Mediterranean Diet 101

The Greek Mediterranean Diet Plan - Kalamata Olive Diet

kalamata-diet-fish-preparedThe Greek Mediterranean Diet Plan - Kalamata Olive Diet is form of Mediterranean Diet. Kalamata olives are variety of olives that have several benefits, but also drawbacks, compared with 'ordinary' olives. But, combining kalamata olives health benefits with other benefits of Mediterranean Diet can results in a useful and practical diet - a lifestyle for people wanting to become and stay fit and healthy.

Kalamata Olive

kalamata-olivesThe Kalamata olive is a large, almond-shaped, dark purple, often almost black olive with a smooth, meaty texture. Kalamata olives are named after the city of Kalamata in Messenia, Greece, where they are grown. The trees are intolerant of cold and can be grown only in areas where there are no frost or frost is very rare. Kalamata tree is distinguished from the ordinary olive by the size of its leaves, which grow to twice the size of other olive varieties.

When compared to common olives, Kalamata olives also have other specifics:

- they can't be harvested green

- they must be hand-picked in order to avoid damaging olives

- Kalamata olive oil has a faintly grassy flavor

- Kalamata olives are protected under the European Protected Geographical Status scheme

Often used as a table olive, they are usually preserved in wine vinegar or olive oil.

When buying Kalamata olive oil, read the labels and check the amounts of free fatty acids - lesser amounts indicate better olive oil in general. Olive oil containing less than 0.8% is great, but olive oil having 0.4% or less free fatty acids is - delicacy...

One more interesting feature of Kalamata olives is their nutritional content - 100g of olives has almost no protein, 3g of complex carbohydrates and around 7g of fats. Common olives have 10-16g of fats per 100g of olives, which makes Kalamata olives great choice as part of snacks, salads or meals. Of course, to keep fats low (although, these are mostly monounsaturated fats) choose olives preserved in brine or wine vinegar.

The Greek Mediterranean Diet Plan for Fat Loss

This is classic Mediterranean Diet with all pros and cons of such diet. Classic Mediterranean Diet had plenty of calories from fats like olives, olive oil, homemade butter, but also from sources like potatoes and whole grain bread and pasta. In modern Mediterranean Diet, amounts of simple and complex carbohydrates are decreased, but they are not entirely avoided.

Since Kalamata olives are not as caloric as common olives, it is recommended to consume their fruits as part of meals, snacks and salads - they are great source of minerals and healthy fats, but also they give fullness and due to fats and fibers, it takes time to digest them - great for any dieter. Again, key is in the moderation, since eating half a kilo of them in singe sitting will make more harm than do good.

The Greek Mediterranean Diet Foods

There are also other similarities between Greek Mediterranean Diet and classic/modern Mediterranean Diet:

kalamata-diet-vegetablesIn almost every meal, there is some sort of green, leafy vegetable, like spinach, broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc. Such vegetables are great source of complex carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important nutrients needed by human body. Also, due to amount of consumed vegetables, they should not be neglected as protein sources, especially since they are always consumed with animal protein sources such are fish, eggs, poultry etc.
kalamata-diet-saladsSalads, as main course or just a side dish, are consumed very often. They contain fresh and locally grown vegetables like tomatoes, spring onions, cucumbers, lettuce etc. Such meals are very low in calories and are very voluminous, greatly contributing to ability of this diet to melt body fats. Not to mention presence of natural vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants etc in such meals...

kalamata-diet-berriesFresh or processed fruits are important part of Mediterranean Diet. They are eaten alone as standalone meal/snack or as dessert after main course. Although eating fruits after main course many nutritionists recommend to avoid, in order to stimulate fat loss, eating fruits as dessert is much better than eating, for example, pancakes as dessert :)

Fruits like various berries, oranges, cherries, tangerines, pomegranates etc are one more great source of vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants ... No wonder that Mediterranean Diet is excellent for of nutrition for human health.

kalamata-diet-celery-parsleHerbs and spices are commonly used in Mediterranean Diet. Weather fresh or dried, they improve taste of foods, but also have other, very important benefits. Most often used herbs and spices on Mediterranean Diet are celery, parsley, garlic, lavender, laurel, rosemary etc.

Today, it is not easy to have them fresh, but dried herbs and spices are available year long. For improving taste of the meals, lemon juice and olive oil is used very often, especially for improving taste of fish served as main course.

Such additions not only that improve taste and aroma, they are also valuable source of other nutrients, for example, vitamin C (lemon juice), healthy fats (olive oil), antioxidants (celery, parsley)...

kalamata-diet-fishMain source of animal protein on Mediterranean Diet are various fish species, sea shells and other sea organisms suitable for human nutrition, whole eggs (omega-3 eggs), poultry with red meat being consumed rarely.

Fish is also great source of essential fats like omega-3, fats soluble vitamins and most of the minerals. It is important to note that most of Mediterranean Sea is still rather low on contaminants like mercury and cadmium, so fish from such seas can be freely consumed.

Main sources of fats on Mediterranean Diet are fatty fish, olives, olive oil, whole eggs, butter and nuts. Fats from such sources are very healthy fats and they promote overall health and well being. On the other hand, any excess of such fats, even the healthiest one, is stored as adipose tissue - again, moderation is the key.

kalamata-diet-mealBy combining various foods acceptable for Mediterranean Diet, one can adjust macro and micro nutrient content as needed. By varying amounts of carbohydrates and fats, daily calories can be tailored to anybody's needs - key is in moderation and variety of food sources.

For example, if you need low calorie meal, one should combine protein source like fish with some green and leafy vegetables and small amount of olive oil.

For medium calorie meal, similar combination of fish and vegetables should be combined, but with little bit more olive oil - remember that single tablespoon of olive oil has 15g, that is 135 kcal! Peas and beans can be used to increase amounts of complex carbs.

For high(er) calorie meal, suitable for ectomorphs, combine fish, green vegetables and some pasta with a tablespoon of olive oil. Such meal is very balanced meal and keep one satiated for long period of time. Even endomorphs should occasionally eat such meals - on high carbs days, as last solid meal before workout or as healthy cheat meal.

Cheat Meals vs. Healthy Cheat Meals

kalamata-diet-cheat-meals2Cheat meals are very important part of every diet, no matter how good and balanced that diet is. Why? We are all humans, right? :o)

Anyway, there are two ways of cheating - you can have some healthy cheat meal or you can cheat as if there is no tomorrow :o)

Healthy cheat meals are combinations of your normal diet foods, just you eat them more than usually and maybe prepare them using more cooking oil. And cooking oil on Mediterranean Diet means olive oil.

'Ordinary' cheat meals are combinations of foods that you avoid on your normal diet. In such situations, these foods are also eaten in larger quantities and calories can go sky high.

Of course, in order to keep your calories in check, healthy cheat meals are the way to go. Whatever is your choice, in order to minimize damage done, try to have cheat meals on your workout days. Not only that, knowing that you are going to cheat on your next meal, can be highly motivating for having a really heavy workout.

After that cheat meal - diet as usual ...

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