How is that the Italians stay healthier and live longer with all that delicious food and tasty wine – la “Dolce vita”?
It is the Italian secret: The classic Mediterranean diet, now described and modernized in the Mamma Mia! Diet (MMD), a complete Italian lifestyle guide!
People underestimate the power of a healthy lifestyle and how it can affect their well-being. Nowadays it is well documented in scientific literature that a healthy diet, combined with regular exercise, can prevent various diseases and help you lose weight, feel more energetic and even be happier. From pasta culture to enjoying aromatic wine, you can pick up some Italian habits that can change your life. Here the 10 secrets of the MMD that you can adopt to make a difference for a better health, even if you don’t live in Italy.
1. Go to the market more
Make a list of “good” food and buy only what’s on the list. Going from one stand to another also allows you to develop a relationship with the people you are buying from, it is one of the ways we socialize. Talk to the vendors … shopping at the market can also be fun!
2. Prefer quality to quantity
Higher quality food will make you feel more satisfied. Eat more healthy carbohydrates (such as whole grains and legumes). Pasta is an excellent lunch dish (fuel for the rest of the day), but load it up with too much sauce (industrially-produced ones often have added sugar and salt), choose instead to top it with a lot of vegetables. Eat more fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, and fish. Reduce unhealthy carbohydrates (such as simple sugar) and unhealthy fat and trans fat, preferring extra virgin olive oil (rich in many nutrients). Limit meat, preferring poultry to red meat. Use less salt. Drink more water, eliminate all soft drinks, even so-called diet ones. During meals you can indulge in a single glass of good red wine rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. But don’t over do it!!
3. Think about smaller portions
Use smaller plates, so the amount of food seems greater. You will be eating less, but you won’t even realize it.
4. Plan what, and when, you eat, both at mealtimes and snacks
Whether you are dealing with breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks, it is important to be aware of what you are eating and to avoid impulse eating. Such tactics can have various beneficial effects on your health.
5. Make time for your mealtime
Whenever you can, take time to sit down at a properly-set table to enjoy your meal, sharing with your loved ones. Turn the TV and electronic devices off. This is the time of the day to connect with your family – that’s CONVIVIALITY.
6. Eat home-cooked food as much as possible
This allows you to control not only the ingredients and the cooking techniques. but also the appropriate portion size. Restaurants will often use increased portions to bring people in, but this situation just induces one to eat more. The MMD is an inclusive diet, but one key to its success is MODERATION.
7. Make smart choices when eating out
Going out or ordering in restaurant food once in a while should really be seen as an occasional treat rather than a routine. When you do indulge, select healthy food from the menu, skip fancy drinks, rich desserts and of course, never order a cappuccino after your meal. (Cappuccino is a morning treat!)
8. Get a sufficient amount of quality shut-eye
The reason sleep is so important is because it is time when your body is able to grow, repair itself and heal. Getting enough quality sleep at right times, following your natural biorhythms, can help protect your physical and mental health, and consequently your overall quality of life.
9. Exercise more
Regular exercise is important for your physical fitness and your general health, including your mood. Italians walk, ride their bikes and take the stairs whenever it is possible, instead of using cars and escalators. Try at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five times a week, and 45 minutes intense exercise three times a week. Instead of looking for the parking space right next to the building entrance, make a habit of leaving the car at the far end of the lot.
10. Last but not least , think sociable and not social
Put down your smartphone and spend time talking to the people around you. Try to meet someone new. When you’re on your own, you’re more likely to give into the temptation of snacking. Italians love to live in the town square – the piazza – and they are always interacting with the people around them. This activity gives your mind something to concentrate on other than food.
So there you have it! Adopt these 10 habits of the MMD and your body and soul will thank you. It is not difficult to achieve!
All excellent bits of advice, Paola, which I try to live by. I just need to work on Number 8…
Thanks Frank. Yes, good sleep is as important as good eating. So you should try to sleep at least 7-8 hours a day, your health will benefit from it! ….Sogni d’oro!!