LA Weight Loss - MediterrAsian Diet

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08-20-2007, 01:18 AM
Hi everyone!

I help run a website called, and the 3 Fat Chicks have been kind enough to review our new book, The MediterrAsian Way, this month.

I just wanted to let you know that if you have any questions about a MediterrAsian way of eating, and you can't find the answers on our site, please feel free to post them on this thread, and I'll do my best to answer them.


Suzanne 3FC
08-20-2007, 09:41 AM
Thanks, Trudy! It's a very delicious diet, that's for sure :T

My son has worked in the restaurant industry for several years, and is currently the manager of a Japanese restaurant. He literally could not put down your cookbook every time he came over, so I finally gave him a copy :lol: He even started questioning his poor dietary habits, quoting from your book, which was very nice to hear.

08-20-2007, 10:04 AM
Everything looks delicious on the site, but I wish there was a serving amount and calorie count per recipe. It's very tempting to try your recipes- last year, I followed a Mediterranean based diet and lost a good amount of weight.

I'll definitely be a frequent visitor there. Thanks for the link!

08-20-2007, 01:13 PM
Thanks Suzanne, and it's great to hear that your son enjoys our book too!

Hi Steelslady. I'm not at all surprised that you lost a good amount of weight by following a Mediterranean diet. As you might be aware, the traditional dietary practices of Asian cultures are also very effective at helping people stay slim. So by combining these traditional diets together you not only get an effective weight loss diet, you also get to choose from a far wider variety of foods, which makes a MediterrAsian way of eating very easy to stick to over the long term.

About not having a calorie count or nutrient profile for each of our recipes -- this is actually a point the 3 Fat Chicks brought up in their review. The reason we don't is quite simple actually. For thousands of years people from Mediterranean and Asian cultures never looked at the calorie content or nutritional value of their meal before they sat down to eat it. In fact they had no way of knowing how many fat grams or carbs or how much protein or vitamins and minerals were in the food they ate because these nutrients have only been discovered in recent times. Despite this, the majority of them managed to stay lean and healthy, and live long lives.

We live the same way. We don't think about calories, fat grams or carbs, or anything like that. We simply base our meals around traditional Mediterranean and Asian foods -- and without even thinking about it we've eaten a well-balanced meal that's moderate in calories yet very filling, and also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and health-giving antioxidants and phytochemicals. And that's one of the best things about eating this way. You get to enjoy wonderful food, and the rest takes care of itself naturally.

By the way, you'll find that each recipe on the site (and in the book) has a serving amount. On the site the serving amount is next to the title of each recipe.

08-22-2007, 01:39 AM
That is a great website! Thanx for coming. I know alot of us ladies on the whole foods forum follow similiar diets/healthy eating styles. I think it is one of the best ways to eat and am looking to incorporate more fish. I love how they don't denounce pasta. Now I do have a question, are they recommending whole wheat pasta or regular?

Although whole grain bread and brown rice is something I am picky about doing, I have not been able to follow suit with the pasta. The WW one I tried was terrible. I generally try to keep the pasta to a minimum instead.

08-22-2007, 06:19 AM
Hi Jasmine. I'm so glad you like our site!

You're right, we don't denounce pasta -- and that includes regular white pasta. In fact white pasta has been far more popular than whole grain pasta for many generations of lean and healthy Italians.

A common myth in many Western countries is that white pasta should be eaten rarely because it raises blood sugar levels too quickly and causes a spike in insulin levels which ends up leading to rebound hunger.

This thinking is based mainly on the Glycemic Index, which was developed during the early 1980s by Canadian scientists led by Dr. David Jenkins from the University of Toronto. You're probably aware that this is a ranking system that measures how quickly carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood sugar levels.

But the truth is, white pasta is made from a special type of hard wheat, called durum wheat, which digests slowly. In fact Dr. Jenkins pointed this out at a pasta conference in Rome in February 2004 -- at the height of the low-carb craze in the US. This is what he said: "Pasta, with its dense compact structure, is a low Glycemic-Index food," before declaring that "Traditional carbohydrate foods are in … pasta has been resurrected."

Dr. Jenkins also noted that if other slowly digesting foods are eaten along with the pasta, the overall meal will have even less impact on blood sugars.

And that's a very important thing to remember about the Glycemic Index -- it only measures the effect of food in isolation. What's most important is the effect the overall meal will have on your blood sugar levels.

That's why in Asian cultures where relatively fast digesting white rice is a staple, they don't have problems with blood sugar spikes because rice is eaten with slowly digesting foods like fish, beans (including tofu), poultry, plant oils and fiber-rich vegetables.

Of course whole grain pasta and brown rice do have advantages over refined pasta and rice -- namely they contain more fiber and vitamins and minerals (it's important to note that white pasta and rice still contain 1/3 of the fiber found in the whole grain varieties -- so they certainly aren't devoid of fiber).

But like generations of Mediterraneans and Asians, we prefer the taste and texture of white pasta and white rice to the whole grain varieties.

Does that mean we don't eat whole grains? Far from it!

For breakfast we regularly eat whole grain breakfast cereal (such as oatmeal, muesli or bran flakes), or have whole grain toast. For lunch we regularly have a sandwich, sub or a wrap made with whole grain bread. We also regularly use whole grain pita bread as a pizza crust; and we regularly enjoy bulgur (made from whole grain wheat) topped with stew or in tabbouleh salad. And we also regularly enjoy whole grain crackers and air-popped popcorn (a whole grain) as snacks.

So, in the end, well over half of our grain intake comes from whole grains. And we also get plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber from the vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds that make up a large part of our diet.

08-22-2007, 11:27 AM
You are so helpful!! Thank you. You know what? That is something I have been smart alecking off to hubby about the past few months. This thing about white rice and insulin, etc. I told him flat out, why don't we go tell that skinny chinese /japanese person over there not to fry any food or eat any white rice cause it makes you fat! :rofl: There is obviously alot more going on with food than our "experts" realize.

I started thinking maybe it was just a case of calories in/calories out. Ie: they eat less and exercise so are not at risk anyhow. Not to mention all the vegetables/fish and fruit probably balance it out.

What you said makes alot of sense. I like that and am glad I don't have to switch to ww pasta!

What about the frying? Any good info about that? Or is it still NO NO NO. lol

I have spent alot of time the last 2 years looking online at how to be healthy and how to prevent disease etc. One particular area that I am concerned with is my dh. He smokes. (Yeah I know he needs to quit.)

The great thing is he is willing to eat all the healthy food with me, he is very physically fit too. 5'10, 145 pounds and works a physical job. A place I really like and refer to alot is The World's Healthiest Foods ( Lots of great info there.

So what I generally try to do is find what foods may be best at helping a smoker. I know there are some great ones but in particular what is troubling me is I always here that pumpkin, carrots, pink grapefruit etc, in particular is highly recommended for smokers.

Carrots (

Promote Lung Health

If you or someone you love is a smoker, or if you are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, then making vitamin A-rich foods, such as carrots, part of your healthy way of eating may save your life, suggests research conducted at Kansas State University.

While studying the relationship between vitamin A, lung inflammation, and emphysema, Richard Baybutt, associate professor of nutrition at Kansas State, made a surprising discovery: a common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, induces vitamin A deficiency.

Baybutt's earlier research had shown that laboratory animals fed a vitamin A-deficient diet developed emphysema. His latest animal studies indicate that not only does the benzo(a)pyrene in cigarette smoke cause vitamin A deficiency, but that a diet rich in vitamin A can help counter this effect, thus greatly reducing emphysema.

Baybutt believes vitamin A's protective effects may help explain why some smokers do not develop emphysema. "There are a lot of people who live to be 90 years old and are smokers," he said. "Why? Probably because of their diet…The implications are that those who start smoking at an early age are more likely to become vitamin A deficient and develop complications associated with cancer and emphysema. And if they have a poor diet, forget it." If you or someone you love smokes, or if your work necessitates exposure to second hand smoke, protect yourself by making sure the World's Healthiest Foods rich in vitamin A (carrot's beta-carotene is converted in the body into vitamin A) are a daily part of your healthy way of eating.

But I noticed on your site this article saying it was harmful.

Sushi 'could prevent lung cancer' (

Other dietary factors which appeared to reduce lung cancer risk were raw and green vegetables, fruit and milk, but carrot, pumpkin, egg and coffee appeared to increase risk.

I know that fruits and vegetables help your body fight off stuff and replenish you so the best we can do is eat as healthy as often as we can but still it is annoying when you try to focus on something in particular then get conflicting info and wonder which is right. *sigh*

That is all for now. I am sure I will have more questions later. I am surprised more people don't want to join in. :(

08-22-2007, 08:18 PM
I hope I didn't give the impression that calories don't count -- because calories in vs. calories out IS the most important part of weight loss.

Here's what we say on our site:

Actually there's a simple reason why a MediterrAsian way of eating is good for your waistline -- and it all comes down to calories. Let's look at the common foods in a MediterrAsian diet and you'll understand more clearly.

Vegetables and fruits, because of their high water content, are generally very low in calories. For example, two 1/4 pound cheeseburgers contain the same amount of calories as 50 carrots or 70 tomatoes. Vegetables and fruits also contain dietary fiber, which contributes virtually no calories to your diet yet helps suppress your appetite. So, put simply, vegetables and fruits will fill you up without filling you out.

Grain foods (such as bread, rice and pasta) and legumes (beans, peas and lentils) have a lower water content than vegetables and fruits, so they contain more calories -- but they're still quite low in calories and are a good source of dietary fiber. And the great thing about grains and legumes is that they're also bulky, filling and satisfying.

Fish, which is a staple food in traditional Mediterranean and Asian diets, is generally much lower in calories than the red meat that's prominent in a typical Western diet. An eight-ounce sirloin steak, for example, contains more than 400 calories. This compares to an eight-ounce tuna steak which contains only around 240 calories.

But what about all the calories in the foods such as olive oil, nuts and avocados that are recommended as part of a MediterrAsian way of eating? These higher calorie foods are actually counter-balanced by all the lower calorie, fiber-rich foods you'll be eating. So, you'll end up eating lots of delicious and filling food, but you'll only be consuming a moderate amount of calories. This is why a MediterrAsian way of eating is ideal for helping you stay in shape.

Proving that point is Australian weightlifter Dean Lukin, who won the gold medal for weightlifting in the super-heavyweight division at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. After Dean retired from competition he weighed over 300 pounds, so he made the decision to lose weight -- not just for his looks, but also for his health. Dean decided to try to lose the excess weight by following a way of eating based on the diet of his healthy, lean ancestors who came from a seaside village on the Dalmatian coast (part of the Mediterranean). As part of his new Mediterranean-style of eating Dean increased his intake of plant foods such as vegetables, grains, fruits and legumes, cut down his intake of red meat and made fish his primary source of protein. In less than a year he had lost over 110 pounds, or as Dean put it: "When I got to the stage of really ripping the blubber off, the rate of progress was quite startling." Because this way of eating is so filling and satisfying it will probably come as no surprise that Dean has kept the weight off for over 10 years.


About your lung cancer question. The article you refer to is a BBC news article we linked to about a study in Japan which found a strong association between eating fish and lower rates of lung cancer.

At the very end of the article it's mentioned that carrots and pumpkin "appear" to increase the risk. So it obviously sounds like there wasn't much of an association, and this could easily have been a statistical anomaly.

And I'm confident it would be, because a number of large scale studies have found that carrots and pumpkin, which are rich in beta carotene, are associated with a reduced risk of cancer, including lung cancer.

But taking beta carotene in supplement form is a different story, however. At least two well conducted studies that I know of, including the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial, have found that beta carotene supplements increase the risk of lung cancer. So the idea, of course, is to get your beta carotene from whole foods.

And I agree with you about The World's Healthiest Foods, it's a fantastic site with lots of great info.

08-24-2007, 11:02 PM

But taking beta carotene in supplement form is a different story, however. At least two well conducted studies that I know of, including the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial, have found that beta carotene supplements increase the risk of lung cancer. So the idea, of course, is to get your beta carotene from whole foods.

Thank you so much for all the info. Yeah I heard that about the synthetic beta carotene. Isn't that what they put in Centrum? That made me quit taking that for a long time. That and vitamin a palmitate.

Then I second guess myself and think I am going off the deep end. What is your position on vitamins? Maybe I need to find a multi with no beta carotene in it. *sigh*

08-25-2007, 07:33 PM
We're very much into getting our vitamins and minerals from whole foods -- the way nature intended. It's also how people from Mediterranean and Asian cultures have gotten their vitamins and minerals for thousands of years, and they are well known for their exceptional health, lack of chronic disease and long lives. And sitting down to a delicious Mediterranean or Asian meal is definitely far more pleasurable than popping a pill! :)

08-28-2007, 03:35 PM
Yeah I am not a fan of pills. I almost think that a multi vitamin is some people's idea of a quick fix. I am not saying everyone. But there are so many medications out there it is crazy. America truly has people hooked! My mom was on 13 medications for years. And by the time her body was truly bad off and couldn't take it any more they cut her down to 4, bare minimum. Well if she can get away with 4 then why not all the previous years.

It just seems like the docs are quick to slap some medication at someone and usually all that does is mask the problem and sometimes cause alot more problems. It makes me wonder if multi's are the same way. Thanx for all the advice!

08-30-2007, 05:29 PM
Glad I could help out Jasmine!

09-16-2007, 01:29 AM
I just purchased the Mediterrasian Way book this week and I absolutely love it! I don't usually pay much attention to cookbooks or diet books, but I was curious so I read up on your website. You've basically taken the things I actually enjoy making for dinners (stir frys, curries) and broken them down into easy to compile ingredients. And thank you so much for posting that shopping list on your site, it's come in so handy!

To others looking at this book, give it a shot! Even if you don't follow the "diet" plan, it will give you some super-easy, tasty, healthy recipes to add to your routine!

And this is coming from the queen of convenience foods! Seriously, I used to microwave everything!

Thank you Trudy T, you've really come up with a great reference!

09-18-2007, 06:43 AM
Thanks so much for your really kind words about our book and our recipes harrypotterybarn!

I'm also really glad to hear that you've found the shopping list on our site useful as well -- it's the same shopping list we use to keep our own pantry stocked full of Mediterranean and Asian goodies :T