Today we will talk about the most frequent ERRORS in the practice of the Mediterranean Diet: in short, “we will summarize how to AVOID a WRONG Mediterranean Diet”.
To address this BRIEF but certainly ARTICULATED topic, I first suggest you consult the previous videos: Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and Foods of the Mediterranean Diet. In this way you will have a reliable yardstick between the TRUE Mediterranean Diet and any other WRONG version.
The TRUE Mediterranean Diet is based on:
- PREVALENCE of foods of plant origin over those of animal type
- SEASONALITY and tendency to CRUDISM
- PLENTY of whole and, possibly, whole CEREALS and LEGUMES
- PREVALENCE of FISHING PRODUCTS, and especially poor fish, over MEAT and EGGS. Furthermore, the meat is essentially avian and rabbit (therefore lean); the red one is mainly made up of sheep and goat
- USE of cold-pressed VEGETABLE OILS, preferably extra virgin olive oil, with SPICES and a little SEA SALT (not ground)
- Use of a little RED WINE at meals
- NO WASTE FOOD
- ACTIVE lifestyle and NORMAL calorie diet
To be honest, it would be sufficient to stick to "THREAD AND BY SIGN" what is mentioned on the fundamental PRINCIPLES of the diet. However, for the sake of clarity, we will go through them one by one below.
ERROR NUMBER 1: TOO MANY CALORIES and LITTLE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
A Mediterranean Diet THAT IS TOO CALORIC, or that determines an adipose accumulation, even of a minor entity, IS WRONG BY DEFINITION.
The Mediterranean Diet was created for the survival of the populations that colonize the basin and therefore its content in total calories must ONLY guarantee coverage of the daily requirement.
Many other "FASHIONABLE" nutritional schemes do not take into account the estimate of total energy; leaving out the CORRECTNESS or LESS of this DOUBT dietary principle, I just specify that, in the Mediterranean Diet, IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!
It is based on the intake of ALSO very caloric foods, such as oil, cereals, legumes and a few cheeses but, it goes without saying, that the relative portions must be adequate to the structure of the subject and to the level of overall physical activity. .
There should be no need to specify that the level of physical activity of a modern-day employee, compared to that of a fisherman, a farmer or a shepherd who did their job without automation, is much lower. In a rough estimate, it could be said that between the two activities there is a difference of 30-40% on the total expenditure. IT IS NOT LITTLE!
To compensate for such a gap, it is therefore necessary to: perform physical activity every day and eat ENOUGH for the lifestyle of an employee!
ERROR NUMBER 2: INCORRECT FREQUENCY OF FOOD CONSUMPTION AND EXCESSIVE PORTIONS
IT IS STRICTLY CORRELATED with mistake number 1. The Mediterranean Diet responds to the logic of survival, therefore of saving!
At one time, foods of greater commercial value were the object of sale and exchange. Therefore, their use has always been PARSIMONIOSO, also due to the greatest difficulties in finding or producing them. Instead, everything that could be COLLECTED was consumed seasonally in abundance (vegetables and fruit).
All had small reserves of oil and wine, and most were able to grow few legumes and cereals; however, they always represented the least expensive foods.
Many had some animals able to satisfy the needs of milk or yogurt but, for a matter of PROFITABILITY of the raw material, the cheese-making had a decidedly lower QUANTITATIVE importance.
Hunting, and ESPECIALLY fishing, could be self-sustained but, with ARTISAN means, they were not always very effective.
Ultimately, logically, the HIGHEST VALUE products were those LESS CONSUMED both from the point of view of frequency of consumption and from the point of view of portions.
THEREFORE: very little oil, little wine, little cheese, a variable but still scarce quantity of eggs, little meat (and above all little red meat, as it came from sheep and goats instead used for the production of milk) and a few more fish, given the availability of the Mediterranean coast.
On the contrary, MUCH more cereals and legumes, and MUCH more fruits and vegetables, especially in spring, summer and autumn.
ERROR NUMBER 3: FOODS PRESERVED INSTEAD OF FRESH THOSE
It is quite common to consider FOODS of the Mediterranean Diet the FLOURS of cereals and legumes, dehydrated fruit, aged cheeses, etc. This is NOT a mistake, but it can become when their CONTEXTUALIZATION in the diet is WRONG.
Preserved foods are created to meet the nutritional needs of the most adverse seasons.
To give some examples:
- Cheese making was a technique of "LONG STORAGE" of milk, as it was LESS produced by livestock in the cold season. This means that in the hot season, the milk was consumed fresh or soured as yogurt if necessary.
- Certain vegetables and certain fruits were dried in the sun or with salt (if available!); this happened in moments of EXCESS of cultivation and harvesting, and was aimed ONLY for winter consumption.
Ultimately, WHEN POSSIBLE, ALL FOOD SHOULD BE CONSUMED FRESH !!! Among other things, thanks to modern cold preservation techniques, today it is possible to AVOID using any dry or salted food.
ERROR NUMBER 4: EXCESS PASTA AND BREAD
It represents perhaps the grossest mistake.
Bread is a MEANS of STORAGE of cereals in EDIBLE and READY-TO-CONSUME form; bread was part of almost all meals but had to comply above all with the main ones (breakfast, lunch and dinner). This means that it was the FUNDAMENTAL food and accompanied SMALL portions of legumes or dishes of animal origin. In these conditions it is practically IMPOSSIBLE to create a CALORIC EXCESS.
Furthermore, many consider PASTA as a typical food of the Mediterranean Diet; in reality, it is a far too YOUNG food. Its discovery dates back to a few centuries ago and in ancient times it was not part of the Mediterranean diet. Brilliantly replaces bread but BOTH should NOT be present in the same meal, especially in large portions.
ERROR NUMBER 5: EXCESS OIL AND WINE
These two foods of the Mediterranean Diet should be consumed in moderation. It is true that, in the past, the side effects of excess alcohol were not known. However, it was necessary to be lucid to work until the evening!
Furthermore, although olives were well available in the area, oil was already a fairly prized food. Ultimately, only the necessary was seasoned, FEW FOODS and with PARSIMONIA!
I conclude the presentation by recalling that the Mediterranean Diet, to date, is still the ONLY food regime integrated by UNESCO among the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".