Welcome to the first week of winter.
But there is good news…at least for some of us…we are only one day away from the Cena della Vigilia di Natale . And, for those of you who don’t remember, that’s the Traditional Italian Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fish.
Be prepared Bob-a-Roo, Tracy will tell you, it’s a feast like no other.
And while I am a carnivore at heart, I can’t help but boast about the cuisine that my culture, as well as many of yours, lived on prior to our ancestors legally emigrating to this country.
Research has shown that “diets” of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea are the healthiest (reducing the risk of heart disease, reversing the effects of diabetes and more effective for long-term sustainable weight loss.
What makes that so?
First, many natives of countries like Greece and Spain often choose small plates of food (meze or tapas respectively) over having an abundance of one or two items, allowing for a variety of different proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vegetables to be enjoyed at once. Studies have shown, when people are served an assortment of items, less volume of food is consumed, normally resulting in fewer calories being consumed as well.
Second, the Mediterranean “Diet” is usually more balanced than the “traditional” American “Diet”. Foods like dark leafy veggies, fresh fruit, high-fiber beans or grains and low-fat protein seem to compose every meal.
Third, being close to the sea allows Mediterraneans access to an endless, and inexpensive, supply of immune-boosting and cancer-fighting omega-3-rich fish.
Fourth, here is where it gets tricky though, the use of olive oil, instead of butter and other fats, and the consumption of wine over beer and soda, supply the body with antioxidants and some studies have shown that they each play a role in reducing the body’s ability to clot blood, which is good for the heart. The tricky part, olive oil is not a dressing! It should be used sparingly when cooking (i.e. sautéing). And, as far as the wine is concerned, choose red (yes Anthony and Shanna, even with fish) and have it accompany a glass or two of water so you limit your calories, which is good for your waist, as well as your alcohol, which is good for your health.
Last my little reindeer, take note, there is no meat on the Mediterranean “Diet”. So, if you are trying to be healthier or lose more weight in the New Year, limit those Dan Tana or Mastro’s steaks and In-N-Out burgers!