The Mediterranean Diet Can Help Keep You Healthy

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what we should eat to stay healthy. But recently, U.S. News & World Report set the record straight when it named Mediterranean-style eating the Best Diet Overall alongside the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The Mediterranean diet and lifestyle have been linked to many impressive health outcomes, improving overall longevity and reducing incidence of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and cancer.

Amy Riolo is considered a culinary thought leader who enjoys changing the way we think about food and the people who create it. In addition, Riolo is also a best-selling author, chef, food historian, culinary anthropologist, television personality and educator who has been a longtime ambassador and advocate of the Mediterranean diet, a diet for anyone who wants to enjoy better health, and a great diet for anyone with or without diabetes.

She is also the author of the American Diabetes Association’s “The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition: A Flavorful, Heart-Healthy Approach to Cooking” (American Diabetes Association, May 2019).

“Healthful food is essential for your wellness and longevity, but when prepared the right way, it becomes one of life’s greatest pleasures,” wrote Riolo. “The Mediterranean diet delivers both. You’ll get the nutrition your body needs and all the flavor and satisfaction you crave.”

Roasted Beet, Tahini, and Greek Yogurt Dip

Serves 16; 2 Tbsp per serving

Beautiful, fresh beets of any color take center stage in this unique vegetarian dish. To prepare raw beets, peel them, cut them into quarters, and boil or roast them until fork-tender. I always like to prepare a triple batch of beets at a time—some to use in
this recipe, some for salads, and others to eat by themselves, drizzled with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with
a bit of fleur de sel on top.

Ingredients

1 cup cooked beets
1/3 cup tahini*
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
*Tahini can be found in the international aisle in most supermarkets, or near the peanut butter.

Place beets in a food processor. Add the tahini, olive oil, salt and Greek yogurt to the food processor. Pulse the food processor on and off.

Add water, tablespoon by tablespoon, to get an extra-creamy consistency (you should need less than 1/4 cup in total).

Scrape down the sides of the food processor, and purée for 1 to 2 additional minutes, or until extremely creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

If not serving immediately, store in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for up to a week. Otherwise, spoon onto a small, round dish. If desired, use the back of the spoon, create a smooth top on the dip and make dents in the top, filling the dents with olive oil.

Healthy Living Tradition: You can garnish this dip with paprika and serve with carrot and celery sticks and cucumber slices. Or try serving dips and purées as a “bed” for grilled chicken or seafood for additional flavor and nutrition.

Peach, Black Bean, and Citrus Salsa

Serves 10; approx. 2/3 cup per serving

This extremely chunky salsa could also be considered a finely chopped salad. It makes a stunning accompaniment to grilled fish and chicken, and it is a nice alternative to ubiquitous tomato salsas when peaches are in season. Since this recipe can
be made ahead of time, it’s a great choice for entertaining.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked black beans
2 peaches, chopped
2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then let chill in the refrigerator for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve.

Healthy Living Tradition: Use chickpeas instead of black beans, or try adding leftover grilled chicken to this spicy salad. I also like to toss it into cold quinoa for a nutritious lunch on the go.

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