Eating during summer – even the Zone Diet goes on vacation
by Elena Casiraghi
While it’s true that during summertime, we are naturally inclined to reduce the amount of food we eat because of the heat, it’s also true that when we sit at the table, albeit more relaxed, there’s always the problem of what and how to eat, especially while on vacation.
The Mediterranean diet would seem to be the optimal solution, but are we really sure we know what it is? Initially, the distinguishing feature of this dietary regimen was the limited consumption of red meat and refined grains in favour of lean proteins (especially fish, white meats, and low-fat cheeses), vegetables, fruit, extra virgin olive oil, and modest amounts of wine. Another feature is little (or none, as in Spain and Greece) pasta, unlike the stereotype with which it’s often mistakenly associated.
The Zone Diet meets Mediterranean cuisine
The enormous strides that have been made in nutrition science have led to the discovery that a diet rich in polyphenols is key to enjoying their beneficial effects on physical and mental health. In fact, as demonstrated by Barry Sears, the Zone Diet is the closest type of diet to the true Mediterranean Diet, because it favours fresh foods, lean proteins (white meats, fish, legumes), colourful vegetables (almost all except for cooked potatoes and carrots), seasonal fruits rich in polyphenols, and good fats such as extra virgin olive oil. These are all valuable foods that – when properly balanced – are synonymous with continued well-being and hormonal balance, particularly insulin and glucagon, which together control blood sugar levels.
A few tips for eating well in the Zone, even on vacation
Diet and vacations: maintaining balance to stay fit is easier than you think. That's why we wanted to suggest some practical tips to help you eat well, and in the Zone – even on vacation.
Start with never skipping meals in order to avoid insulin surges that would lead you to dangerous imbalances. It’s advisable to have at least three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and two snacks, mid-morning and mid-afternoon, every day to avoid allowing more than five hours to go by without eating.
At breakfast during the summer, what could be better than low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, and whole grain cereal? At lunch and/or dinner, the most practical solution is to fill two-thirds of your plate with colourful vegetables, raw or cooked (except potatoes and carrots, as already mentioned). The remaining third should contain a portion of lean protein (white meat, fish, legumes, which are also perfect for those on a vegetarian diet). Topping it all off would be the "good fats" – a tablespoon of raw, extra virgin olive oil.
And what about snacks? The EnerZona line offers practical, tasty, and already perfectly balanced 40-30-30 solutions to stay in the Zone even when traveling or when you simply don't have the desire or time to cook.
Getting used to eating by balancing nutrients is simple and tasty. Most importantly, this balance decreases the glycaemic load of meals and boosts the anti-inflammatory benefits of healthy foods that, when combined with relaxing while on vacation, can reduce the harmful effect of stress on our health.
Elena Casiraghi, Nutrition is not competition, Cairo Editore 2020
Barry Sears, The Mediterranean Zone, Sperling & Kupfer 2015