Frequently Asked Questions about the Mediterranean Diet
Carbs have gotten a bad rap in America recently, but there’s a big difference between the carbs that come from Doritos and the carbs that come from fruit or brown rice.
It’s not the carbs that are the problem!
It’s the processed junk and chemicals in processed foods, as well as the super stimulating artificial flavors that have been added that make it hard to stop eating them. Cut out the processed foods.
Enjoy potatoes, bananas, and brown rice without fear! Lots of carb-friendly meals here!
Red meat can provide iron and other important nutrients and vitamins, but also contains cholesterol that can be problematic for many individuals.
Also, most commercially raised cows are feed antibiotics and other chemicals to fatten them up, which are then transmitted to you. We recommend organic meat if possible, as it avoids some of these health concerns.
You also want to eat a burger made with real meat, rather than the filler and junk used in most fast food places.
So, if you want a burger, have a juicy organic burger that you grill yourself… and then enjoy plenty of vegetables, beans, and fish the rest of the week.
Research continues to point to added sugar and artificial sweeteners as a main reason that many of us have trouble managing our weight.
Added sugar may play a role in promoting diabetes in susceptible individuals. Try having a mango or fresh berries for dessert instead of baked treats. (Your taste buds will adjust!)
Or limit your dessert eating to certain nights of the week, like only on the weekends. Read more about desserts on the Mediterranean Diet here.
Yes you can, and enjoy it too.
People who follow this way of eating love how flexible it is and how easily you can adapt your diet to fit your lifestyle.
You will want to modify your order to fit in with the guiding principles of a Mediterranean Diet. You will likely have to ask questions about what hidden ingredients may be in restaurant meals.
In some cases, you may need to simply do the best you can—even fast food places have salads with grilled chicken these days!
But you will find that most dining establishments will happily accommodate your request to leave off the mayonnaise or swap broccoli for French fries so that you can enjoy time with family and friends while staying true to your commitment to good health.
Another note: too much caffeine, or caffeine too late in the day, can mess with your sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try limiting your caffeine to smaller amounts, or only in the morning, to see if your sleep improves.
Artificial sweeteners fall entirely in the second camp and come with a whole host of questions around what they can do to your health and your waistline.
It would be far better to put a little bit of honey in your tea instead of a packet of fake sugar.
If you have been using fake sugar, which is extremely sweet and developed to be palatable, you may find it tough to stop. Many people have had success using a step down approach, reducing how much you are using every couple of days, as your taste buds recalibrate.
- If you normally order take-out 5 nights a week and switch to cooking at home, you will save money.
- If you normally grill burgers most evenings and you are now primarily eating beans and rice, your wallet will benefit.
- If you are used to buying cheaper convenience foods like chips, switching to fresh fish and produce will likely increase your grocery bill.
Also, a meal plan is a great way to reduce food waste because you actually use what you buy! No more fresh spinach turning into slime in the back of the vegetable crisper. Plus less chance for impulse buying when you have a plan.
Organic products are a top choice if you can make room for them in your budget but not everyone can.
You will still be able to realize significant health improvements by choosing real, unprocessed conventional food over the highly refined, packaged, or fried options!
Additionally, eating organic is not an all or nothing proposition. If you need to prioritize, we recommend prioritizing organic meats and the “Dirty Dozen” produce list.
you are likely to lose weight, no calorie counting required!
Eating nutrient-dense, whole foods will help you fill satisfied with fewer calories. Leading many people to naturally, easily lose weight. (We can’t speak to your specific situation, but research indicates the Mediterranean Diet as promoting weight loss in individuals carrying extra weight)
For beginners, we recommend checking out our Quick Start Guide, with tons of information so you can get up and running quickly.
Everything you need, all in one place. If you are ready to test drive the Mediterranean Diet, go on over to our Meal Plan page and find a Meal Plan that is perfect for your family.
These are one-month plans, complete with grocery lists, designed with a registered dietitian specifically for families, that will optimize your nutrition. More here.
Everyone in your house should be able to find something that they love.
We recommend checking out our easy meals for meals that the whole family can try and ideas for making dinners fun too!
Ashley is a Mom of three and her kids are always the test subject when she is designing a new recipe! Jamie has worked with helping families make meal time enjoyable as a dietitian and is excited to begin making family meals after welcoming her daughter this year. More about them here.
Questions about Meal Plans:
I don't eat dairy, I'm gluten-free, or I'm a picky eater. Will this work for me?
Our experts, included a registered dietitian with substantial experience on the Mediterranean Diet, regularly check in to answer questions.
So while you can plan your meals on your own, we recommend giving our plans a try if you want to save time and headaches.
The recipes themselves have been created to be minimally time intensive. We have families too, and we know all too well that it is not realistic to spend hours making each meal (even if we might like to)!
Our recipes were created to be straight-forward, quick, and super delicious! If you find yourself in a pinch, we have healthy ideas for no-cook meals on our blog, too!
What if I have special dietary needs or goals?
Lots of substitutions available on each meal plan, in case you don't like a certain ingredient. We have gluten-free and dairy-free meal plans available.
The Mediterranean Diet plays well with keto, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, sugar free, low salt, low sugar, weight loss, and many other dietary choices, as well as diets avoiding gluten and dairy.
You can also contact us for any questions and for custom meal planning design if you prefer it.
Are you looking to continue to enjoy sweets while living a healthy lifestyle?
The Mediterranean Diet can help prevent diabetes, reduce heart disease risk, promote weight loss, and help you live a longer, healthier life. It's backed by decades of research.
But the truth is, there's a lot of misinformation out there! It can be really tough to get started.
If you're struggling to begin, our Starter Guide & Recipe Book is the perfect first step! It gives you:
- Important principles to start using now
- A collection of easy, delicious recipes to make at home
- Actionable steps from a nutrition expert
Best of all? It's completely FREE -- our gift to you! You can snag your copy today!