Kids in Motion Presents the First Three Chapters Free
Chapter 1: Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet consists almost entirely of foods that come from plants and is considered a helping hearts diet.
Oldways is an organization that, along with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the World Health Organization, created the Mediterranean diet pyramid 25 years ago. At the top of the pyramid are the core foods, which include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and olive oil. The organizations suggest consuming fish and seafood on a twice-weekly basis in addition to moderate amounts of dairy products, eggs, and poultry. Only on occasion would consumers indulge in red meat and sweets. This kind diet is where it gets its reputation for helping hearts.
What are the Advantages and Detriments of Following a Mediterranean Diet?
If you’re on the fence about adopting a diet more typical of the Mediterranean, you should think about the studies that support the idea. According to the findings of a study and a meta-analysis, an individual’s likelihood of dying from any cause is reduced by five percent for every point that is added to their Mediterranean diet score on a scale that ranges from one to nine.
A study that involved over 26,000 women found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet the most closely had up to a 28 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. The researchers believe that the diet’s ability to reduce inflammation may be a key factor in its protective effect. In addition, the antioxidant food component known as hydroxytyrosol, which may be found in foods that are staples of the diet (fruits, nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil), has been demonstrated to repair heart-harming free radical damage, according to the authors of the study. Helping hearts is one of the primary benefits of this diet
Even if you don’t place a high priority on living a long life and taking care of your heart, there is no ignoring the possibility that you could be interested in the Mediterranean diet due to the possible weight loss it offers. This kind of eating may help you maintain your weight without making you feel deprived, despite the fact that this is not the primary purpose of the strategy.
A study that was conducted by researchers from Harvard University and Emory University followed a group of overweight or obese adults on the Mediterranean diet and a control group eating a standard American diet supplemented with fish oil, walnuts, and grape juice — foods that supply key nutrients in the Mediterranean diet — for a period of eight weeks. A standard American diet is rich in foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and salt. The Mediterranean diet is rich in foods that are low in these three categories. In comparison to the control group, those who followed the Mediterranean diet experienced greater weight loss, a reduction in the blood levels of inflammatory markers, and a decrease in both their total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. A pleasant surprise was that this wasn’t supposed to be a study on weight loss in the first place (that was just an added benefit), so researchers made sure both groups consumed the same amount of calories.
When it comes to controlling chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, dietitians frequently suggest adopting a dietary pattern that is inspired by the Mediterranean. The American Heart Association notes that this diet is considered heart-healthy despite the fact that it contains more fat than is typically recommended (though it is still low in unhealthy saturated fat).
The main takeaway is that this is one of the healthiest ways you can eat, but as with anything else, you should always talk to your doctor before changing your diet or using a diet as part of your treatment plan for a disease.
5 Suggestions to Help You Get Started on Your Own Mediterranean Diet Plan
Because this is a method of eating rather than a strict set of rules, the good news is that you are free to modify it in any way you see fit to accommodate your preferences for food and drink. There is no way to adhere to this to the letter without risking falling off the bandwagon and experiencing feelings of inadequacy. Even within the Mediterranean diet there are what we call ‘special occasion days,’ where you may eat more or eat foods that perhaps are not very healthy, but that is actually part of the lifestyle. A healthy connection with food is encouraged by the Mediterranean diet, which recognizes that food is meant to be enjoyed. The term “cheating” refers to a component of the Mediterranean diet. You merely go about your business the following day as if nothing had happened.
Nevertheless, in order to get you started, here are five key pieces of advice:
- Eat a diet high in beans. Not only are they a pantry staple that you probably aren’t eating enough of anyway, but they are also budget-friendly and offer a plethora of nutritional benefits, such as being high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and a source of B vitamins, iron, and antioxidants. Lentils, dried peas, beans, and chickpeas (such those used to make hummus) are examples of these foods.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol. One of the most popular misconceptions about folks who follow the Mediterranean diet is that they consume a great deal of red wine. The consumption of wine as part of the Mediterranean diet is done so in moderation, and it is always consumed with food. It was common practice to drink only a little amount of wine with meals, typically between three and four ounces.
- Cook the meat as a side dish. In the past, people only ate meat on special occasions, such as a Sunday meal, and even then they only ate a limited amount of it on those occasions. You should make an effort to eat more vegetarian main courses throughout the day, such as those that are based on beans, tofu, or seitan. When you do eat meat, choose lean cuts like chicken without the skin and limit your consumption of red meat to once a week or twice a month at most.
- Consume fewer sugary foods. Treat sweets like you would meat and save them for rare occasions but on a daily basis, there isn’t much sugar eaten. This does not mean that sugar is forbidden; for instance, you can put some in your coffee if you want to.
- Olive oil is great to cook with. The best oil for cooking is extra-virgin olive oil, so always use that. Because olive oil is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, you may feel good about keeping a bottle of it on hand in the kitchen even though using too much of it might cause weight gain (it is, after all, a fat, so the calories can mount up quickly).
A Comprehensive Food List for the Mediterranean Diet
When attempting to make your diet more Mediterranean, the following foods should be included and others should be avoided:
Rarely or Never
- Red meat (beef and pork)
- Cured meats (bacon, sausage, and salami)
- Processed meat products (chicken nuggets)
Oil and Fat
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Avocadoes and avocado oil
- Canola oil
Rarely or Never
- Trans fats
Fruits and Veggies
- Nonstarchy veggies, (zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, artichokes, and dark greens)
- Starchy veggies (sweet potatoes, potatoes, and root vegetables)
- All fruits (peaches, cherries, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
- There are no off-limits fruits or vegetables.
Rarely or Never
- No fruits or veggies are off-limits.
Nuts and Seeds
- While they can be part of every day, eat them in moderation.
- Cashews (and all other unsweetened nuts)
Rarely or Never
- Sweetened trail mixes
- Sweetened nut butters
- Sugar-coated nuts
- Whole-grain bread (look for whole-wheat flour as the first ingredient)
- Whole grains (farro, bulgur wheat, barley, and quinoa)
- Oatmeal (steel-cut or old-fashioned)
- Pasta (choose whole-wheat pasta whenever possible)
- Whole-grain crackers
- All-bran cereals
Rarely or Never
- Frozen waffles and pancakes
- Sugar-sweetened cereals
- Crackers and other snack foods
- These are consumed in moderation.
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Plain ricotta and cottage cheese
- Brie, feta, or goat cheese (plus other cheeses that you enjoy)
Rarely or Never
- Ice cream
- Sweetened yogurt
- Processed cheese (like American)
- These are consumed in moderation.
- A small amount of added sugar (in coffee or tea, for example)
Rarely or Never
- White sugar
Condiments and Sauces
- Tomato sauce (no sugar added)
- Balsamic vinegar
Rarely or Never
- Barbecue sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Red wine or other alcohol
Rarely or Never
- Fruit juice
- Bottled sweetened coffee
Herbs and Spices
- All dried herbs and spices
- All fresh herbs
- Salting food to taste
Rarely or Never
- There’s no reason to restrict these in your foods.
Your Guide to Following the Mediterranean Diet for the Next 14 Days
When it comes to arranging your menu, here are some suggestions for where to get started. Please take into consideration portion quantities aren’t provided. Calorie counting is not required while following this particular diet plan. Your body has unique requirements, and those of another individual won’t match up with them.
Breakfast Coffee or tea with a bowl of oatmeal topped with berries
Snack Handful of almonds or walnuts
Lunch Half of a turkey sandwich made with whole-grain bread and a cup of lentil soup
Snack Sliced carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers dipped in hummus
Dinner Veggie and white bean stew
Breakfast Coffee or tea with plain Greek yogurt topped with a drizzle of honey and walnuts
Snack Roasted chickpeas
Lunch Leftover veggie and bean stew from yesterday’s dinner
Snack A peach (or apple, depending on the season)
Dinner Roasted chicken served with pita bread, tzatziki (a yogurt-based sauce), and a side salad
Breakfast Smoothie made with the milk of your choice, fruit, and nut butter
Snack ¼ avocado mashed with lemon juice and salt on top of whole-grain crackers
Lunch Three-bean soup topped with a dollop of pesto and served with a whole-grain roll
Snack Package of olives and fresh veggies
Dinner Salmon with farro and roasted zucchini and eggplant
Breakfast Coffee or tea and toasted whole-grain bread, sliced cheese, and strawberries
Lunch Lentil-based salad with feta, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives
Snack Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
Dinner Grilled shrimp served with sautéed kale and polenta
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a breakfast bowl of leftover farro (from dinner on day 3) topped with a poached egg and a few slices of avocado
Snack Dried apricots and walnuts
Lunch Quinoa, bean, and veggie salad served with a slice of whole-grain bread
Snack Whole-grain crackers and black bean dip
Dinner Marinated, grilled chicken skewers served with bulgur wheat and a cucumber and red onion salad
Breakfast Coffee or tea and smoked salmon, capers, and tomato slices
Snack In-season fruit (such as a peach or two apricots in summer, or a pear in winter)
Lunch Mediterranean bean salad and whole-grain crackers
Snack Piece of cheese and olives
Dinner Moroccan lamb stew with couscous
Breakfast Coffee or tea and Greek yogurt with sunflower seeds and raspberries
Snack Sliced orange and pistachios
Lunch A piece of whole-grain bread with sliced tomatoes, cheese, and olives
Snack Packaged, flavored lupini beans
Dinner Red lentil and vegetable stew
Breakfast Coffee or tea and two eggs with sautéed greens (spinach or kale), plus an orange
Snack Roasted chickpeas
Lunch Leftover lamb stew from dinner on day 6
Snack Mixed nuts with a piece of dark chocolate
Dinner Baked white fish, roasted potatoes, and zucchini
Breakfast Smoothie made with the milk of your choice, frozen cherries, banana, and cocoa powder
Snack Mini peppers stuffed with hummus
Lunch Tuna salad made with olive oil, dried herbs, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes served on a bed of spinach with mixed veggies and whole-grain crackers
Snack Piece of cheese with a piece of fruit
Dinner Hearty Tuscan white bean soup with whole-grain bread
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a bowl of oatmeal topped with raisins and crushed walnuts, plus a drizzle of honey, if desired
Snack Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit
Lunch Leftover Tuscan white bean soup from dinner on day 9
Snack Hummus with sliced raw veggies like red peppers, celery, and cucumber
Dinner Garlic lemon chicken thighs served with asparagus and Israeli couscous
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a slice of veggie frittata with avocado
Snack Apple with nut butter
Lunch Prepared dolmas (look for these stuffed grape leaves in the prepared food section at some grocers) with hummus and pita
Snack Greek yogurt dip with sliced veggies
Dinner Seafood stew (shrimp and white fish in a tomato base)
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a small bowl of ricotta topped with fruit (berries, peaches, or fresh apricots) and a drizzle of honey
Snack Handful of lightly salted nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, or a mix)
Lunch Greek pasta salad (whole-grain pasta with red onion, tomato, Kalamata olives, and feta) served on a bed of romaine
Snack Fruit salad
Dinner Leftover seafood stew from dinner on day 11
Breakfast Coffee or tea and oatmeal with nut butter and blueberries
Snack Container of Greek yogurt
Lunch Salmon salad sandwich with a cup of bean-based soup
Snack Smashed avocado on whole-grain crackers
Dinner Shakshuka (baked eggs in tomato sauce) topped with feta and served over polenta
Breakfast Coffee or tea and toasted whole-grain bread topped with ricotta and sliced fruit
Snack Dried cranberries and mixed nuts
Lunch Quinoa bowl with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and walnuts
Snack Olives and a few pita chips dipped in hummus
Dinner Artichoke and cannellini bean pasta with bread crumbs and Parmesan
s, and Parmesan cheese for supper.
Chapter 2: The DASH Diet
Rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein, the DASH diet is low in salt. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Originally, the diet was designed to help decrease hypertension, but it’s a healthy method of weight loss as well.
How It Works
Eating healthful foods is made easier with the DASH diet. This goes beyond a conventional low-salt diet. Foods rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and fiber are emphasized in the DASH diet because these nutrients work together to decrease blood pressure.
When following the DASH diet, you should consume lots of:
- Fruit and non-starchy veggies
You consume reasonable amounts of:
- low-fat or fat-free dairy products
- whole grains
- Lean meats, chicken, lentils, beans, soy products, eggs, and egg substitutes
- Seeds and nuts
- Heart-healthy fats found in avocados and canola and olive oils
It’s best to limit:
- Sweets and drinks with added sugar
- foods heavy in saturated fats, including most packaged snacks, fatty meals, full-fat dairy, and tropical oils
- Use of alcohol
You can determine how many calories you need to consume each day with the assistance of your healthcare physician. Your age, gender, degree of activity, underlying medical issues, and whether or not you’re trying to maintain or reduce weight all affect how many calories you require.
You can adhere to a diet that permits you to consume 1,500 mg or 2,300 mg of salt (sodium) daily.
When adhering to the DASH diet, you ought to restrict your intake of the following foods:
- foods seasoned with salt
- drinks sweetened with sugar
- meals heavy in saturated fats, like deep-fried dishes and whole-fat dairy products
- packaged foods, which are frequently heavy in sugar, fat, and salt
Consult your provider before adding more potassium to your diet or using salt substitutes, which frequently contain potassium. People with kidney issues or those on specific medications need to watch how much potassium they eat.
DASH suggests exercising for at least half an hour per day, most days of the week. The key is to engage in moderately intense exercises for a minimum of two hours and thirty minutes a week. Engage in heart-pumping workouts. Spend 60 minutes a day exercising to help avoid weight gain.
Numerous studies have examined the many health advantages of the DASH diet. This eating plan may be helpful to follow to:
- Reduce elevated blood pressure
- Lower your chance of stroke, heart failure, and heart disease
- assist in preventing or managing type 2 diabetes
- lower cholesterol levels
- Lower the likelihood of kidney stones
In developing the DASH diet, the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute contributed. Additionally, it is advised by The Heart Association of America
You will get all the nutrients you require if you stick to this diet. It is secure for both kids and adults. It is a fiber-rich eating approach that is low in saturated fat and advised for all individuals.
It is a good idea to discuss any health conditions you may have with your provider before beginning this or any other weight loss eating plan.
You will probably be eating a lot more fruits, veggies, and whole grains when following the DASH diet eating plan. These foods are high in fiber, and consuming too much fiber too soon might lead to gastrointestinal distress. Increase your daily intake of fiber gradually, and make sure you’re getting enough water.
The diet is generally simple to stick to and ought to satisfy you. It’s possible that purchasing more fruits and vegetables than previously will result in higher costs compared to prepared meals.
You can follow the diet if you’re gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan.
Where to Look for Further Details
Visit the “What Is the DASH Eating Plan?” page of the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute to get started. – http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan
Books with recipes and advice on the DASH diet are also available for purchase.
There is also the DASH diet for hypertension and the DASH diet for blood pressure.
Chapter 3: The Flexitarian Diet
A plant-forward, semi-vegetarian diet is the general definition of the flexitarian diet.
More precisely, a flexitarian diet is a flexible eating pattern that promotes the consumption of meat less frequently and/or in smaller amounts, integrates dairy and eggs, and stresses the addition of plant or plant-based foods and beverages.
A flexitarian diet has no predetermined macronutrient or calorie targets.
The flexitarian diet’s tenets are in line with the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
According to new research, adopting a flexitarian diet may help manage weight and lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
The majority of Americans do not get enough dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, legumes (such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans, including soy), or legumes. A “flexitarian diet” aims to make dietary choices easier by emphasizing what can be added to the diet rather than what should be eliminated, even though a complete diet overhaul may seem daunting.
The combination of the terms “flexible” and “vegetarian” is the flexitarian diet. The term “flexitarian diet” refers to a semi-vegetarian, plant-forward diet that includes dairy and eggs and occasionally permits meat consumption, despite the lack of a universally accepted definition. Without necessitating adherence to the strict dietary guidelines of 100% vegetarian or vegan diets, the emphasis on plant foods is believed to contribute to the health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet.
A flexitarian diet has no predetermined macronutrient or calorie targets. Rather, the objective is to gradually increase the intake of plant-based or plant-derived foods; meat is still allowed; it is just to be consumed less frequently and/or in smaller amounts.
The majority of the calories in a flexitarian diet are derived from nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Plant-based foods (such as foods made from soy, legumes, nuts, and seeds) are the main source of protein. Dairy products and eggs are good sources of protein; meat, particularly red and processed meats, provides less of it. Owing to its focus on foods high in nutrients, the flexitarian diet promotes reducing intake of sodium, added sugars, and saturated fat.
Your Health and the Flexitarian Diet
Although less strict than a vegan or 100% vegetarian diet, a flexitarian diet can still be beneficial to health. The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which advocate choosing comparatively less red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and refined grains and more nutrient-dense foods and beverages (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats), are in line with the plant-forward philosophy of a flexitarian diet.3.
A 2016 review of the evidence-based literature looked at the effects of switching to a flexitarian diet and included 25 studies (21 observational studies and 4 randomized controlled trials). Note that the definitions of the diets included in this review varied slightly: from “a diet recommending moderate levels of animal intake” to “a diet comprised of a total of red meat or poultry ≥1 time/month but all meats combined (including fish) <1 time/week and eggs/dairy in any amount.” The review discussed new data that points to the flexitarian diet as a potential means of lowering blood pressure, improving metabolic health indicators, and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet may also be helpful in the management of inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease, according to the same review.
The flexitarian diet’s emphasis on foods high in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and protein is thought to be responsible for the foods’ protective effects.
A growing amount of research is looking at how flexitarian diets can affect heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and weight management, among other health issues.
A flexitarian or semi-vegetarian diet that increases the intake of plant-based foods may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. A diet high in plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to research.
Numerous studies have looked at the effects of plant-based diets on the risks associated with diabetes. Flexitarian diets are linked to significantly lower insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance levels compared to non-vegetarian diets. They also lower the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.
Dietary patterns that are flexitarian or semi-vegetarian have been linked to a lower risk of developing some cancers, including colon cancer.10.
Control of Weight
A flexitarian diet that includes more plant-based foods may help with weight control. According to research, people who follow a flexitarian diet have significantly lower body fat percentages and body weights than people who follow non-vegetarian eating patterns.
Additional Advantages of Dietary Fiber Sources
Just around 5% of Americans meet the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, which is 14 grams per 1,000 calories. The majority of Americans only consume about half of this recommended amount. A person’s daily intake of dietary fiber, which is important for gut and bowel health and facilitates proper digestion and nutrient absorption, can be increased by eating more plant-based foods. In addition, dietary fiber intake has been connected to a number of possible health advantages, such as a lower risk of hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity, certain gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic dysfunctions like type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, and certain cancers.
Sources of Vitamins and Minerals through Diet
Numerous health-promoting vitamins and minerals, such as folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese, as well as vitamins A, C, E, and K, are found in plant-based diets. These nutrients are essential for the proper functioning of our immune systems, muscles, heart, nerves, skin, gut, brain, and eyes. Frequently, they are not ingested in sufficient quantities. Although the focus of this diet is primarily on the health benefits of plant-based foods, dairy and eggs are also permitted and offer additional nutrients and high-quality protein. Eggs provide vitamins A, D, E, choline, iron, lutein, and folate; dairy contains B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.
Effects on the Environment
Aside from the obvious health benefits, switching to plant-based diets from animal sources can also have a less harmful effect on the environment. When compared to omnivorous diets or animal foods, plant-based foods can help consumers meet functional and nutritional requirements while producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that these comparisons do not take into consideration the reduced bioavailability of some nutrients, like iron and protein, in specific plant-based diets. This indicates that some nutrients found in some plant foods are not absorbed by our bodies as well as they can by our bodies from animal foods. Therefore, when nutrient density is taken into account, the environmental footprints of some plant-based foods do indeed increase.
Ways to Initiate a Flexitarian Dining Plan
Arrange fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats on your plate at every meal.
The majority of the time, choose plant-based foods (such as legumes, nuts, and seeds), dairy products, and eggs when selecting your protein sources.
Enjoy the flexibility of this plan; meat can be added occasionally; just watch the amount that you eat.
Incorporate a greater amount of whole, nutrient-dense foods into your diet, as this may help you eat fewer foods and drinks that are heavy in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, and salt.
To sum up
Fundamentally, the flexitarian diet promotes flexibility, which may be appealing to those seeking a less regimented approach to better health. This diet’s primary goal is to gradually increase a person’s intake of plants without cutting out animal products. The flexitarian diet, which places a strong emphasis on plant-based and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich foods, has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
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