The Mediterranean Diet consistently ranks among the top when evaluated like in this US News Best Diets Ranking and by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It emphasizes wholesome, flavorful foods and encourages the enjoyment of meals. Essentially you'll eat lots of vegetables and enjoy small amounts of meat. (It's easy to take this challenge vegetarian if you'd like.) People are encouraged to eat breakfast and enjoy seafood a couple of times a week. Emphasis is placed on good fats -- extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, etc... Greek yogurt and some cheeses allow you to get your dairy fix. Dessert is generally fruit saving other sweets for special occasions. And, I know some of you will love this part, a moderate consumption of wine is fine. (That's generally one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women to be consumed with your evening meal.)
We've kicked off past years with a weight loss challenge. People have had varying degrees of success over those 12 week programs, but very few folks have been able to keep the weight they lost off. So, this year we decided to focus on making a sustainable, healthy, lifestyle change. If weight loss is among your goals, you can easily build a calorie deficit into your Mediterranean Diet eating plan. The Mediterranean Diet also has many cardiovascular benefits and is said to help prevent or control diabetes.
Cyndi Fales, our partner at Lifework Strategies, recommended The New Sonoma Diet book by Dr. Connie Guttersen as a guide. We also like the resources at Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization. Cyndi will be helping us plan our challenge. Obviously, our focus will be on the ASHA staff, but you are welcome to participate from home. We'll be posting all kinds of resources and tips here as well as on our Facebook page. I'm especially hoping our #ASHAFit members will join us. Stay tuned for more information!