Monday was my last day following the Mediterranean Diet recommendations. My goals throughout this week were to work on increasing the variety of my plant-based proteins to deal with the boredom I was experiencing after the first two weeks. I also wanted to really try to make sure that I met my vegetable recommendations.
What Went Well
I met my goals! Instead of just beans and nuts this week, I incorporated tofu stir fry for lunch as well as hummus, tuna, and salmon throughout the week. It definitely helped with the boredom factor. I also managed to meet my veggie goals and actually met the recommendations each day individually, though I did end up eating one more serving of white meat in the whole week than I should have (gasp!).
Overall, following the eating pattern got easier as time went on. I was pleased to see that over the course of the 3 week experiment my grocery budget averaged the same as normal ($100 per week). The Mediterranean Diet, using a meal plan, was easily doable on a budget of $100 per week for four people. Eating a lot of plant-based proteins was actually a great way to save on groceries (and helped to balance out the cost of seafood).
Without specifically trying, I lost 2 lbs over the course of the 3 weeks on my normal level of activity (possibly a tiny bit less even in the third week). That is a normal, healthy rate of weight loss, so the evidence that the Mediterranean Diet can promote healthy weight loss was backed up in my case.
What Could Have Gone Better
While the variety of plant-based proteins helped, I still just came to the conclusion that I don’t enjoy most plant-based proteins as much as I enjoy chicken. I really didn’t miss beef and pork that much – I don’t think I really eat more than 1-2 servings of those per week normally, they aren’t really my thing. Chicken though, is a staple in my diet. While I do enjoy plant-based eating and I aim for it often, my biggest struggle over the three weeks was limiting my white meat intake to two servings per week.
That leads into one of my least favorite things about the Mediterranean Diet pyramid: the restrictions. For example, no more than 2 servings of sweets or 1 serving of processed meat per week.I’m a little torn because I am a type-A person who appreciates tracking and having concrete details and recommendations, but the psychology of restrictions still causes me to feel deprived and want more. That’s no way to live your food life! Skim the recommendations and use them as a guideline, but don’t stress if you eat a little outside them here and there. Eating more plant-based meals and fewer sweets than you do now is a great step, even if you don’t hit the exact limits on the Mediterranean Diet pyramid.
How I Did
|Mediterranean Diet Goal*||Week #1||Week #2||Week #3|
|# of days nutrition recommendations met||7||5||4||7|
|Grains (daily average)||3-6 servings||4 servings||4.5 servings||4.5 servings|
|Potatoes (weekly)||≤3 servings||3 servings||2 servings||2 servings|
|Legumes (weekly)||>2 servings||3 servings||9 servings||10 servings|
|Dairy (daily average)||2 servings||2 servings||2 servings||2 servings|
|Fruits (daily average)||2-6 servings||2.5 servings||5 servings||3.5 servings|
|Vegetables (daily average)||4-6 servings||3 servings||3 servings||4 servings|
|Olives/nuts/seeds (daily average)||1 serving||1 serving||1 serving||1 serving|
|Eggs (weekly)||2-4 servings||3 servings||3 servings||4 servings|
|Seafood (weekly)||>2 servings||7 servings||4 servings||3 servings|
|Red meat (weekly)||<2 servings||1 serving||1 serving||2 servings|
|White meat (weekly)||2 servings||2 servings||1 serving||3 servings|
|Processed meat (weekly)||≤1 serving||1 serving||1 serving||1 serving|
|Sweets (weekly)||≤2 servings||2 servings||2 servings||2 servings|
|Weight change||-1 lb||0 lb||-1 lb|
|Grocery Budget Change||$0||-$33||+$35|
Stay tuned for more posts about the Mediterranean Diet – we’ll talk about eating out, tips for making the Mediterranean Diet easier, and more!