On August 10, 2009 WebMD published an article stating that "[p]eople who mostly follow the Mediterranean diet lower their risk of mental decline." In my quest to avoid Alzheimer's disease I purchased Dr. Angelo Acquista's book The Mediterranean Prescription. He explains what we should all be eating and also publishes meal plans and recipes. During the last week I have downed at least two cups of olive oil and eaten more fish than I've had for the last six months. Here is The Twelve Guiding Principles of the Mediterranean Prescription that Dr. Acquista says we should all be eating:
- Eat lots of fruits.
- Eat lots of vegetables.
- Eat lots of legumes (such as beans, peas, and lentils).
- Eat lots of nuts and seeds.
- Eat lots of whole grains, especially whole-grain bread.
- Use olive oil liberally, both in salads and in cooking.
- Consume a moderate about of low-fat dairy products.
- Eat fish.
- Eat the right fats (have a high ratio of unsaturated fats to saturated fats in your diet).
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Drink wine (especially red) in moderation, if you choose.
- Eat only small amounts of red meat and meat products.
One of the first recipes that I made from his book was his Lentil Soup. He says it serves four and those servings are extremely generous. Mike and I enjoyed a cup of this before our main entree.
One 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound dried lentils, picked through and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery ribs, chopped
4 stalks Swiss chard, thoroughly washed, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch strips
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the tomatoes in 1 tablespoon oil for 15 minutes and set aside.
- Rinse lentils under cold running water. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, in a 6-quart pot, and add all ingredients, including the pre-cooked tomatoes, except 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Bring back to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender.
- Remove from hear and add remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
I have tried to purchase swiss chard in the past and haven't been able to locate it. I found a beautiful bunch at our local farmer's market. If you have never seen it its stems are a lovely red, bright yellow and white. The entire plant is edible.
It is a nutritional powerhouse of food loaded with vitamins and is quite delicious.
I have to admit that I fell off the prescription this weekend enjoying Steak Diane, a sugary desert and a glass or two of chardonnay. I'm sure I had something else that I shouldn't have had, but I can't remember. :-) Life is good - enjoy!