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Maria’s Mediterranean Lifestyle Tips

The new year brings a lot of talk about, well… diets. It can be overwhelming and to be honest, a bit exhausting. While we were thrilled to hear that the Mediterranean Diet was named 2019 Best Diet by U.S. News, we think it is so much more than just a “diet.” It’s not a fad or something that you try for the first 31 days of the year only to quit. It’s a way of life. It’s about getting out to explore, enjoying great food and spending time with the ones you love most. More importantly, it’s about slowing down and being present and mindful in life.

Maria Pourteymour, Luna Grill’s Co-Founder and Chief Cuisine Officer, is extremely passionate about this subject as it’s part of who this brand is and why it was created. Included below are some of her very own tips on how YOU can embrace the Mediterranean lifestyle. We hope you enjoy them and we wish you a happy New Year!

Maria’s Mediterranean Lifestyle Tips:

  • Mediterranean Diet encompasses traditional cuisines from Greece, Italy, Spain, the South of France, and parts of the Middle East.

  •  This way of eating as I prefer to call it (I don’t care for the word diet) focuses on high quality super fresh fruits and veggies, legumes, healthy fats like olive oil, high quality cheese and yogurt as well as whole unrefined grains as well as plenty of fish playing a the starring role on your plate.  Let’s not forget the wine!  A glass or two of wine with dinner or lunch is also a part of this lifestyle, but of course the size of the glasses are much smaller than the ones in the US, so I am not talking about the glass that fits an entire bottle of wine here. What is kicked off of your plate is refined sugar and flours, and playing a back up role is meat, especially red meat, eggs and dairy, these are eaten in much smaller quantities and less regularly in comparison to the Western diet.

  • More importantly, it isn’t just what you eat- it’s how you live that makes the Mediterranean lifestyle one that is good for the heart, and will allow you to reap health benefits for decades to come.  There is a strong sense of community and family in the Mediterranean lifestyle.  A meal is a time to come together with friends and family and socialize and connect.  On my most recent trip to the Med what struck me most was that cell phones rarely and I mean almost never made an appearance at the dinner or lunch table.  People were engaged and present in the moment, sharing stories, laughing, and fully mindful of every bite they were taking.  Food should be seen as the driving force that connects humans.  People do not eat in their cars or on their own on the run.  I can’t express the importance enough of turning off the TV or cell phone, sitting down at a proper table, expressing gratitude to Mother Earth for the meal you are about to consume, and then mindfully chewing and eating the food at a leisurely pace.  This is so undervalued in society today,

  •  Another component to the Mediterranean lifestyle is movement.  Walking before and/or after a meal is very common in the Mediterranean.  People in the Med are known to take leisurely strolls around town for an hour to an hour and a half in the evenings before settling down to have their dinner.  It is a chance to run into friends and neighbors have a casual conversation or meet new people.  Although you cannot rely on exercise alone to define your ultimate health, it along with what you are consuming in terms of food and drink go hand in hand for overall health and well-being.  Take your dog for a nice walk in the morning or evening, go window shopping in a mall or head to the beach and take those shoes off and walk by the shoreline, exercise doesn’t have to be high intensity in order to reap it’s benefits, you can get a great workout by turning up your favorite jam and dancing in your living room like no one is watching.  Do what is sustainable, comfortable and free I say- no need to join a gym or get some fancy membership to a workout club.

  •  The final key component to this lifestyle is rest.  Practicing mindfulness means being in tune with your body and its’ needs and honoring what your body is telling you.  It is very common for people in the Mediterranean to take siesta naps in the afternoon, because energetically speaking your energy dips usually about nine hours after waking.  A quick twenty minute nap can do wonders for making you feel refreshed, less stressed and ready to take on the rest of your day.  A lot of people will use caffeine or energy drinks to “power through”, but this can lead to depletion and higher cortisol levels.  Making sleep at night a priority, setting up a nightly ritual, unplugging from electronics hours before retiring and trying to sleep and wake up at the same time each day will give your body a chance to detox, repair and restore effectively each night which will lead to a more youthful, energized and healthier you as you age.