Food & Drink

That Time I Tried Being A Mediterranean For A Week

By Zoe Kirby - 09 May 2016

For the sake of our lovely Metropolist readers, and well, my own inquisitive soul, here I am ready and willing to take on the challenge of sticking to the Mediterranean diet for seven whole days.

Purely so we can tell you whether it’s worth giving it a go (and not because I like the idea of trying out a diet that involves red wine…). I know, pretty great of me, huh?

I turned to Google for a shopping list and based all of my meals on the foods it recommended consuming. Oh, and I also turned to Dan Murphy’s—for the red wine. That was fun.

Day One

Anzac Day. Yes it’s a public holiday, didn’t think that one through, did I? No Anzac biscuits for me! Because I’m giving this Mediterranean lifestyle a go, naturally my fiancé is forced to do the same. So out of bed we jump, ready to take a walk to the beach (apparently this diet is designed for people living an active lifestyle—yes, even on a public holiday).

Concerned about what to eat as my usual breakfast involves at least two eggs (poultry is to be kept to a restricted serving), I grab a handful of raspberries and a plum, and be on my way. “Eat fruit and lots of it.” Got that noted.

After watching the Anzac Parade, we sit down at a Malaysian kitchen… hardly off to a good start, am I? But I settle for a soup made on a chilli and tomato base, complete with prawns and vegetable goodness. Seafood—tick. Herbs and spices—tick. Vegetables—tick. Not so bad at all.

Salmon sandwiches on wholegrain rye bread with tomato soup. Oh, and red wine. As I may have mentioned, this is actually encouraged… let’s face it, you all want to be on the Mediterranean diet now, don’t you?

Day Two

Feeling lazy. I think this is rather the case of severe Mondayitis… on a Tuesday.

Started the day with a weights session and half an omelette. There goes half of my weekly egg allowance… Oh well, it was totally worth it.

Greek salad, jam-packed with Mediterranean salady goodness… Not going to lie, it was pretty bland. But, it got me through the day. That and snacking on a few nuts and of course, fruit salad for dessert.

After getting unexpectedly prodded by the dentist, I wasn’t feeling too crash hot, regardless of the fact that half my face was numb with injectables and that I was blissfully unaware of the drool dribbling down my chin… I didn’t think much would go down too well tonight, and well, my care factor was next to none. Frozen veggies and a glass of red it was, seeing as chocolate was off the menu.

Day Three

Feeling skeptical whether this is working.

Oats and a green smoothie. I am a loud and proud, shout-it-from-the-rooftops smoothie fanatic, so this wasn’t so bad. Although, I did miss my eggs.

The same Greek salad I ate the day before. Only slightly soggier.

Chicken casserole with vegetables brought to our door by my ultra-talented-in-the-kitchen mother-in-law. I was mindful and kept the poultry to a minimal and loaded up my plate with veggies. Oh, and loaded up my glass with… yep, you guessed it—red wine.

Day Four

Feeling pretty sluggish.

Oats and a coffee. Needed a bit of a pick-me-up this AM so I poured myself a big cup of extra strong coffee with my bowl of oats and enjoyed watching the morning usual, Sunrise. (C,mon, who doesn’t love Kochie’s dad jokes?)

Got myself in a bit of a predicament… I forgot my lunch. So off I went to Subway. I know, it’s not the best of options but I didn’t have too much choice. I ordered a wrap filled with all the salads and the seafood mix with no sauces. Yes, I am one of those weird Subway customers who orders the seafood mix that no-one likes, but this time I totally had a legit excuse as Mediterranean’s eat a lot of fish! Needless to say it was probably not the best choice as I didn’t consider the mound of mayo that the seafood is mixed in. Still, I did the best I could under the circumstances, okay?

A green smoothie. Eeep! My bad eating habits have really come to the surface now, haven’t they? But a smoothie is better than the Chinese takeaway that I was considering, right?

Day Five

Feeling like the long weekend and the end of this diet couldn’t come soon enough.

You guessed it… oats. But with a cup of tea this time. Hashtag living life on the edge.

Vegetables with half a cup of brown rice. Bland, but not too bad for a quick bite at the desk.

Homemade pizza. The healthy version, I swear. Made on a wholegrain wrap and loaded with mushrooms, basil, tuna, and Spanish onion. Italy is in the Mediterranean, right?

Day Six

Considering I woke up at 4am with next to no sleep, I’m feeling pretty revitalised. Maybe it’s because we are heading to Adelaide over the long weekend for a few days of R&R and winery hopping.

Um, does coffee count? Like I said, 4am wakeup. In-flight coffee it was for me. I’m sure I’ll even out the calorie intake with all the wine (red wine, that is).

Off we went on a day trip to Hahndorf, the German-influenced town located in the Adelaide Hills. As expected, the fiancé broke the Mediterranean deal there and then—ordering a stein of beer and a giant kransky hot dog with all the trimmings. Persisting, I ordered a pork and stewed apple salad roll, and then proceeded to pick out all the fillings and ignore that the delicious, freshly-baked bread existed in the first place. Finished off with, you guessed it, a red wine.

Still full from lunch, I just kept slurping the red wines. Did I mention this diet is totally fabulous?

Day Seven

Last and final day surviving on the Mediterranean diet. Feeling pretty proud of myself, and downright fabulous.

Eggs and spinach, saved the best ‘til last and used up my egg quota on the final day.

Off we went to the Barossa Valley, the home of delicious wine—red wine for that matter! Naturally, by midday I had sampled enough red wines to last me until our flight home. So lunch, well, it wasn’t exactly on my radar. Munching on small slices of cheese, a whole lot of olives, and a few pickled cucumbers seemed enough to get me by.

We returned from the beautiful Barossa for a meal of barbecued vegetables and chicken. All while wrapped up in our winter woolies with the heating on (far from Sunshine Coast-style). I enjoyed my fair share of vegetable goodness and reflected on the past seven days of challenges and accomplishments.

The Verdict

The Mediterranean diet is definitely something I’d try again and potentially even adopt within my regular kitchen habits. While limiting my egg intake and maximising my wholegrain consumption (which to me, screamed CARBS) seemed totally bizarre at first… it’s definitely proved itself to be effective. I have never had so much energy and genuinely feel great about myself… of course a day at the Barossa wineries would never have influenced that.

But seriously, if you’re wanting to try out a diet but are unsure whether you will receive enough energy or essential nutrients, look no further than being a Mediterranean for a week, and decide for yourself.

Image Credit: Fast Company

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