Why are Mediterranean diets so healthy?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve really focused hard on eating well, or more like, finding balance. I’m always interested to hear of new ways to eat, and like to look into these different ideas to see what parts of them I can take and apply to my life and how I want to eat.

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?! 

Elle 🙂 

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  1. Laureen @Peachylau
    September 19, 2015 / 21:51

    A great book to get started with the mediterranean diet.

    • Elle Linton
      September 21, 2015 / 09:37

      For sure 🙂 I think I will defo have a more in-depth re read in the near future!

  2. Rebecca McMahon
    September 1, 2015 / 11:58

    I love Mediterranean food! In fact, I just polished off a fennel and halloumi salad. So delicious!

    • Elle Linton
      September 1, 2015 / 13:24

      lol how I love halloumi! haven't had it in sooooo long though!! …I just had pasta with chorizo in an organic toato sauce and a huge side of roasted broccoli, tomato, kale and pointed red pepper! It was my effort towards having more veg on my plate and eating more veg!

  3. Kelli Shallal
    September 1, 2015 / 05:05

    I love these types of diets that focus on a balanced approach to whole foods, boosting our metabolism and satiety. I get weary when the diet has a lot of processed food that comes with it, even if it's way healthier than most processed stuff! I coach my clients to keep their use of processed foods and when they do have to use them, pick the ones with the least amount of ingredients! Great post!

    • Elle Linton
      September 1, 2015 / 13:26

      Thanks Kelli! …you're absolutely right, the less processed the better! I guess sometimes, desperate times and all… but there are still better versions of processed things than others right?! I guess it comes down to being mindful about the decisions we make when eating?!

  4. Celine
    August 31, 2015 / 19:21

    Gosh! Take me to Italy 🙂 I'll be healthy ever after 🙂

    • Elle Linton
      September 1, 2015 / 13:25

      love that! "Healthy Ever After" lol 🙂

  5. Elizabeth Falcigno
    August 31, 2015 / 15:03

    The Italian's definitely know how to do it right! LOL 😉 In all seriousness though.. my great grandmother lived to 89, and she was happy and healthy her entire life. She ate, and cooked such fresh delicious foods. I've seen some quotes on the internet that say things like 'If your great grandmother wouldn't eat it.. you shouldn't either' and its true!

    • Elle Linton
      August 31, 2015 / 18:48

      …and you're off to Italy in like a month, right?! I really wanna take my mum to go visit Lake Como! …it's so true though! I guess it's also down to the fact that half the processed crap we have available to us right now just wasn't around back in the day! I'm making a conscious effort to really increase my vegetable intake! 🙂

  6. August 31, 2015 / 10:25

    I haven't read the book but my gut feeling is that I'm not keen on applying a formula to a Mediterranean diet. After marrying into an Italian family I've seen how the Italians eat and it really is amazing. They don't count calories, macros or follow rules, they just eat fresh local produce which is all in season (a lot of it grown themselves), apply olive oil liberally, eat lots of fresh fish but meat a lot less often, and there's usually a glass of red with every meal. Food is almost a religion and they really saviour it. Every meal is an event spent with family, and dinner can last hours and hours. I often think that if we just changed our approach to food in the UK and went back to basics we'd all be much healthier! So I completely agree with following the mediterranean diet but not by applying rules or you just lose the essence of it all together x

    • Elle Linton
      August 31, 2015 / 11:07

      I'm with you there Jess! When this way of eating is innate, or you've experienced it as innate you can't imagine having to measure, count or apply rules! But for those who are looking to learn a new way of eating there needs to be some sort of boundaries to get you started on the right path! In as far as diets go, this probably is the one I've seen so far with the least rules and restrictions, and is just a set of guidelines to see you on your way! …I love the basics of how your plate should look 1/3 protein vs 2/3 veg! and yes! Red wine is mentioned in the book too 🙂 I think there are only two grapes which have the real benefits though! …and my gosh, if only we had the Med weather to go with the amazing food culture! lol xoxo

  7. CARLA
    August 31, 2015 / 09:55

    AHHH THE ZONE.Dr Sears was my first foray into learning about food combinations so so so many years ago.

    • Elle Linton
      August 31, 2015 / 11:08

      An old favourite eh?! …First time I've come across the zone but then I don't pay much attention to books / things telling me what to eat and how much of it I should eat! Do like the basic principles of this though! I find that all too often I don't have ANY veg / fruit on my plate so that's an area I will be keeping an eye on!

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