Recognized as one of the healthies ‘diets’ around, and based on the age-old dietary traditions of the Europeans localized in Crete, Greece and southern Italy, living the Meiterranean lifestyle seems like the way to go. This ‘diet’ is overtly abundant in fruits, vegetables and olive oil. The flavors are satisfying and rich, making them delicious and not to mention the health benefits for people choosing this diet are hard to forget—they are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or become obese. Recent studies have shown that the Mediterranean eating pattern helped people lose more weight than a conventional low-fat diet and helped people with diabetes better control their blood glucose levels. Here is my take of the Medierranean Diet in a nutshell.
1. Keep a stocked pantry and cook at home as often as able- After all, you know what goes into the meals you prepare yourself, allowing for moderation where appropriate.
2. Eat more whole foods and fewer processed foods.
3. Use unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated fats like olive oil, for cooking and flavoring foods, and for salad dressings.
4. Eat your veggies!-Not just sometimes, but every day.
5. Eat more fruits, grains and legumes, and include low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
6. Eat a vegetarian meal at least 2-3 times per week.
7. Choose fish as your main source of protein at least 2 times per week.
8. Consume moderate amounts of alcohol, limiting to 1-2 glasses with a meal.
9. Enjoy nuts, like almonds, peanuts and walnuts, regularly, but in moderate amounts
10. Eat slowly, enjoying your meal times. Try setting your utensil down between bites, slowing down the shoveling action and allowing you to savor the bite you have in your mouth.
The recipe is inspired by the heart healthy lifestyles of those Europeans mentioned above. Focusing on bold flavors, this lemon olive oil dressed pasta is something different, but enjoyable for your tastebuds. Definitly not your typical red or cream pasta sauce!
8 ounces uncooked whole wheat fettuccine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
-For the lemon oil: Combine 2 teaspoons olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.
-Cook fettuccine according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Set aside; keep warm. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped shallot and garlic to pan, and cook until the onion is tender, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shrimp to the pan, and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Add halved cherry tomatoes and 1/4 cup lemon juice to the pan, and cook for 4 minutes or until the shrimp are done, tomatoes are slightly broken down and half of the liquid has evaporated. Add chopped parsley and the next 5 ingredients (through 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper) to the shrimp mixture. Remove pan from heat. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil. Combine cooked fettuccine and lemon oil in a large bowl; toss well. Add shrimp mixture, tossing gently to coat.