NYS Certified Nutritionist

Improving our Western Diet

Countless studies have concluded that Americans should ditch our slap dash dietary habits, replacing them with the wholesome [and delicious] Mediterranean style of eating. Our abundance has led too many of us to suffer from the ‘diseases of affluence,’ so named by Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University. These food and lifestyle related illnesses are heart disease, obesity, Type II diabetes, gout, certain cancers, and certain dementias.

What should we do if we want to reduce our risks of the diseases of affluence? It is as simple as: limiting or eliminating processed, grilled and fried animal protein; filling half our plates with colorful produce; reducing our sodium intake; eating more legumes, nuts, and seeds; using sugar and artificial sweeteners judiciously; being aware of calories hidden in beverages; and increasing our consumption of whole grains.

These simple changes, mimicking the style of eating found in Spain, Italy, Greece and North Africa, could begin a trend toward improved quality and length of life for us all. I often urge clients to eat in the style of their great-grandmothers– wise, creative women who depended on plants and starches to nourish their families with the use of animal proteins as flavoring agents or condiments. Eating in the style of our Mediterranean cousins could reap the health benefits we all want.

Dateline: Latham, Albany County, New York