Myth No. 2: It’s expensive. False. You don’t have to eat what’s native to the Mediterranean, so don’t swear off avocados just yet. Eat locally by choosing in-season fruits and vegetables that benefit your diet and your wallet. You’ll find that preparing meals centered on vegetables and whole grains is very affordable, especially when you get your grains from dry bulk bins. And while buying olives and cheese might be expensive, you can get away with buying small amounts. Try different brands of canned olives for affordable alternatives to bottled ones. Plus, some grocery stores place cheap cuts of their premium cheeses near the deli. Myth No. 3: Nutritionally, it’s 30%–40% fat. True. But be careful about which type of fat. The Mediterranean diet relies heavily on olive oil instead of butter or lard for cooking. Saturated fats, trans fats, or hydrogenated fats like palm oil don’t contribute positively to your heart health, but a diet based on natural fats can improve your overall cholesterol levels. Fatty fish are also crucial for the Mediterranean diet and include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore, and lake trout. Thanks to omega-3 fatty acids, consumption of these fish improves your blood circulation and reduces inflammation in the body. If you’re concerned about your heart health, try out this plant-based diet with a focus on foods local to you for long-term health and delicious meals. Your body will thank you! Fact vs. Fiction: The Mediterranean Diet
While the basis of the Mediterranean diet
has been a staple in its titular region for centuries, it wasn’t until the 1960s that nutritionists popularized the concept in Western culture. Doctors noticed
that Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy have fewer heart disease-related deaths than the U.S. and northern Europe. When they looked to regional eating habits for answers, they found a common plant-based diet rich in healthy fats, seafood, and bread. However, in modern years, misconceptions plague the popular diet, so let’s clear some up.
Myth No. 1: It’s rigid. False. There are no defined portion sizes for the Mediterranean diet. Instead, it comes with a loose guideline: Eat a plant-based diet of mostly fruits and vegetables with a weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans, and eggs. Dairy products are allowed in conservative amounts, but nutritionists discourage red meat intake whenever possible. To the delight of many Mediterranean dieters, a moderate amount of red wine is encouraged!
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2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp cumin 2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp fresh parsley, for garnish
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, 1/2 cup oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and crushed red pepper. Whisk together, then marinate chicken in mixture and cover and refrigerate for 1–12 hours. 2. Heat oven to 425 F. Place onion in chicken marinade, tossing to coat. Spread onion and chicken on a baking sheet lined with the remaining olive oil. 3. Roast for 30–40 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit for 2 minutes, and slice chicken into bite-sized pieces. 4. Garnish with parsley and serve.
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