Mediterranean diet became extremely popular in the past two decades. Many scientific studies have shown that this might be the healthiest diet in the world! It was conceived from the traditional eating patterns of Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Croatia, and southern France. It’s based mainly on seafood, olive oil, goat and sheep milk products, vegetables and fruits that grow in this area. However, not all of them originate from the Mediterranean basin. For example, oranges, lemons, tomatoes… All brought to us from China or Mexico. Despite that, over a century now, these fruits became a symbol of Mediterranean cuisine.
But, there are some serious downsides of the classic Mediterranean diet. Even though everything is soaked in beneficial olive oil, a classical Mediterranean diet, as any traditional diet, is loaded with starchy carbs, wheat, even corn, other grains, legumes and rice. How can it be the healthiest then?
What if we make a healthy twist?
I firmly believe that Mediterranean-ketogenic diet can bring the standard ketogenic diet to another level. By following this simple ketogenic variation you will be using healthy and nutritionally valuable ingredients. Also, the food which is prepared in Mediterranean way is preventing all the major diseases. I would like to mention that switching to this diet can make your wallet “healthier” as well!
Keto Mediterranean Ingredients
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are numerous. However, you might ask yourself, what will happen if we remove all these excessive carbs and fruits from it? I would say – the healthiest choice you’ve ever made. I am not trying to create a whole new universe here, but maybe a galaxy! The Keto-Mediterranean diet (KMD) galaxy. This galaxy will be the new tool which will help us achieve the best results in health and appearance. By combining ketogenic diet with the Mediterranean diet, we will have a new force against all diseases and obesity. Inspired by my Greek ancestors I would like to use a mathematical expression and call this combination a Golden φ of nutrition.
What makes KMD so powerful?
The main reason why KMD so beneficial lays in the great and affordable ingredients. The emphasis is placed on seafood, eggs, organic meat, fresh vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, olive oil, of course, butter, and animal fat like lard or duck fat. Now, we can implement avocado and coconut products to enhance the quality of meals. Avocado and coconut are not indigenous to Europe so there are slightly more expensive, but because they are so beneficial I would recommend to have them on your Mediterranean plate as often as possible.
The right choices are usually found in the farmer’s markets or small farms. These ingredients will provide satiety and 100% healthy macronutrients. KMD is all about healthy fats. Also, omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fish and flax seeds will bring in balance the omega-6 from the other sources like olive oil.
In my KMD I promote the usage of medicinal herbs. Not only as spices but also as great and refreshing hot and iced teas. Always try to cook with bay leaves, basil, oregano, rosemary, mint, parsley, saffron, cilantro, dill, sage, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg… Give a final touch by using organic lemon juice and zest (you can use orange zest, but not juice): Don’t forget the almighty garlic. You can also create your own Mediterranean seasoning mix by using herbal teas, for example, mountain tea. This can turn any dish into a gourmet experience. Even while on Keto? -Well, I would say – even more, while on Keto!
A recipe for supreme and affordable Keto Mediterranean breakfast can be found here. Furthermore, an omelette cooked in lard or some other animal fat with cheese, spinach and chopped prosciutto or even bacon sounds very Mediterranean. Season it with fresh pepper, sea salt and oregano or any other herb.
If you decide to have more fish in your KMD, (a great idea) affordable choices are the Sardines, European sprat and Mackerel. Fresh or frozen they can be purchased at fish markets and supermarkets. If you have travelled to Mediterranean countries maybe you have noticed that they like to bake and fry everything in olive oil. I am trying to avoid this. I recommend using extra virgin olive oil at the end of cooking. If you want to fry the fish use coconut oil or some animal fat. Purified lard, for example, does not have any smell. Extra virgin olive oil is better if used uncooked for salads and dips. In order to save time, you can cook several meals at night, store them in the refrigerator and use them the next day.
How to shop?
The Mediterranean people are shopping usually at the farmers market. This is a tradition that we practice at least once per week. Very often you will get great discounts and offers that no supermarket can give you. On the other hand, check your local supermarket discounts. If tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, or eggplants are on sale, create your weekly menu around them. A stew made with these tasty Mediterranean veggies, with some meat, can be stored in the refrigerator. You can make a great dip and store it in glass jars. Also, do not be afraid to buy frozen berries and vegetables. They are really affordable and most of the producers are freezing them while they are very fresh. If a supermarket has berries or lemons at a discount, the best thing you can do is to buy a large amount and make your own keto marmalade. Use a few berries and mix them with melted butter, stevia and lemon in the blender. A great number of healthy Keto desserts can be prepared with these ingredients. Find some great recipes in the Greek Goes Keto recipe section.
How to live the Keto Mediterranean Lifestyle?
The way we live plays a big role in the performance of our diet. Positive thinking, relaxation, physical activity, lots of sunshine and fresh air. These are the characteristics of a typical Mediterranean lifestyle. Humour plays a great role too. Read or watch comedies, visit theatres and search for comedy plays. Ancient Greeks were watching comedy as a part of healing. Very little effort is needed to make a happy life; it is all within your inner feeling, in your way of thinking. Try to adopt this philosophy!
I know that we all haven’t been blessed with growing up under the light of the unique Mediterranean sun. Next to the warm sea, where the winters are mild and summers offer all the benefits of swimming and inhaling the salty air with pine tree aroma. I know there are other great places in the world, but I recommend to you visit any Mediterranean country in the spring or summer season. Try to do it at least once in a couple of years. See the atmosphere, life, people, food, music! Feel the air and sea. Start with my homeland Greece, and then explore any Mediterranean country. Stay strong and stay positive!