.”

MINDfull

Greenwood, a senior scientist at Baycrest Centre Foundation, has been studying the link between diet and dementia for years. As Greenwood describes it, the brain “has a wonderful capacity to refresh, to renew and to repair itself and to create new brain cells and new connections throughout a person’s life.” The goal of this book is to inspire healthy lifestyle and eating habits to promote successful aging and prevent the degeneration of one’s cognitive function.

To eat your way towards a healthy brain, Greenwood recommends choosing a balanced, high quality diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables (for polyphenols), whole grains and cereals (for fibre), nuts (for monounsaturated fats), spices (such as turmeric and black pepper for anti-inflammatory antioxidants) and fish (for omega-3 fats). Vitamin E, folate and vitamin B12 are important too. These foods and nutrients support the body and brain in many ways:

  • strengthens our blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach every cell in our body;
  • nourishes the parts of our brain that are actively involved in speech, learning and reasoning;
  • protects our body and brain against inflammation; and
  • promotes the growth of new brain cells and neural connections.

MINDfull is an easy-to-read cookbook that will appeal to anyone who wants to optimize their brain health. Each chapter of the book features practical nutrition information, tips and science-based references. With over 100 brain-boosting recipes like Sweet Potato Waffles, Indian-Spiced Chickpeas, and Malaysian Fish Cakes, you’re sure to find a few new favourites.