Over the last 70 years, the Mediterranean diet has proven to be the most healthful diet out there.
In fact, much of the teachings I share in the Treasures of Healthy Living Bible Study are based on the Mediterranean diet. These teachings revolve around three fundamental principles (and if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’re familiar with these):
Eat the foods God called good for us
Eat those foods as close to the way God designed them
Don’t let any food become an addiction
The Mediterranean diet effortlessly falls in line with these 3 principles, and it’s exactly the way God wanted us to eat.
But there’s a new version of this diet on the shelf. It’s called the Green Mediterranean diet… and according to one new study, this version has an even greater impact on our health–from improved cholesterol to weight loss to normalized blood pressure. It also attributed an overall reduction of inflammation.
The study might be new but its findings don’t surprise me in the least. You know I love sharing the wonderful benefits of eating a whole-foods God created diet… and today we are going to serve it up.
We will cover what a Mediterranean diet is, how to take it a step further with the “green” version of this diet, including meal plan ideas, recipes, foods to avoid or limit, and more!
Plus, we’ll see how the studies and Biblical health plans I’ve written follow the same ancient guidelines and produce similar results.
Let’s cut the cake!
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the dietary habits of people living near the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, these people would eat lots of fresh fruit, whole grains, beans, healthy fats (like olive oil), vegetables, lean proteins (like fish), and moderate amounts of dairy and poultry.
A Mediterranean diet would simply incorporate these types of food into the diet, and limit or avoid others. Nutrition experts agree it’s one of the healthiest ways to eat, as it is mostly plant-based, with lots of healthy fats and anti-inflammatory foods.
Examples of foods on a Mediterranean diet:
Vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables, plus non-starchy vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, artichoke, and cauliflower)
Legumes and beans (think lentils and chickpeas)
Herbs and spices
Nuts and seeds
Pasture-raised poultry, eggs, cheese, goat milk, kefir, or yogurt (all usually rganic and locally produced)
Wild-caught fish, seafood
Red meat occasionally
Foods to limit or avoid altogether on a Mediterranean diet:
Processed meats (limited)
Foods with added sugar
Amazingly, there are many similarities between the Bible diet and the Mediterranean diet. Both are ancient ways of eating and follow similar guidelines with a focus on whole, unprocessed foods that are preferably organic and locally sourced. Because of this, both offer similar benefits!
Let’s see the menu of possibilities:
Benefits Of Eating A Mediterranean Diet
Some of the many incredible benefits of following a Mediterranean diet include:
- Improved heart health
- Lowered risk of obesity
- Improved metabolic health
- Reduced waist circumference
- Lowered risk of coronary heart disease
Now, you may wonder: what is so special about the Mediterranean diet and why does it produce so many amazing results?
It’s thought that the positive impact of the Mediterranean diet is because of the higher intake of polyphenols, healthy fats, and fiber, plus lower animal protein intake.
Polyphenols–a word we hear often when we are talking about foods God created–help fight certain diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. A diet that’s rich in these is worth pursuing!
Here are a few exceptional facts about polyphenols:
SATISFIED BAKING WITH WHOLE GRAINS
Satisfied is a beautiful treasure complete with the teaching of Annette explaining what happened to our wheat and the solid science of true whole grain goodness. Dozens of whole grain recipes are included, as well.
Polyphenols are a group of organic compounds that contain flavonoids. Within flavonoids, we have flavonols (these are the compounds that help prevent disease) and within flavonols are catechins.
Catechins are the most powerful antioxidants and work like scavengers, ferreting out free radicals in your body. As many know, free radicals contribute to cancer, heart disease, metabolism, and liver issues.
This is important to understand. We need our foods to work for us – not just taste good. And the Mediterranean diet has proven it can do both.
But researchers wanted to take it a step further. They wanted to find out if increasing green plant foods and lowering red meat intake would be even better for health.
As the study shows: yes, very much so, in fact.
So what is the green Mediterranean diet?
Let’s take another bite:
What is the “Green” Version of the Mediterranean Diet?
The green Mediterranean diet focuses on whole, unprocessed plant foods. In fact, some might call it a mostly vegan diet. Animal products are almost entirely eliminated, including meat.
This type of Med diet includes drinking plenty of tea, especially green tea, and incorporating seaweed as well. Specifically Mankai (or duckweed). This seaweed is chock full of powerful antioxidants, omega 3s, plus it's high in protein. It’s also easy to grow if you have any ponds in your backyard!
What foods can you eat on the green Med diet?
High-fiber foods such as beans, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seaweed, nuts, and seeds
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, etc.)
Plant proteins (beans, legumes, beans, and seaweed)
Antioxidant-rich foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs, teas and spices)
Dairy, such as yogurt, eggs and fish, in small amounts
Nuts (particularly walnuts), seeds (hemp, chia, or flax), and olive oil
Foods to avoid on the green Med diet:
Processed meats (hotdogs, canned meats, etc.)
Red meat (on the Bible diet, red meat can be consumed in limited amounts, but only if you know the farmer!)
Amazing Benefits of the Green Mediterranean Diet
We talked about the benefits of eating a traditional Mediterranean diet. Here are the known benefits of the green version of the diet, as shown in the recent Heart study:
Reduces cardiovascular risk even more than the traditional Mediterranean diet
Enhances insulin sensitivity
Improves cholesterol and blood pressure
Lowers risk for heart disease and stroke
Fights obesity, improves waist circumference
Reduces risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Helps reduce cravings because of higher fiber and nutrient intake
Wow, right?Best of all, these benefits are enjoyed both with the Bible diet or the Daniel fast as they both include similar foods!
Bible Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet
The similarities between the Med diet (including the green version) and the Bible diet or the Daniel Fast show that eating this way can produce amazing results and lead to excellent health.
But there are some key differences. (I highlight more of these in my Biblical Food Pyramid article.)
The Bible diet includes almost all the same foods eaten on a Mediterranean diet. However, unlike the green Med diet, the Bible diet includes red meat and poultry, but only if it’s locally sourced or we know the farmer. This ensures that we know exactly how those animals were raised and what they were fed.
There’s also a spiritual component. We don’t want to make food an idol. We treat food like the fuel and the gift it is from God and we seek to glorify Him in it.To learn more about these concepts, click here.
Green Mediterranean Diet Inspired Meal Plan
Now that you know some of the incredible ways following this type of diet can bless your health, let’s look at some examples of meals on a green Med diet:
Dinner: Delicious Vegan Lentil Soup
More Recipes & Meal Ideas
There are so many incredible meals and recipes you can enjoy on a green Mediterranean diet or a Bible diet. Here are some more:
The Final Takeaway
Following a Mediterranean diet (both the traditional and the green versions) offers amazing health benefits. What I love about it is how alike they are to the Bible diet and the Daniel Fast. By following these ancient ways of eating, you can pursue God’s best and experience the wonderful gift of excellent health.