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I was giving a talk to a group of physicians the other day when one asked if I had any simple handouts about the Mediterranean diet. I mentioned that there were a lot of handouts in the "For Physicians" section on the Web site.
As I said this I wondered what was there. We have so much information available it is hard to keep up sometimes. When I checked there was a great handout but it was written about 4 years ago and in need of updating, as we've learned so much more about the Mediterranean Diet. The updated version is a simple guide that tells you, for example, what "whole grains" are and guides you to easy ways to eat more. I hope you'll download it and share it with your primary care doctor.
This update goes along with another project we have been working on, the Mediterranean diet score card. (There's a Mediterranean Diet Score Card for Men (PDF) and a Mediterranean Diet Score Card for Women (PDF).)This helps you keep track of your Mediterranean diet score on a weekly basis. It's simple to use and we think really helpful, but if you have suggestions for ways to improve it, send us a note at [email protected].
Each day has sections that correspond to the nine areas making up the Mediterranean diet. For each section we've listed the goal amount for you to eat to get a point, and nine points, one for each area, is a perfect score.
Just post it on your refrigerator and keep a tally each time you eat the recommended amounts from each category. Then look at your total at the end of the week to see where you're doing well and where you might want to do more (or less).
You don't have to be too fancy or perfectly accurate, and don't worry about getting a perfect score every day - look at the overall for the week. Think of it as a simple food diary that gives you positive feedback.
Since an improvement of only 2 points in your overall score leads to a 25% reduction of risk in dying from heart disease and cancer, this is one of those tasks that can have a profound effect on your life.
Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.