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Extend an Olive Branch to your Belly with Healthy Greek Food

If you’re looking to shift a few kilograms before your next holiday, get in shape for the summer or just try your hand at a healthier lifestyle, but still enjoy hearty meals then a Greek diet could be for you. You don’t need to head out on a Greek holiday to enjoy this way of life though – you can eat like a Greek at home! The Greek diet, or the Mediterranean or Medi diet as it is also known, is an alternative eating method that has been championed in the United States and by health organisations such as LIVESTRONG.

If you’re a bit of a couch potato, you might not be glad to hear this diet does involve daily activity: physical exertion has been the cornerstone of Greek life for thousands of years and comes part and parcel with their eating habits. This is the country that gave usthe Olympics after all! Fret not though as you won’t need to be pumping iron for hours to see results from a Medi diet as incorporating some light exercise such as a walk, cycle or swim in to your day is plenty.

The Medi diet pyramid breaks food down into groups that you should eat daily, weekly and then monthly, with most of the foods that make up the daily diet originating in the region, from Italy, to Greece to Cyprus. Potatoes, whole grain bread and pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa and polenta form the base of the diet pyramid and should be eaten most often throughout the day and lightly in the evenings.

Beans and legumes, as well as a wide mixture of other vegetables and fruits should be consumed daily and supplemented by complex fatty foods such as olive oil and nuts. Dairy is also recommended as a part of your daily diet, with goat’s cheese and Greek yogurt being the top recommendations for healthy dairy consumption.

There are certain foods that should only be incorporated into your diet on a weekly basis: to lose weight with the Medi diet it’s recommended you cut your meat intake down drastically, dining on fish and seafood rather than poultry or red meats. Fish is recommended at least twice a week, while poultry in reasonable portions can be eaten throughout the week for those not looking to shed the pounds. Red meats such as steak, bacon, sausage and pork should be consumed very sparingly, as should a sweet dish: about once a month.

The health benefits of the Medi diet are increased physical activity levels, lower cholesterol due to the high amount of monounsaturated fats in the diet, a rise in alertness and energy levels, a better sleep pattern and an all-round increased sense of well-being. So go ahead: eat like a Greek and feel the benefits of the Mediterranean way of life without leaving home!