The Mediterranean diet centers around foods traditionally eaten in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
The Mediterranean diet isn’t exactly a diet — it’s an eating principle featuring foods typical in countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain. There are no strict rules on exactly what, when, and how much to eat — instead, it focuses on the general cuisine.
As Insider has reported, a Mediterranean diet is:
- High in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes
- Moderate amount of lean protein from fish and, to a lesser extent, poultry and eggs
- Moderate amount of wine
- Low in saturated fats from red meat and dairy products
- Low in processed carbs and sugars
Research suggests the Mediterranean diet is linked to a longer, healthier life. In January 2023, it was ranked the best diet for the sixth year in a row by a panel of experts for US News & World Report, Insider’s Gabby Landsverk reported.
Research suggests eating the foods in the Mediterranean diet can benefit your heart and brain, lower the risk of diabetes, and aid in weight loss, depending on your meal plan.
John Goodman lost 200 pounds while following the Mediterranean diet.
The “Roseanne” star worked with fitness guru Mackie Shilstone to help lose weight after he hit 400 pounds over a decade ago.
Shilstone told the New York Post that she’d gotten Goodman on a “Mediterranean-style eating plan,” which the Post described as “one that leans heavily toward fish, nuts, olive oil, vegetables and fruit,” in 2015, when he’d lost 100 pounds.
“In the old days, I would take three months out, lose 60 or 70 pounds, and then reward myself with a six-pack or whatever and just go back to my old habits,” Goodman told ABC in 2017, Page Six reported. “This time, I wanted to do it slowly. Move, exercise. I’m getting to the age where I can’t afford to sit still anymore.”
He’s now lost 200 pounds. He also cut drinking, and now he tries to take between 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day.
Selena Gomez has said she drinks olive oil before going on stage.
In 2021, Gomez’s trainer, Amy Rosoff Davis, shared with Byrdie what she recommended Gomez ate while on tour.
“Last year on Selena’s ‘Revival’ tour, I made sure the dressing room always had veggies and protein and brown rice or whole grains,” Davis said.
“I made a lot of rice bowls with veggies, protein, and avocado for Selena. It helped give her energy and stamina, which she needed to get through her shows. I also made healthy chicken salad with grapes and celery — it quenched her thirst and the protein filled her up.”
Back in 2010, the “Lose You to Love Me” singer told Ellen DeGeneres that she drinks olive oil to coat her throat before performing. Olive oil is another staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Penélope Cruz follows the Mediterranean diet because it’s close to the cuisine she enjoys in her home country, Spain.
“My family and friends are all there so that’s my place. I love Spanish food. My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food. I eat well but I try to eat healthily,” Cruz told the Mirror in 2011.
She elaborated in an interview with Hello! magazine, saying, “I try to avoid dairy and sugar, and I can’t eat gluten because I have a big intolerance. I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and quality protein from free-range animals. I also drink gallons of water now, which is something I wasn’t doing. I barely drink alcohol, and I quit smoking years ago. I don’t miss that in my life.”
Fitness influencer Kayla Itsines has written about her love for the Mediterranean diet.
In a 2019 blog entry, Itsines wrote about why she follows this diet.
“For me, it’s all about balance, so I choose exactly what I want, and add lots of salads and roasted vegetables on my plate, as well as protein (I love seafood) and rice or pasta — and I never feel like I’m missing out,” she wrote.
When going to a restaurant, she recommended getting all dressing or sauce on the side. “I love dressing but only if it’s olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper! I steer away from heavy, creamy dressings as I don’t enjoy them, so I ask for dressings and sauces on the side,” she continued.
Cameron Diaz wrote about her diet in her books “The Body Book” and “The Longevity Book.”
According to Eating Well, in “The Longevity Book,” she wrote, “Good nutrition can extend life. What we eat affects how long we live and how we feel every day we are alive.”
The website reported that Diaz uses “protein + carbs + good fats + leafy greens” as a formula for her meals, and that she enjoys “a Mediterranean-style diet” that emphasizes “produce, whole grains, good fats and healthy proteins.”
Brooke Burke keeps in dancing shape with the Mediterranean diet.
“I try to eat something similar to a Mediterranean diet — lean meat, fish, crunchy vegetables, olive oil and green tea. Avoiding starches, flour, processed foods and saturated fats,” Burke told Forbes in 2022.
“There isn’t a restaurant in the world where I’m not able to find a great meal,” she said.
Catherine Zeta-Jones loves a Mediterranean-style salad.
“I have a salad every meal other than breakfast because I just adore it,” she said. Her favorite consists of mix of spinach, arugula, pine nuts, tomatoes, blue cheese, dried cranberries, and a dressing made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mustard.
In classic Mediterranean diet fashion, she also adds a light protein like chicken or “something light that doesn’t weigh me down too much.”