There are plenty of “diet” programs out there and far too many “diet” books to choose from, but the way we eat is part of an overall approach to health and wellness that is unique to us, our families, and our traditions. After all, food is more than medicine – it should be seen as playing an important role in the way we experience life, not simply a way to satisfy hunger, encompassing social ties, taste, love, and yes, good health.
Rather than promoting a specific “diet,” it is perhaps far better to support two specific dietary patterns that traditionally have been associated with good health - the Mediterranean- and Asian-styled patterns of eating.
Both dietary patterns are based in long-held cultural traditions that helped support family and community across generations, and emphasize physical activity, too.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean style of eating generally emphasizes plenty of vegetables and fruits, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, high-quality dairy products, and cold water fish. Wine, poultry, and eggs are enjoyed on occasion, and red meat only rarely; thus, this pattern of eating is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, but is low in saturated fat.
The Asian Diet
In similar fashion, Asian meals (focusing primarily on the traditional Japanese way of eating) almost always include vegetables and fruit, and fresh fish. Rice is a staple, as are noodles, and fermented soy (miso and tempeh, for example) holds a prominent place in a majority of recipes. Tea is the beverage of choice. Again, this approach to eating well is low in saturated fat, but it can be high in salt (sodium), so be sure to inquire about low-salt options when you go to your favorite Asian restaurant, and limit salt when making Asian-style dishes at home.
Of course, even the healthiest ingredients can be made into a relatively unhealthy meal based on the means of preparation and cooking. Stay close to the traditional ways of preparing Mediterranean and Asian meals, and you’ll have the best chance of them not only being good for you, but also tasting great!
yourwellness Asian meal idea:
Edamame & Ginger Salad
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
You will forget how quick and easy this recipe is after you taste it.
- 1 cup frozen shelled Edamame, thawed
- 1 ¼ cups frozen Harris Teeter cut corn, thawed
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped or grated ginger
- 1 (5.6 oz.) jar H.T. Traders roasted red pepper, drained and diced
- 1 bunch Farmers Market cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Harris Teeter Naturals organic canola oil
- Juice of 1 Farmers Market lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon Harris Teeter salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine edadame, corn, ginger, red pepper, cilantro, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Toss to coat well. Store in refrigerator until serving.