Whole food, whole energy

“Mediterrasian” diet for longevity

whole grain display

The subject is so vast that it will be difficult to squeeze it in one blog! My idea is to talk about what you can eat instead of what you can’t.


What is a “Mediterrasian”diet? A mix of healthy and traditional food from the side of the world where I come from, Italy and the area of Europe that is bordered by the Mediterranean sea, and the Asian food influenced by Macrobiotic cooking.

Why do I follow this diet?

Because there are many studies about long life elixir, from dietitians, gerontologist, nutritionist, cancer prevention diet and so on which demonstrate that the most long-lived populations follow Mediterranean and/or Macrobiotic diets. (We talking about Italians, Greeks and Japanese)
The diet must be considered within the context of lifestyle as diet alone is not enough to promote a long and healthy old age.
What I try to achieve with my lifestyle is to be able to enjoy life in the best possible condition until the day I am gone from this planet. With this I mean to be fit enough to play with my grandchildren, travel, walk, swim, explore new hobbies, remember things and so on!

whole grain variety

Whole food, what exactly does that mean?

The Mediterrasian diet is based mainly on whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, some fish, good fats, miso, tamari, shoyu and sea weeds. Let’s explore each of these categories

Whole grains

Grains which are not industrially refined, not white!
If you want to use bread choose bread made with wholemeal flours or use ancient grains, make or buy sourdough, natural leavening bread.
Rather use brown rice, red rice, millet, barley, oats, rye, spelt, sorghum, and teff (considered ancient grain)
We can also include in this list buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth even if they are technically seeds and not grains, they have high protein content and are very suitable for vegetarian.
I know that the time that brown rice takes to cook can be a challenge, this is what I do: at lunch time I measure my rice, rinse it and cover it with hot water, which makes the cooking time shorter later in the evening!

In South Africa where I lived for fifteen year, we used a hot box to prepare rice and stews of all sorts. Is made of 2 polystyrene filled cushions made with traditional “Shweshwe” fabric. We use to first bring your rice or curry or anything that require long slow cooking , to boil, on the stove, then place the pot in the hot box, close the lid and leave it to cook it while you go on with my life, you can prepare the box in the morning and come back in the evening to a ready to go meal!


Beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, soya beans, azuki beans, mung beans, broad beans.
Legumes and cereals together provide us with all the amino acids that we need. Our body does not see proteins directly but the amino acids that make them up, they are like the fundamental bricks to build your house, the house meaning your body. Generally speaking people eat a lot more protein that we actually need.
An excess of protein consumption (especially red meat, sausages, hot dogs, processed meat, chickens pumped up artificially, sugared yogurt, high fat cheeses) promotes cell proliferation and tumor formation.

But how much protein do I need? The answer varies depending on your lifestyle!
An average for a sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, as my suggestion is for people over 50, I would like to bring to your attention that at this age something called “sarcopenia” begins to set in, which means that you start losing muscle mass as you age. Therefore, you need to increase the intake of protein to 1-1.2 grams per kilogram of your body weight, especially if you are an active person who exercises daily. This is to maintain independence and life quality.

Legumes also should be washed and soaked to speed up the cooking time and to remove as much phytic acid as possible, throw away the soaking water, rinse your beans and use new water to cook them. 
In macrobiotic we use a piece of kombu seaweed to cook your legumes with, gas reducing tip!
Epidemiologic studies of the last 20 years confirmed that people, who eat legumes regularly in their diet, live longer and more protected against the main ailments of the western population like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and different kinds of tumors.
 Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat around your waist, high cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels.
These conditions require a drastic lifestyle change!

watercolor food pyramid

Fruits and Vegetables, natural antioxidants!

Vegetables are essential food for the prevention of diseases as they are rich in antioxidants; these protect us from free radicals, extremely oxidizing substances which can form in our metabolisms, so powerful that they can even damage our DNA.

Plants are our source of fiber and fibers are essential for our gut health, they are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Veggies rich in iron are; spinach, kale, swiss chard, beetroot, remember to mix greens with vitamin C for better absorption, a squeeze of lemon on your steamed veggies is good enough.

Iodine is also important in your diet; eat green beans, courgette, and cauliflower.

Cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprout, mustard leaves, arugula, kohlrabi, radish, even wasabi and watercress, provide many nutrients such as calcium, copper, beta-carotene, iron, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin C, all essential for our well being!

For the intake of vitamin C make sure to include peppers, parsley, spinach, carrots, cucumbers and fruits like black currants, oranges, lemons, all the citrus, pineapples, peaches and strawberries,  in your diet.

Well, the idea is, try to eat as many varieties of vegetables as possible to get full coverage of all the nutrients! The types and colors of vegetables are diverse, and each color brings different nutrients.
Be sure to eat them all, I challenge you to keep a weekly diary for a month counting the fruits and veggies to get at least 30 different one all together!

Fruits also contain sugar so don’t go overboard with smoothies and juicing, much better to eat fruit in their whole form, to introduce the fiber that we need for proper functioning of our gut. 1 or 2 pieces a day is enough in your healthy diet. Tropical fruit and grapes are normally high in sugar content, if you have the opportunity, go for berries, cranberries, apples, pears and citrus, of course. Eat fruit in season and remember that dry fruit has a much higher content of sugar.

Asian mushrooms with noodles

A few words about mushrooms

Highly respected in Macrobiotic for their antitumor and antiviral properties as well as lowering cholesterol levels.
Shitake, from Japanese Shi (oak) and take (mushroom) for your liver support, and as treatment for metabolic syndrome, but consider also Reishi and Maitake mushrooms as medicinal ingredients in your food. You can find them often dry in health shops and soak them before use.

seeds and nuts variety

Seeds, Nuts and Oils/Fats

The Mediterranean diet uses a variety of oily nuts; walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios, use them with the skin and possibly freshly picked, the skin contains a lot of antioxidants, you can roast them lightly in the oven and add them to your plate from breakfast to salads, creamed, in cakes and so on! Same for your seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds . I add them to my bread, muesli, and sauces. In future blogs I will do a post for each one with ideas of how to use them in your meals.
Nuts are very important in your diet to add healthy fat, the fats that we call UNSATURATED, it is the only fat you need!
So in the list of good oils we aim to divide them into;

Omega 3 : you can get walnuts, flax seeds (grind them when you use them or they will just pass through you) and flaxseed oil, chia seeds and hemp seeds.
These fatty acids are essential to maintain your brain performance, for cardiovascular and immune system. In the old days family doctors used to
prescribe cod liver oil for omega 3 deficiency, so to get enough of it eat fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, little sardines and anchovies.
Omega 6: nuts and seeds but also avocado and cold pressed olive oil and sesame seed oil.

Omega 9: olives and olive oil.

In the SATURATED fat list the few aloud for your health are VCO, (virgin coconut oil) and tahini.
Fats can be liquid or solid. In liquid form at room temperature we call them oils. Solid fat such as lard or the fat in meat is just fat.
When fat circulates in your blood it’s called Cholesterol! 

sea weeds and noodles

Mighty Miso

Miso is a fermented soy paste, made from soybeans in association with a cereal like rice or barley, combined with salt and a friendly bacterial culture.
Miso can be aged up to a year or more, the end result is an earthy paste that looks like peanut butter. Rich in flavonoid content, the long-living Okinawans and the rest of Japan drink miso soup daily for breakfast, miso has many uses, in sauces, in soups, on toast “guacamiso” is my favorite at the moment! I make a guacamole squashing one avocado and ½ teaspoon of miso paste with a fork, just add a squeeze of lemon juice , salt is not necessary because miso is salty already, you can add some roasted sesame seeds , sprinkled on top of you toast and few slices of radishes! Use Miso as condiment with your brown rice or as a simple sauce for a bowl of steamed veggies , just add a bit of water, honey, lemon and tahini!
Only one recommendation: don’t let the miso boil, this will kill the friendly bacteria and its properties.

Read more about the Mighty Miso and it’s many uses

Tamari and Soy sauce

Tamari and soy sauce are both made from soybeans, but soy sauce usually contains wheat, that is way celiac people use only tamari , because it is wheat free.
Soy sauce undoubtedly originated in China more than two thousand year ago and tamari is soy sauce evolved and transformed by the Japanese. 
Tamari contains a lot more protein than soy and has a stronger taste, and has to be used in moderation. It is mainly used in macrobiotic recipes.
This sauce is rich in enzymes that help to regulate the intestinal function; it also contains vitamin B12 and antioxidants. 
It must be used raw in order not to destroy the nutritional property. Use it in sauces, mix with parsley, chives, olive oil and lemon on your steamed vegetables or brown rice!

sea weeds and soba noodles

Seaweeds treasure from the oceans

Nori, wakame and kombu are a good source of calcium, minerals and Omega 3. In Macrobiotic we believe that seaweeds strengthen the kidney Qi , they are rich in Iodine. Use it with caution if you have thyroid issues. They contain a very important substance, alginic acid, which is able to bind toxic substances, especially heavy metals like lead, mercury and radioactive pollutants in our body and help with getting rid of them. They are recommended for people that live in highly polluted areas.

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Notes from our Author

My intention with this blog is to create a platform to share my knowledge about healthy nutrition habits, my love for yoga, breathwork, movement of any kind, creative practices, painting, dancing and playing, expressing yourself with the aim of maintaining your body functional and your mind sharp to be able to live longer with good health to enjoy it.

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