Why the Old Mediterranean Diet Falls Short for Americans

March 14, 2019

"US Nutritionists are Adopting the New Medit-American Diet and Lifestyle with Amazing Results"
      -Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD

With the push away from drugs and toward natural holistic solutions to manage inflammation, a question I get asked often is, “What can I eat to help my joints?” For a decade, the go-to answer has been the classic (old) Mediterranean diet. But recently, the Mediterranean diet has come under attack, and even the original heart health benefits have been challenged. What gives?

People have tried their best to follow the Mediterranean diet to keep their weight down and their hearts healthy. But the reality is, we don’t live in Greece or in Southern Italy or anywhere near the Mediterranean sea. The challenges of re-creating the strict Mediterranean diet and lifestyle here in the U.S. have led to frustration and mixed results for many. So what do you do if you live in Cleveland, and living on a gorgeous, remote Greek island is just a dream?

Enter the new Medit-American lifestyle, a more practical solution to reaping the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle here at home. More and more holistic nutritionists are now recommending this Medit-American lifestyle as a more successful approach to reaching the ultimate goal…

The goal of the Medit-American diet and lifestyle is simple. It’s designed to incorporate the best and most practical daily habits that can help us achieve optimum mental and physical health, along with disease prevention. We know that chronic inflammation in the body — something we all carry at some level — causes chronic disease. And most healthcare professionals now acknowledge that taking certain proven steps each day to reduce ones’ inflammatory load can help prevent age-related disease and promote overall wellness.

So how do we go about doing this in our everyday lives, in the towns and states we live in?

The actions you take and the way you live your life every day will either add to the inflammation in your body or take away the unhealthy inflammation in your body. It’s your choice. The new Medit-Amercian diet and lifestyle is the best tool you have to help quickly tip the scales of health in your favor, effectively lowering your inflammatory load a little more each day. It’s a simple equation…

    It’s not the diet alone that’s behind the remarkable health and longevity of Mediterranean peoples. Most popular healthy diets for weight loss, from Paleo to Mediterranean to Vegetarian, share many of the same basic principles. All are fairly plant-based and involve eating whole foods versus packaged and processed foods. And all focus on filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral- and fiber-rich vegetables. Each of these diets proposes a slightly different path, but all basically fulfill these same principles.

    The issue with the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle is that it is an early 20th century solution (or maybe more like a 19th century solution) that just doesn’t work for people in 2019. Going back in time is not an option, nor is moving to the island of Crete and living off the land for most people. Taking advantage of 21st century science to update the old Mediterranean lifestyle allows us to more easily overcome the heavy inflammatory load that comes with our modern-day, fast-paced lives.

    The inflammatory load that our bodies experience today is very different from we had to deal with in the past. Today, the inflammatory attack on our bodies comes from a number of different sources, not just poor diet. Yes, consuming inflammatory foods will make you sick over time, but today inflammation is also fed by…  

    The old Mediterranean program falls short of addressing these. The new Medit-Amercian plan is much more comprehensive and practical, better addressing the challenges of our 2019 lives.

    Here’s a sample of what the 4-part Medit-American Diet and Lifestyle looks like...

  1. Follow the Guidelines of the Anti-inflammatory Diet: (Click here to download a free anti-inflammatory diet introductory eguide)
  2.  a.

    Picture a vibrant Greek salad -with greens, cucumbers, and feta, tossed in olive oil, vinegar, and herbs, and topped with a piece of grilled fish!

       b. 

      Heavy emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables - focusing on those that deliver the most phytonutrients that fight cancer and other degenerative diseases. Aiming for a variety of colorful produce, including berries, orange and yellow fruits, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.

       c.

      Slow burning carbs - when it comes to carbs you want the kind that will keep your blood sugar low and stable - healthy carbs such as whole grains, beans, and squashes, with plenty of filling fiber– which also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that fiber-rich foods can lower blood levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. And the best sources are foods made with the entire grain kernel including steel-cut oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa. (Avoid wheat and other gluten foods, they have been linked to inflammation.)  

       d. 

      Cut down on saturated fat - which is found in butter, cream and fatty meats, and steer clear of margarine, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated oils. Instead your dietary fat will come from extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids in your food, all of which have all been shown to reduce inflammation.

       e.

      Animal protein sources - focus on primarily on cold-water fish such as wild salmon. Chicken and other lean protein sources are allowed

       f. 

      What is occasionally included - dairy in the form of fresh cheeses and yogurt only, eggs as well are ok occasionally.

       g. 

      What to exclude - all fast food and fried foods. Red meat and processed meat, processed and packaged foods, foods and drinks containing added sugar or artificial sweeteners are all discouraged as well. Antioxidant-rich green tea for energy and dark chocolate for a sweet tooth indulgence are allowed – both have been linked to improving cardiovascular health.


      Make Stress Reduction a Priority
      :

       

       a. 

      Physical activity (outdoors in the sunshine whenever possible), yoga and other programs can help you handle stress and improve your emotional and physical well-being.

       b.

      Make sure you have one or more positive social connections each week, this was a key element in the Mediterranean village lifestyle. If it is over a leisurely and healthy anti-inflammatory meal then all the better. Healthy social contacts don’t just lower your inflammatory load, they also lower your blood pressure, improve your immune system and help you live longer. Seeing a good friend for even just a short cheerful encounter each day can go a long way as well.

       c. 

      Get adequate, quality sleep each night. The toxic, inflammatory load sleep deprivation brings is hard to overcome. Put down the electronic devices hours before bed and get your rest. Note: stress reduction recommendations often require lifestyle changes, which may be challenging at first, but will eventually become routine and natural once you find out how much better you feel.


      Body Movement:
       

       a. 

      Get 30 or more minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, biking or swimming daily. Make the activity as hands-on and low-tech as you can.

       b. 

      Look for ways to increase activity every day, such as walking instead of driving and using stairs instead of elevators when possible.

       c.

      Incorporate daily stretching or basic yoga into your routine.


      Clean Supplementation to Fill-In the Gaps…

      Nobody wants to take more pills than necessary. Fortunately, less is more when it comes to supplements to lower your inflammatory load.

      One supplement in particular is a daily inflammation-fighting powerhouse — and a must for your daily routine.

      And it’s not antioxidant vitamins. If you’re following the anti-inflammatory diet, you should already be getting plenty of those crucial inflammation-fighting “antioxidant” vitamins like B, C, E and A.

      But you simply can’t get the full antioxidant support you need in today’s world from food alone. Simply adding more spices to your food, like turmeric and ginger, used in the Mediterranean diet, do not provide enough inflammation-fighting horsepower to move the needle on your “net inflammatory load.”

      What works…

      Curcumin is the active ingredient inside in turmeric — much more powerful at fighting inflammation than turmeric itself. Turmeric root powder is only about 2-3% curcumin, so you’d have to take a whole lot of it to really notice results. But a concentrated curcumin supplement, when formulated properly, can really help move that needle.

      What does properly formulated mean?

      Here’s the trick with curcumin — it’s hard for the body to absorb on its own. Your curcumin supplement needs to be formulated with ingredients that can help increase absorption and improve bioavailability. Otherwise, most of that curcumin will simply pass through you without ever getting into your bloodstream, where it can really do you some good.

      The curcumin supplement I take is called Smarter Curcumin — and I recommend this one because it really gets the formula right. Smarter Curcumin does 3 things to maximize the absorption of curcumin into your system so that you can get the full benefits:

      1. It uses bioactive curcumin
        Smarter Curcumin is made with 95% tetrahydro-curcuminoids — that’s the active form of curcumin for your body, and it’s 250x more potent than your basic curcumin extract. Since it doesn’t need to be converted in the gut, it can go to work in your body immediately.
      2. It uses clinically proven herbal bioenhancers
        Smarter Curcumin is formulated with natural bioenhancers that are proven to increase the uptake of curcumin by 92%. Rather than using black pepper, which can cause stomach irritation, it uses synergistic herbal extracts like ginger, astragalus, and ginseng.
      3. It’s an oil-based supplement
        Most curcumin supplements are dry powder capsules — which does nothing to help absorption, since curcumin is a fat-soluble nutrient. Smarter Curcumin delivers its ingredients with black seed oil — a healthy fat that also helps fight inflammation.

      This is a really powerful formula — and it’s made with high quality, plant-based ingredients that I can feel good about putting in my body. I take it every day, because I know that even with a healthy lifestyle, all the daily stresses and toxins of modern life can easily trigger unwanted inflammation. Smarter Curcumin gives me that extra edge I need to help fight those effects and keep my inflammation levels in check.

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