Mediterranean Diet 101

Mediterranean Diet for Men

One of the reasons why I really like Mediterranean Diet is that it is great diet for all, both men and women, young and old. Why is Mediterranean Diet highly recommended for men, too? Because it provides needed nutrients in balanced ratios and amounts needed for male body to function properly.

 When people say Mediterranean Diet, many think of tons of fish soaked in olive oil. Well, truth is not far from that - fish and olive oil is very important, but they are just part of this diet, or more importantly eating/dieting regime. Most important thing about each diet is that it must be tailored for each of us individually - we are all different, after all.

Since we are living in fast and hectic world, it is hardly to expect anyone to have 'plenty' of time for cooking, so most of the recipes and meals must be as simple as possible. On the other hand, if you don't cook, or you don't like to cook, cooking at least from time to time will provide you with several very tasty and healthy meals. So, go to the kitchen and make a mess ... :o)

One of the most important things when creating dieting program is determining how many calories one needs per day. This will be your starting point - using weight scale, weigh yourself every week, same day, same part of the day, preferably in the same clothes. This way you will know where you are and when you know where you are, you will more easily go where you want to go ...

Another important thing about proper dieting is knowing your - goal. Many think that setting the goals in life is easy, but it is not. Mediterranean cuisine is great one - many people eat this way because they like tasty foods, enjoy it and at same time they know that they are doing something good for them. After all, we STILL have only one body in this life, right? Most of the people eating according to Mediterranean Diet, have taken it as their life style. And that is great and healthy life style. Athletes wanting to perform in certain sports, or just training for fun and health, often combine Mediterranean Diet with Carbohydrate Cycling Diet (link opens in the new window, feel free to check it). Cycling carbs provides you with the opportunity to control your calories (carbs) on days with low physical activities and lets you consume more carbs on days with high(er) physical activities, thus enabling you to have more energy for workout and more energy for regeneration and not feeling flat and lightheaded.

Cheating on Mediterranean Diet

fish-stew-recipe-2-10Since we are all human, cheating here and there is acceptable but use caution and moderation regarding food choices and amounts. If you are, for example, trying to lose weight and you are on a strict diet, don't have 10.000 kcal cheat day every week - it is counterproductive and useless...

If you are on a strict diet, cheating will keep your sanity in check, although Mediterranean Diet is really one of the rare diets that cheating is not so needed - you are supposed to eat tasty foods all the time, just cooking can be little bit problematic. How often to cheat? Well, I know people that went on much stricter diets and didn't cheat not even for a 3 months periods. So, shut up, have cheat meal once a week and that meal should be some lean red meat with plenty of vegetables and nice, tasty salad... Of course, to deserve such meal, try to have really heavy workout before such meal (this meal should be your first solid meal after workout, for much better 'damage control'). Again, don't eat as if there is no tomorrow.

Body Types

One of the things we should consider when dieting is our body type. There are three main body types: ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs - there are also combinations of these types, usually combining 'worst' characteristics of main types :o)

Ectomorphs - these guys (and ladies) are very skinny, with narrow shoulders, narrow chest and back. They claim that they eat all day long, but can't gain pound of solid muscle, no matter what they do. Their metabolism is very fast and if they don't train and eat regularly, they lose weight (muscles) easily. Good thing about ectomorphs is that day CAN eat and SHOULD eat. One of the most important things about ectomorphs is to learn what food is and how much calories foods have. Want to gain muscles? Easy - just increase carbs in the first part of the day (for example, add 100g of rice in every meal before afternoon) and increase healthy fats in the second part of the day (for example, add 50g of mixed nuts in every meal in the second part of the day). Don't forget to train with weights several times per week, limit your aerobic activities (don't stop with them) and rest (sleep) 7-9 hours every day.

Mesomorphs - blessed by great genetics, mesomorphs gain muscles more or less easily, they don't get (too) fat when they eat much, they lose fats (again, more or less) easily and keep their muscles on for longer period of time when they don't train. And I have seen so many fat mesomorphs because they were too lazy to do anything regarding their bodies. Mesomorphs cycling carbs and eating Mediterranean cuisine usually stay lean year long and never have problems taking their shirts off on the beach ...

man back mEndomorphs - may the force be with US! :o) We have slowest metabolism of all three body types and we gain weight easily (both muscles and fats) and and it is very hard for us to lose both fats and muscles. But, endomorphs have the best muscle memory (muscle strength comes back really fast even after longer period of time - stronger muscle memory even when compared with mesomorphs), regenerate fast and, in order to look aesthetic, must constantly be careful about their food intake. That doesn't mean that we are not supposed to cheat and live a little bit from time to time, we just need to be wary about our calories and macronutrients - and to be more or less hungry (ok, this 'hungry' thing is joke, but not far from the truth!).

Genetics can be a bitch, but consider you genetics as your hurdle, consider it as challenge...

Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan for Men

This is general meal plan for working guy that has limited cooking skills. Adapt it to your needs or use it as guideline for creating your own meal plan. Have in mind that Mediterranean Diet include plenty of various foods, so feel free to - eat! Again, depending on your body type, age, physical activity, goals and many other factors adjust the calories and macros.

Ok, let's eat.

Breakfast: have something that will help you start the day and provide you with energy throughout the day. This should be combination of protein and complex carbs with not much fats. For example:

canned-tuna-sandwich-mCanned tuna sandwich is an easy and fast meal to make - put a can of tuna (canned in the water and salt) into the strainer, 'wash' it with lemon juice, put on the slice of bread, add some olives, put another slice of bread on top of that all and eat right away. Not a rocket science, right? :)

Best of all is that you don't have to eat it right away - if you want, you can wrap the sandwich with aluminum foil and bring it with and consume as you please.

Sandwich of this kind provide complex carbs (whole grain bread), animal protein (tuna) and healthy fats (tuna, olives, some from whole grain bread). Not to mention that it tastes great.

The only thing to consider these days are Mercury Levels in the Fish.

For more info and examples, feel free to check Mediterranean Diet Breakfast article (link opens in the new window).

banana-mSnacks: before noon, snacks should be in the form of various fruits: try to have an apple, an orange, maybe banana, or few tangerines or strawberries, a pomegranate etc. Even if you are endomorph, don't stay away from the fruits, except if you are on a very strict diet (even than there is a room for few strawberries ...).

In the afternoon, have snack in the form of fruits or some mixed nuts. Mixed nuts are highly recommended in the afternoon, especially for endomorphs.

Lunch at work: Well, this can be problematic. Most of the restaurants offer foods that are far away from Mediterranean cuisine (even if they claim that they are) - in such restaurants choose meals that have plenty of boiled or steamed vegetables (without already added oils), some boiled, steamed or even grilled lean cut of meat or fish and some green/fresh salad (again, tell them that you will add oil as you pleases). Slice of whole grain bread will do fine. If you can find restaurant that offer such foods, great. If not, than you can:

- have healthy Meal Replacement Powder (MRP) with some milled flax seeds. MRPs are actually not part of the Mediterranean cuisine (understatement, to say the least), but better protein mix consisting of several proteins (egg protein, milk isolate protein, casein protein, whey protein etc.) with healthy fats and fibers than some fast food hot dog with mayonnaise ...

- have some kind of smoothie: put some cottage cheese into the suitable pot and add berries or some similar fruit, add water and mix everything with hand blender.

- for breakfast, make two canned fish sandwiches, eat one right away, bring second with you and eat for lunch.

Afternoon snack: mixed nuts - walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts etc. Great source of healthy fats, fat soluble vitamins, have some fibers and protein. Be careful about amounts since they are very calorie dense foods - good amount of almonds for a snack is, for example, 10-12 individual almonds.

Lunch at home and dinner: you need to eat something cooked, so get your self a good steam cooker with timer and prepare (for two meals) something like:

steamed mussels and broccoliSteamed mussels and broccoli - plate of this mix (broccoli, mussels, tablespoon of olive oil, few drops of lemon juice) is loaded with healthy fats, protein, complex carbs, fibers, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals etc etc.

That is why you should make enough of this for two meals: for lunch and for dinner. Just be sure to add some cottage or low fat cheese and few almonds for dinner - cottage cheese is slowly digesting food (source of casein protein!) and will 'feed' your body throughout the night. Almonds will do the same thing, they are just source of healthy fats. Broccoli provide some complex carbs and plenty of fibers...

One of the great things to have around in the kitchen is non-stick grilling pan. With it, you can make practically everything that can be made on 'normal' frying pan, but without using no, or almost no, oil. Since I use olive oil even for frying, to enhance flavor and aroma, I use low to medium heat - olive oil will not become poisonous or something like that, if used on high temperatures, but it will lose smell, aroma, fragrance and will change chemically. Therefore, when using olive oil for frying, decrease the heat. If you use olive oil for marinades, than there is really no need to add any more oil when using non-stick grilling pan.

Few suitable recipes:

salmon-fillets-zucchini-mGrilled salmon fillets with vegetables (zucchini this time) is one of the best meals for anybody wanting low calorie, protein rich meal. Fats are moderate, but this fat comes from one of the best sources - salmon.

chicken-ceasar-salad-recipe-mChicken Caesar salad recipe is type of grilled chicken salad where grilled chicken meat is mixed with various vegetables creating main course salad. This grilled chicken salad recipe can be very fulfilling meal with low amount of calories.

Note for guys: this is not quick and simple recipe. But if you try it few times, you will make yourself a great meal and you will actually learn how to cook at least some basic meals. So, feel free to try it. Good luck :)

grilled-turkey-breast-mPan fried turkey breast can be tasty and healthy meal that can be prepared in just a few minutes. Marinating turkey breast enhance flavor of turkey breast meat.

This is sample plan - nothing more, nothing less. When on Mediterranean Diet, enjoy Mediterranean cuisine, just watch out for your macros. And if you don't know how to cook, don't worry, it is easy, at least for few basic meals - using steam cooker and non-stick grilling pan. Actually, almost all of our recipes are made using these two simple cooking tools ...

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