Tag Archives: mediterranean

Mediterranean herbs and spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to spice up your dishes. With spices you don’t need to add fats, because on their own they give an absolutely great taste!

In the Mediterranean diet, spices are used to enhance the flavor of its produce, be it vegetables, legumes, meat, fish or poultry. They are incredibly healthy and should be consumed frequently.

Spices and herbs are a surprising source of antioxidants and help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

The Mediterranean region is exceptionally fertile, making it easy for herbs and spices to flourish there. But thankfully we can find all these herbs and spices everywhere!

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Here are some of the Mediterranean herbs and spices:

Basil, Cinnamon, Sage

Bay leaves, Cloves, Sea salt

Caraway seeds, Coriander, thyme

Cardamom, Garlic, Turmeric

Chives, Marjoram, Ginger

Cilantro, Mint, Pepper

Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley

Onion, Rosemary, Chili peppers, dill.

See some of their benefits here.

Tips:

-Stir some oregano in your vinaigrette salad dressing.

-Add rosemary leaves to veggies like asparagus, spinach and tomatoes.

-Mix up:1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper and a dash of sea salt. Pour into a bowl and serve with bread. Delicious!

*image via pinterest

 

 

 

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Pomegranate,”the miracle fruit”!

Growing up, my mother used to break open the fruit, fill up a bowl, and we would eat it with a spoon. Till this day, whenever i’m back home, i always find a bowl in the fridge; my father has been eating it all his life, maybe this is why he looks so young?

The pomegranate is an original native of Persia, and has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life; ancient Egyptians buried their dead with pomegranate, believing it offered eternal life!

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-Pomegranates are rich in potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease, cancer and hardening of the arteries.

-In some studies, these potent antioxidants have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.

-Research has also shown that drinking pomegranate juice can increase oxygen levels to the heart.

-The juice also contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin, improving symptoms of depression.

-A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries and cranberries. My cousin was right when she told me  she and her husband both drink a glass everyday!

You can find pomegranate from September through January. When refrigerated in a plastic bag, they can keep for up to 2 months.

Pomegranate is often used in Mediterranean dishes, as is the pomegranate molasses sauce, that is used in marinades, salad dressings or as a dipping sauce (i always buy it ready made, and you can find it in middle eastern speciality stores).

I sprinkle pomegranate seeds on salads, quinoa, grilled Halloumi cheese, or try it mixed with some cooked wheat, almonds, pine nuts, rose water and sugar. Delicious!!

*image via pinterest

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Are you eating lentils?

Since we eat meat very rarely, twice or three times a month, we use a lot of legumes in our diet. And lentils are one of my favorites.

Researchers have found that eating lentils (and other legumes) is the single most important dietary factor in longevity; lentils are a nutritional fountain of youth!

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Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are perfect to eat this season as salads. They are very easy to cook and taste great!

1-Lentils are very rich in protein; 26% of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

2-Lentils are great for weight loss. One cup of cooked lentils contains only 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full.

3-Lentils are good at stabilizing blood sugar levels and slowing down digestion. Great for people with diabetes.

4-Several studies have shown that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease.

5-They are a great source of magnesium which improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

6-Lentils help also in reducing blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber.

Red lentils provide less fiber than the black, brown or green variety, because they are sold with their hulls removed.

Mediterranean lentil salad Recipe:

1/2 cup cooked lentils

lemon juice

extra virgin olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

1 tomato finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 small cucumber finely chopped

1/2 red pepper finely chopped

1/2 avocado cut in cubes (optional)

Mix all the vegetables with the lentils, add the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

*image via pinterest

 

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15 unusual uses for olive oil!

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As you well may know, olive oil is a staple in the mediterranean diet; use it instead of butter and other fats.

I only cook with olive oil, except for deep frying (but i never deep fry, so!). Its uses are very versatile, not only contained to cooking:

1-Easy clean up for garden tools

2-Diaper rash treatment

3-Furniture polish

4-Hair tonic

5-Skin moisturizer

6-Free a stuck zipper

7-Sticker remover

8-Ear ache relief

9-Shoe polish

10-Smooth shave

11-Stainless steel shine

12-Eye make up remover

13-DIY lip balm

14-Lamp fuel

15-Nail and cuticle care

I have used it in about five of these uses. How about you?

*image,pinterest

 

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Left over Pasta sauce?

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The beauty of the Mediterranean diet is its versatility.

Imagine you cooked a big pot of pasta sauce and have a jar full in your freezer. What to do with it other than eat the same dish twice?

Pasta sauces, like tomato sauce, pesto sauce, or any kind of sauce really, would work well in any dish.

I use a lot of my pesto sauce in salads, even with grilled meat, over potatoes, grilled peppers or mushrooms…

As for the tomato sauce, use it over hot cooked white beans, a plate of brown or white rice, add some blanched asparagus, and there you have it, a new healthy dish ready in minutes!

There are no limits to what you can do with pasta sauce!

What about you, what do you do with your leftover sauce?

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1 step to looking younger!

Mediterranean lifestyle is all about the food we eat, the physical activity, reducing stress , slowing down and of course having fun!

Having fun and laughing is the number one element to a younger and healthier life. I know from myself, when I am sad or tired my husband tells me I look 10 years older, when I’m having fun or laughing it’s the total opposite. Why is that?

having fun with my daughters!

having fun with my daughters!

 

Laughter decreases stress chemical levels and increases white blood cells that play a key role in immunity. As a result laughter stimulates the immune system and ultimately makes you healthier.

When you laugh your blood supply increases causing a rosy glow to the skin, making it appear more youthful.

Laughter also releases the feel-good chemical, endorphin, and it acts as a pain reliever.

A study showed that people with heart disease were 40 per cent less likely to laugh compared to people of the same age without heart disease.

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Laughter increases the heart rate, improves circulation and works muscles all over the body!

What are you waiting for, go on, have a good laugh several times a day, and remember all the good that comes with it.

 

 

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Ready to cut out the meat from your diet?

I am the living example of the Mediterranean diet. A diet rich in unsaturated fats (I always cook with olive oil), rich in vegetables, legumes, beans, fruits, fish, some poultry and very little meat.

Let’s talk about my experience with meat. At the age of 14 I became vegetarian, not because I wanted to, but because my mom (who is truly my inspiration) was studying at that time about the macrobiotic diet (she has rheumatism), and decided that meat wasn’t good for her (and our) health!

She began replacing meat with tofu, which at 14, believe me is not a gourmet food!, and cooking all these healthy dishes that made up for the lack of meat.

I don’t remember asking for meat, we had fish in abundance, beans for protein, and all the vegetables we could eat.

At 18 I got married and went on my honeymoon to the United States. My first meal there was a burger! (At the insistence of my then husband). It was my first taste of meat in 4 years, and believe me when I tell you how sick I got! Sick to the point of no return as they say!

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After a couple of weeks I started trying bits of meat here and there, till I got used to it.

Now, 24 years later, I fully understand what my mom was trying to do. She was gearing me in the right direction, to prepare my body for later on. And it’s never too late to start. I do eat meat, but 2 to 3 times a month only, and my body is thanking me for it. I feel great, and much healthier; I eat less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than meat eating persons.

 A National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 people found that those who ate 4 ounces (113 grams) of red meat or more daily were 30 percent more likely to have died of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who consumed less.

So there you have it. In black and white. And I have tried it. Try reducing your meat intake for a month, substitute with fish, grains, and vegetables (it is very important that you find replacement for your daily intake of protein, your diet should be rich in all the produce I stated above). And tell me then how you feel!

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10 new year resolutions!

As every year that goes by, we welcome the new one with new resolutions. Did you ever notice how these resolutions never make it till the end of the year?! We get bored, life seems to take over, and those resolutions just fly out the window!

This year i have 10 resolutions for you. 10 very easy and doable resolutions.

1-Eat healthier

2Exercise at least 30mn a day

3-Use olive oil instead of butter

4-Eat more vegetables and beans

5Reduce meat from your diet

6Laugh more

7-Have more meals with your family

8-Eat more fruits; full of vitamins!

9Stress less about the little things

10Enjoy life, you only live once!

If you manage to accomplish and follow these resolutions, i can assure you in 3 months you will notice the difference! Nothing beats the mediterranean lifestyle when it comes to health and happiness!

A Happy New Year to all!

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