According to a new study done by Alpro, fad diets lead to short-term weight loss yet can often be a waste of time in the long term.
Whether you’re following the Atkins and Dukan The Fast Diet, The Alkaline Diet to The Baby Food Diet, The Blood-Type Diet, The French Woman Diet, The Paleo Diet and the new 5:2 regime, these often turn out to be passing fancies.
More and more slimmers are realising that the fad diet promises of shedding huge amounts of weight in just a few weeks are either false, or that the diets are impossible to follow.
The reality is that most of these diets are so impractible that most people give up within just a few days.
The key to long term health and weight loss success is to create healthy eating and healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life ! The Greek Mediterranean Diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating.
The Mediterranean diet has long been a favourite of doctors and dieticians, described by the Mayo Clinic as a heart-healthy way to eat. Reflecting the traditional cooking style of the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, meals feature the foods and preparations typical of the area.
In the Mediterranean diet pyramid, every meal is ideally based on fruits, vegetables and mostly whole grains. These form the base of the pyramid, along with olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices. Next are fish and seafood, which should be eaten often – at least twice a week. Poultry, cheese, eggs and goat’s yogurt follow next; moderate portions of each are acceptable daily or weekly. At the very top of the pyramid are meats and sweets; these foods should be enjoyed less often, only on occasion.
Research has shown that following a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. Studies have also linked it to a reduced risk of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
While the health benefits are impressive and hard to argue with, even more important for food lovers is that dishes from this part of the world are both tasty and satisfying. Meals are based mostly on plant-based foods, healthy fats like olive oil are used instead of butter, flavourful seasonings and marinades take the place of salt, red meat is limited, lean proteins like fish and chicken are often grilled, baked or broiled and the occasional glass of wine is encouraged, though optional.
Mediterranean cuisine is naturally vegetarian-friendly and appeals to diners of all ages and nationalities. The sheer variety of ingredients and clean preparations yield dishes that are both comforting and yet have rich, complex flavours.
The most important component of the Mediterranean diet might very well be social, with an emphasis on enjoying meals together with family and friends.
There has never been any secret to following a healthy diet. It always has been, and always will be, about eating the right foods as part of a balanced diet, and exercising, while allowing yourself a treat now and again.
When you’re feeling low, the one thing on your mind may be that jar of Nutella that you’re craving for. Fortunately there are other alternative foods which can cure a moody morning or a stressed-out afternoon. Here’s what the research says:
Stressed: Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has been shown to help reduce stress hormones which circulate in your body during trying moments. A recent study by researchers in Switzerland, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, found that eating just 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate has the power reduce anxiety by lowering the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines in the body.
Sluggish: Eat a Green Salad
Having trouble concentrating or feeling sleepy ? According to Joanna Dolgoff, MD, author of “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right” have a dark green, leafy salad instead of a coffee. Folic acid or folate found in high amounts in dark, green leafy vegetables helps your body to process and lower homocysteine levels. High levels of homocysteine are associated with damage to blood vessels, in addition to interfering with the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain. Inefficient blood flow may leave you feeling sluggish or slow to process or recall information. Other folate -rich foods other than leafy green vegetables such as spinach and parsley are potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas and mushrooms.
Irritable: Eat an Apple with Peanut Butter
Irritability can be a sign that your body needs fuel. It’s important to nourish yourself the right way with foods that don’t leave you with a blood sugar crash an hour later leaving you feeling agitated all over again. To blast irritability, “eat combination foods at each meal and snack,” says Dr. Dolgoff. Combination foods contain a carbohydrate in combination with either some protein or some fat. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy that quickly burns out. Adding some fat or protein will slow the digestion process, causing your sugar and energy levels to remain stable for a longer amount of time. A good example of a combination snack is an apple with almond butter. The apple is your healthy complex carbohydrate and the almond butter is a healthy fat. These types of healthy snacks gives you energy that lasts for hours.
Depressed, Anxious or Worried: Eat Sardines.
If anxiety and worries are consuming your day, consider eating omega-3 rich foods such as sardines. Omega-3 fatty acids may help to calm you down. Extensive research shows that the regular consumption of omega-3s support both the prevention and treatment of clinical depression and that it may also help to reduce anger and irritability. Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of The Depression Cure, mentions that while there are plant-based sources of omega-3s, it’s best to stick with fish. Coldwater fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel has plentiful amounts of the specific form of omega-3 which strongly boosts mood.
Angry: Sip Chamomile Tea
Whatever the reasons for feeling angry, sipping a cup of chamomile tea may help calm you down. The most recent study, from the UK's University of Nottingham Medical School, found that chamomile significantly relaxed blood vessels and smooth muscle fibers. This effect was due to three of chamomile's central constituents, apigenin, luteolin and bisabolol – all hydroxylates.
Sad: Have a Few Bananas.
Cheer Up ! Bananas contain tryptophan that the body converts into serotonin. Bananas can make you relax, feel happier and improve your mood.
Giving in to your urges and eating to crave desires on vacation is a temptation that snares many people, yet following a few tips can help travelers enjoy healthy vacations. Following a few tips can help vacationers have healthy yet enjoyable vacations. Buying food in advance, knowing which foods to eat, and ordering the healthiest meals in restaurants can increase the healthiness of vacation experiences.
Pack Healthy Snacks
Snacking is one of the prime pitfalls of vacationing, but taking healthy snacks aboard a plane or in the car can eliminate unhealthy snacking. One of the simplest healthy snacks a person can take on vacation is an assortment of fruits. Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, and bananas are all excellent healthy snack choices. Power bars can also be healthy snacks, although consumers have to be label-savvy. Some of these bars have too much sugar and too little nutritional value, but the health-conscious consumer may be able to find bars with decent fiber and protein content without all the fats and sugars. Wholegrain crackers are also good healthy vacation snack foods.
Buy Healthy Food on Arrival
How much a vacationer can store will depend on how much and what type of storage space is available in the room; having a refrigerator and/or microwave can open up some possibilities. Yogurt is often a great healthy snack, especially if it is low fat. A refrigerator can also chill healthy drinks as well as sandwich makings that will be healthier than many restaurant alternatives. Even without refrigerators, travelers can still buy healthy drinks and take advantage of the complimentary ice most hotels offer. Fruit cups are also good options; applesauce cups may also be healthy, although consumers will need to make sure they are not buying cups with too much sugar.
Take Advantage of the Hotel’s Amenities
Travelers need to know what sorts of healthy amenities their hotels offer. Continental breakfasts can be dangerous with their sugary cereals and fattening pastries, but they can also have free yogurt, healthy cereals, boiled eggs, and oatmeal. Hotels may also offer room service options that are healthier than their restaurant counterparts. Some hotels may have policies against cooking in the room, but others would not object to a guest using a slow cooker to prepare healthy, nourishing meals in room. Often times determining which of the hotels have the amenities necessary be difficult. I did a lot of research in the past to determine which hotel was my best often. I recently stumbled upon a great site that I have been using ever since. The site is called Gogobot and they offer consumer reviews ranging from hotels and amenities, to restaurants, to things to do. This was extremely helpful in my most recent trip to San Francisco where I wanted to ensure that my beach body stayed the way I worked so hard to get it.
Choose the Healthiest Meal at a Restaurant
Going out to eat is more or less inevitable while vacationing, but savvy consumers can still make the healthiest selections in a restaurant. Health-conscious diners should avoid battered, breaded, fried, or deep fried dishes as well as rich, buttery sauces. Fish is often the leanest meat, especially if it has been grilled, seared, or baked. Bright-colored vegetables are often healthier than their duller counterparts, and all you can eat dishes should be avoided. Buffets are a toss-up as they present the option of eating too much yet also often include healthy dinner options. Diners should also pay careful attention to the menus as restaurants often designate certain meals as healthier than others.
As you can see, with a little research and a little planning ahead from helpful resources, it is possible to maintain your healthy lifestyle regardless of what city you are staying in!
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !