Mediterranean Nutrition and Lifestyle Modification Programs

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Mediterranean Nutrition and Lifestyle Modification Programs

Andrew Kawecki, MDContributor: Andrew M. Kawecki, MD, President and Owner of the Croatia Longevity Center, Ltd.

Choosing healthy foods is crucial for everyone, but it's especially important for those with diabetes. Switching from Western to Mediterranean nutrition can be an excellent lifestyle choice that may reduce the risks of many health issues.

Things to Know about Mediterranean Nutrition

  • It is rich in vegetables, fruit, peas and beans (legumes), and grains.
  • It also contains moderate amounts of fish.
  • Most fat is unsaturated and comes from olive oil and nuts.
  • Having a small amount of wine has been shown to increase the health benefits.
  • When combined with moderate exercise and not smoking, Mediterranean nutrition offers a scientifically researched, affordable, balanced, health-promoting lifestyle choice.

The Mediterranean diet is high in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and olive oil. Vegetables, especially greens, are one of the most important parts of the Mediterranean diet. Give these recipes a try to start your Mediterranean nutrition journey!

Italian Vegetable Soup
4 cups water
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1/2 15-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 3/4 cups chopped turnips
3 sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced green beans
2 cups diced zucchini
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Bring the water, tomatoes, and tomato paste to a boil. Add all the vegetables except the zucchini. Bring to a boil again, then turn down the heat and simmer until vegetables are half-done. Add the zucchini and the seasonings and cook until done.

Stuffed Mushrooms
12 large mushrooms
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 egg white
Remove the stems from the mushrooms, setting the caps aside. Trim and discard the ends, chop the stems finely. Add the parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and breadcrumbs. Beat the egg white with a fork until it is frothy, and mix with the mushroom stem mixture. Spoon into the mushroom caps. Place in a nonstick baking pan and bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.

What are Lifestyle Modification Programs?
Lifestyle Modification Programs (LMP) are designed to optimize the short-and long-term well-being of people with diabetes. Such programs can also improve conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, some cancers, depression, and obesity. Ultimately, they are meant to drive daily joy and mindfulness.

Compared to typical Western foods high in animal fats, sugar, and preservatives, eating LMP foods like healthy fats, lean proteins, fruit, and vegetables can help you feel more energized. Scientific research has shown that highly processed food combinations are partially responsible for triggering many chronic diseases and cancers. Research has also shown that eating healthy and delicious food in the LMP can reduce the chance of developing those conditions. Overall, unhealthy fat and processed food can contribute to insulin resistance.

Following general good-health guidelines and making good dietary choices are the best steps to keep you and your immune system strong and healthy.

Dr. Andrew Kawecki, MD, focuses on preventive medicine in his general practice, with special interests and areas of expertise including heart disease, clinical nutrition, diabetes treatment, and weight reduction. Dr. Kawecki opened the Heal Yourself Wellness Program in Croatia. He completed his internship at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and was trained in preventive medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Contact Dr. Kawecki at andrewmkawecki@gmail for more information about LMP programs in Croatia or Portugal.