The basics

I enjoy cooking. Some of my fondest memories is cooking with my mom growing up. However, I am no means a mater chef. We have been on the Mediterranean diet for almost 2 weeks now. This diet has challenge my norm for cooking.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Enjoying meals with family and friends
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Getting plenty of exercise

We are from the midwest. If you know anything about then you know our diet is based on meat and potatoes. This diet is pretty much the opposite. I enjoy eating on the healthier side. Fruits and vegetables have always been my go to snack. Ice cream is my biggest downfall. I could eat that with every meal.. My husband on the other had lived off of meat and potatoes, well, and pizza. His pizza though never included a veggie, unless you count the sauce as one. It is often joked that pizza should be apart of their family shield. His mom was a school cook, which meant she did not want to cook dinner when she got home. Pizza was their go to food then. Quick, easy, and can be delivered.

When Alex was told he would need to switch his diet, his heart sunk for a minute. Luckily, he knew I would be there to help him and would make the transition easier. I think every day I hear a sigh from him when he hears what is for dinner, but usually he is surprised by how much he likes the dish.

Adding vegetables to our diet has been something I’ve been doing since we started dating. In fact, Alex’s first salad in his life was one I forced him to eat. We were at his work’s company christmas party. We had been dating for 3 months at this point. Salad was brought to each person at the table and he just stared. When I learned he never had a salad before it felt like we were from different planets! He agreed to at least try it. He did not enjoy it at first by any means! But the great thing about salads is that it really is a great vessel to try new vegetables. You can customize it to whatever you like.

Currently the biggest challenge for us is limiting our red meat in take and adding more fish to our diet. Years ago, we decided to make plan our meals out in advance. We would create a menu with dinners for 2 weeks. This made life easier for us in many ways. We stopped wasting food and never had to argue about what is for dinner. It also helped us from not going out to eat every week. All of this helped us save money. It is also helping us stick to the diet. We plan ahead how many vegetarian, fish, poultry, and red meat are in the meal plan each week.

We try having at least two vegetarian, two fish, two poultry, and one red meat a week. Alex use to take leftovers from dinner to lunch during the work week. We found if he did that, he was having too much poultry or red meat and not enough plant based foods or healthy fats. As a result, he started taking more salads to lunch and taking hummus with veggies and some type of fruit as a snack.

Salt in take is now the main thing we are trying to control. In the United States, that is a hard thing to keep under control. In the up coming posts, I’ll be talking about some of our difficulties and key things we have learned in these few short weeks.

We would love to hear how you keep yourself in check with this diet! Does menu planning work for you? Was going on the Mediterranean diet a huge adjustment for you as well? We are excited about going on this diet, but dreading it all the same! Being restricted on something is never fun. The fact that we can have a glass of wine a day though sure makes things easier!

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