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The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a predominately plant based diet that accents omega 3 rich fish sources and whole foods that are minimally processed. Olives and avocado contribute to the rich source of monounsaturated fats that prevent inflammation, the pathway that leads to many chronic diseases including cancer. Did you know that the origins of the Mediterranean diet include 12 different countries? At least 2 regions in the Blue Zones are of Mediterranean origin. The Blue zones are five regions across the globe that are hot spots of longevity based on their healthy diets and lifestyles. Want to live to be 100 years with an excellent quality of life? How can you incorporate these lifestyles into your daily living?

The three pillars of the Mediterranean lifestyle are:

·         Choose whole plant-based foods.

·         Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week.

·         Connect and become mindful with your food source. Are you eating in season? Can you imagine your food growing in the earth? Find a peaceful place to eat your meals. If you can, share meals with family and friends.

The Mediterranean diet appears to impart its benefits by including whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes, along with healthy fats. Dairy, eggs, poultry and fish are eaten in moderation with less intake of red and processed meats, packaged foods and sweets.

With fall harvest, comes the collection of my favorite Mediterranean staples, green and red peppers and of course tomatoes. So many things we can do with the tomato, but this Authentic Greek salad accents the flavor of the tomato bringing your mind’s eye to the image of siting in a seaside café overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Pairing salmon tartines with the salad encompasses all the flavors of this wonderful diet pattern.

Authentic Greek Salad

•      4 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into wedges

•      1 English cucumber (or two small Persian cucumbers), sliced

•      1 large green bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced

•      1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

•      1 cup pitted kalamata olives

•      3–4 tablespoons olive oil

•      2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

•      1 teaspoon dried oregano, plus extra for serving

•      sea salt

•      5 ounces’ feta cheese, thickly-sliced if possible


•      Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion and olives in a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle evenly with olive oil and red wine vinegar, and sprinkle with the oregano and a pinch of salt.

•      Toss briefly. Then top with feta cheese. And finish the salad by drizzling a little extra olive oil and adding another pinch of oregano on top.

•      Serve and enjoy! Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Recipe Source: gimmesomeoven.com

Salmon tartines

•      8 slices whole-grain bread, sliced ¼ inch thick (toasted) OR 1 English cucumber, sliced

•      2 ripe avocados, seeded, peeled, and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick

•      1 lemon, halved

•      8 slices smoked salmon (about 8 oz) or 1 can wild caught salmon

•      1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

•      2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

•      Dill fronds for garnish

•      Optional salt and pepper


•      If using bread, toast in oven first, otherwise arrange toasted bread slices OR cucumber slices on cutting board

•      Overlap slices of avocado on each side of bread/cucumber (about 1/8 to ¼ each)

•      Sprinkle the avocado with lemon juice (optional, sprinkle with salt and pepper)

•      Place one large piece of smoked salmon (or canned salmon) on top of avocado

•      Drizzle with balsamic vinegar

•      Garnish with purple onion and dill fronds

Recipe Source: Modified from Walder Wellness at https://www.walderwellness.com/canned-salmon-crostini-3-ways/ 

For more information about the Mediterranean Diet, check out this video.

Audrey Caspar-Clark MS, RD, LDN, Doris Piccinin, MS, RD, CDE, CSO, LDN, Carly Roop, RD, CSO, MA, LDN, and Caroline Meehan, RDN, CSOWM, LDN, CDCES are the registered dietitians at the Abramson Cancer Center at Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine who specialize in cancer nutrition and provide information based on sound nutritional therapies to support patients throughout their cancer treatment.



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