My Mediterranean Diet
Recently I was working with a client who had been caught up in following the latest fad diet and celebrity cleanse. We had just finished talking about using the term diet to indicate “ways of eating,” and not a calorie restricted meal plan one goes on (and then off) in an effort to lose weight when she turned to me and asked, “Then what’s your diet?” I typically try to keep my own personal habits out of any professional setting because I believe in meeting my clients where they are and focusing on their goals, instead of bringing any of mine into the mix. But she asked, so I decided to share, because “my diet” is something I frequently think about as a dietitian, but rarely share – whether with clients or on the blog – unless asked.
As someone who has avoided dairy for almost 20 years because of Lactose Intolerance and eschews meat (in the form of beef, poultry, and pork) for personal reasons, my diet is one that is plant based with nuts, seeds, oils, fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes with the occasional fish, wine and sweets. But what foods I put in my body is only part of the equation. To me, good eating (which is a huge part of good living, no?) also means seeking out the pleasures of good food and drinks. A meal is only as good as the company it is shared with, and the time and care one puts in to it. I told my client that writing this food blog has allowed me to focus more on preparing foods that I’m not only happy to eat, but also excited to share with readers, and that has helped me find greater joy in the meals I cook. Even though we may not be able to come together in the same kitchen to share the fruits (and veggies!) of our labor, we’re still able to share the pleasures of the table together.
My eating and cooking style resembles that of the Mediterranean Diet with its plant-based focus, healthy fats, fish, abundance of legumes and whole grains, and splash of flavor from fresh herbs and spices. And in addition to the Mediterranean-focused foods we prepare, the husband and I try most days a week to come together in the kitchen to cook side by side, or sit down to eat together, whether it is a weeknight dinner, Sunday breakfast, or simply a glass of wine and bowl of popcorn in the evening on the couch if that’s all the time our busy week allows for.
The great thing about the Mediterranean Diet – which isn’t a trendy weight loss “diet” but rather a way of life – is that it is also focused on being practical instead of perfect, which is why I’ve been known to rely on boxed baking mixes to save me in a pinch, or tap in to our freezer stash of veggie burritos and canned soup on nights when cooking just isn’t on my radar, but enjoying a meal together is. But no matter what, I make it a daily point to nourish my body with foods that bring pleasure to my day, which in turn, brings more joy to my life. To me, that’s what eating well is all about.