Recently, I went to a doctor’s appointment called Welcome to Medicare. The main thing I took away from this visit to my doctor is that I am quite healthy for a person in my age group. Fortunately, weight is not an issue for me; but I told him I am worried about eating healthy now that I’m officially a senior citizen. He recommended several good diet plans I could try. I settled on the Mediterranean Diet for several reasons.
Over the years I have developed a few chronic health issues which do affect my eating habits. I have high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and no gallbladder. This means I need to try to eat low salt, low carbohydrate, and low fat.
The Mediterranean diet seems to be a good fit for me in most ways. While I am not a vegetarian, I have never eaten much red meat. This diet is perfect meat-wise because it includes poultry as a protein source as well as fish for protein and omega 3 fatty acids which nourish the heart and brain. Red meat is not part of the diet plan.
One of the main features of the Mediterranean diet is the use of olive oil. I am still actively working as a professional chef. I recommend and use nothing but olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is not highly processed and contains the high antioxidants. The higher quality olive oils have a stronger flavor. I use them on salads and for dipping bread. Where I don’t want the olive taste, I use the cheaper olive oil which is available by the gallon for my day to day cooking.
Whole grains foods like breads and pasta are a big part of the Mediterranean Diet as are fruits and nuts. Breads, pastas, and fruits are problematic for diabetics. I try to keep my carbs under 20 grams a day. That is about the equivalent of one slice of bread or a small apple. I cannot eat everything the diet recommends without causing blood sugar problems. Nuts are a great protein snack, but they don’t agree with my aging digestive system.
Instead of the breads and fruits, I primarily eat vegetables, especially the legumes recommended by the Mediterranean diet plan. They fill me up and satisfy my hunger while supplying fiber and protein. The red wine recommended by the diet is OK, too, in a small amount. Again, alcohol is not good for diabetics so I generally avoid it.
The Mediterranean Diet is generally low fat which is good for me. It also includes no processed foods. Food additives include a lot of salt and chemicals which aggravate my high blood pressure and my diabetic neuropathy.
Managing my diabetes and other eating issues are part of my life as I age. I’m finding the Mediterranean diet has a lot of pluses and is fairly easy for me to follow. Not only that, it will be good for my overall health in the long term and so I intend to follow the plan for the foreseeable future.