Humans and Earth’s New Favorite Diet
The Green Mediterranean Diet is the latest variety of longevity eating plans to gain traction. The traditional Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, nuts, seeds, moderate amounts of fish and seafood, occasional chicken and red meat, and a small amount of dairy. It has substantial science linking it to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. To make the Mediterranean diet “green,” you eliminate red and processed meats altogether and emphasize mostly plant protein in lieu of fish, seafood, poultry, and dairy.
The origin of the Green Mediterranean Diet can be traced back to the Blue Zones, the regions in the world where people live the longest and healthiest lives. These areas all have in common a strong tradition of plant-based eating. More plants ingested means more polyphenols ingested. Polyphenols are plant chemicals that exhibit strong antioxidant qualities, meaning they can scavenge free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells, causing many of the illnesses that plague humankind as well as premature aging.
Here are five tips for eating green:
- Make extra virgin olive oil your main fat, with avocado, nuts, and seeds providing additional healthy fat. Remove animal fats from your diet.
- Make plant proteins, such as beans, peas, and lentils, your only source of protein five days out of the week.
- Use plant-based dairy alternatives such as soy and almond milk in lieu of cow’s milk and yogurt.
- Add in lots of dark leafy greens to your day.
- Eat nuts, seeds, and whole grains daily.
Green Mediterranean Oatmeal
(This oatmeal recipe checks off many Green Mediterranean boxes: whole grain, soybean, seeds, nuts, and fruit.)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup plain soy milk
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in oats and cinnamon. Reduce heat and cook 25 minutes. Stir in soy milk and flaxseed and cook 5 more minutes. Serve topped with chopped apple and walnuts.
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: Calories: 290, Fat: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 26 mg, Carbohydrate: 39 g, Dietary Fiber: 9 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 11