I was invited to review a copy of The Mediterranean Zone written by Dr Barry Sears and jumped at the chance. I'd never heard of The Zone and my knowledge of the Mediterranean diet is probably highly sourced from stereotypes of pasta, pizza and bread!
“Let food be your medicine, and the medicine be your food.” Hippocrates
What is The Mediterranean Zone?The tagline of the book is "For a longer, leaner, healthier life". That's kinda what we're all working to achieve, right?! The book focuses on losing excess body fat, how to reduce inflammation and balancing your plate.
The Mediterranean Zone is a physiological state in your body where you have optimised ability to control inflammation. By reducing inflammation, you lose excess body fat, return to wellness and slow the ageing process. The diet is teaches you how to balance your meals to optimise your hormonal response to food and thus reducing inflammation.
The book suggests that the best way to describe the diet is as a moderate-protein, low-glycaemic-load diet.
What are the health benefits?According to the book, increased inflammation leads to increased levels obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer's. Essentially, following an anti inflammatory diet is a way to reverse the current crisis that the human population seems to be in.
The book talks a lot about omega -3 (O3 - good) fatty acids and omega -6 (O6 - bad) fatty acids (in addition to polyphenols). Our diets have seen us increase the amount of O6 and decreased levels of O3 which turn off and resolve the inflammatory response allowing the body to return to normal.
By following The Zone principles you can expect to feel less hungry, increased energy levels, better able to handle stressful situations as well as other markers in your blood chemistry.
How does it work?At every meal, you divide your plate into three equal sections; one of low fat protein and two of colourful carbohydrates (primarily non starchy vegetables and and small amounts of fruit). Finally, you add a small dash of fat (mono-unsaturated or low in omega 6 and saturated fats) such as olive oil, guacamole or nuts. If you've balanced your plate correctly, you shouldn't be hungry for the next five hours.
With such simple guidelines, this makes The Zone compatible with all dietary philosophies; think whole30, paleo or even vegan. If you'd like to know more about The Zone Diet, check out their website.
The book is jammed packed with science, recipes and references to back up it's claims and whilst reading it to write this post, I also got a chance to try out some of the snacks which comply with the principles of 40-30-30 (carbohydrate, protein, fat) from EnerZona. I got to try the crispy vanilla snack bars, dark chocolate mini rocks, crackers and a meal nutrition bar (which I haven't eaten yet). I've eaten all the snack bars (and didn't think to take a picture), all the mini rocks (and got the one pic in this post) and am as we "speak" munching on the crackers! So I guess that's a thumbs up from me for taste and knowing that all the thought has already gone into the recipes to make them balanced makes me feel that little bit better!
What's your view of a Mediterranean diet? How does The Zone Diet sound to you?!