If you follow health news, you’ve probably been inundated by now with revived exuberance for the Mediterranean diet [exhibit A, B and C]. Last month the New York Times reported, “About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals.” The study yielding these impressive results was even cut short because the results were so decisive that researchers found it unethical to continue.
To me, this diet just plain makes sense. Why? Because it’s not really a diet, it’s a lifestyle, and one that is pretty easy to maintain. Unlike other diets, the Mediterranean diet is not very restrictive and has a vast array of menu options to keep you interested and satisfied for the long haul. I would, however, add whole grains into the mix as they’re an important part of a well-balanced diet. Additionally, I encourage anyone without a lactose allergy to fit in some low-to-no fat dairy products. This is especially important for women as we need anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day.
The bottom line for a healthy heart and happy stomach: pick up some good olive oil, lay off the red meat (for the most part), enjoy some delicious salmon with a side of asparagus, and grab yourself a glass of wine. I think I could get used to this kind of lifestyle.
And finally, in the spirit of the Mediterranean diet, here is a great snack and/or appetizer recipe for you to try. Buon appetito!
Turmeric & Thyme Baked Potato Chips
What You’ll Need:
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
- 6-8 organic red-skinned potatoes (each about the size of two golf balls)
How to Make Them:
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F
- Slice potatoes 1/8″ or slightly thinner on a mandoline.
- Toss potatoes with all other ingredients in a large bowl.
- Arrange slices in a single layer on a cooling rack set atop a baking sheet (this allows air to crisp the chips 360°)
- Bake for 20 min, flip, then bake another 20 min.
[Serves 6-8 as an appetizer; approx 160 cal per person]
I like to pair them with Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar or a nice mixed olive tapenade. These would make a great app for any dinner party, potluck or tailgate.