So when I was a kid, I’d go to school with my brown paper bag lunch and I’d open it up praying for a nice PB&J sandwich only to find something that represented a pita “torpedo” sandwich that usually had something like Lebni, (think thick yogurt) crushed mint and few slices of a Persian cucumber in it…. dessert was not a Hostess cup cake… oh no, no friends, it was dried apricots. Yeah, try trading that with your school buddy. Fat chance!
At the time, I was absolutely mortified and wished that my Armenian roots were more like my nice American friend Suzy…who’s mom so graciously even thought to put a fruit roll up in her lunch.
In actuality, looking back my mom had it all right though. Drawing from my Middle Eastern roots led me to grow up eating something very similar to the Mediterranean Diet. Yes, that very same Mediterranean Diet that according to a recent study published by The New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site this past Monday, proved that about 30% of heart attacks, strokes & deaths from heart disease can be prevented if people switch to a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish fruits & veggies… AKA The Mediterranean Diet.
So what can you do to jump on board this HEART HEALTHY TRAIN? According to the Mayo Clinic:
WORK IT OUT! Get plenty of exercise
EAT YOUR VEGGIS & GO NUTS! Eat mostly plant-based foods, i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans 7 nuts.
BUTTER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER! Switch that butter or margarine to olive oil or a canola oil/olive oil blend.
FRESH FLAVOR! To boost flavors when you cook, don’t go for those MSG, high sodium seasoning salts- go for FRESH flavor! Use fresh herbs like, basil, chives, cilantro & dill.
MOOO-VE OVER COW! Limit your red meat intake to no more than a few times a week.
GO FISH & CHICKEN! Eat lots of fish and poultry.
RAISE YOUR GLASS! Go for the vino! Drinking red wine in moderation (optional… although I might exercise that option more frequently than I should!)
Give this recipe a try tonight! Straight outta the Mediterranean!
Sea Bass Mediterraneo
4 Sea Bass Filets (4-5 ounces each)
2 Medium Tomatoes Diced
¼ Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives
½ Cup Dry White Wine
¼ Cup Capers
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
In a large Pyrex dish spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the fish filets, skin side down in the dish. Top with the tomatoes, olives & capers. Then sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top of the fish evenly.
Bake in the oven on 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes… depending on the thickness of the fish.
Serve over quinoa along with a side salad and you’ve got a meal made in heaven!
If you make only ONE swap from this list, keep this statistic in mind:
Olive oli is one of the healthiest ingredients of the Mediterranean diet! People who regularaly use olive oil while cooking have a 41% less risk of stroke compared to those who never use olive oils.
Pretty convincing. Right?
While I can’t guarantee you that a Greek God is going to show up at your doorstep, I can say give this diet a try. Your heart will thank you!