With summer here and holidays about to commence, plus our upcoming retreat to Italy (nestled in acres of olives groves) I felt it was a good time to share  the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Not diet as 'go on a diet' but as a lifestyle change.

How many of your have visited the Mediterranean and observed the sights, sounds and smells of lazy lunches and long evening meals? There is something so beautiful about how the people in this part of the world live. Not only the family and socially oriented aspect but also what they consume. Have you ever noticed how healthy they look? Tanned, rich, smooth skin? Bright, sparkling eyes? People here eat food to nourish their bodies, not as a comfort or distraction. This is a healthy way of eating and one that is sustainable.

The following steps are doable ways you can incorporate Mediterranean habits into your everyday, making your food fresher, eating as a communal experience and allowing for indulgences.

    Vegetables are by far the most important centre of every meal, not as a side dish - as per our western diets! With more farmers markets popping up in large and small towns it is easy to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. You'll be surprised at how cost effective this is too.
    Replace butter with healthy fats such as olive oil. 
    Olives have huge benefits. They are very high in vitamin E - a powerful antioxidant. They are good of your heart health and protect against osteoporosis and cancer. As well as improving circulation and brain health. 
    Eat more avocados - 75% of the fat in an avocado is heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
    Mediterranean meals incorporate many forms of protein that is not chicken, red meat or pork. This is reached through full fat dairy, nuts, seeds, eggs, legumes and seafood. One of my personal favourites is grilled halloumi.
    Mediterraneans do have a sweet-tooth, so a desert is an integral part of their lifestyle. However,  the difference is they buy from markets and bakeries so it is rare you'll find artificial sweeteners. They are also big on using natural sweetness from figs, honey and fresh fruit.
    Examples of plentiful and tasty deserts would be:
    Pistachios with créme fraiche and honey
    Almond Cake
    Grilled Pineapple with strawberries and fresh mint
    Fruit sorbets

So, with the sunshine as your inspiration, if you are on a staycation or actually visiting the Mediterranean this year remember the above tips to improve your wellness within your daily meals.