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Tears drip ever so often

Saddness permiates what I’d not forgotten

Shivers to and from my heart

Pieces connected but standing apart

Peace and comfort interrupted

Mind and soul diverted

Something that once stood for something

Torn from nothing

Yet hanging on in strands

Bigger and louder than the nation’s bands

Twisted making stronger 

But also longer

Feelings that bind our hearts and minds

Ever we seem to always find.

Ways To Follow The Mediterranean Diet

1. Switch Up Your Oil

olive oil

If you’ve been cooking with vegetable oil or coconut oil, make the switch to extra-virgin olive oil. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which may improve HDL cholesterol, the “good” type of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol ferries “bad” LDL particles out of arteries, according to a 2017 study in Circulation. Use olive oil in homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Drizzle it on finished dishes like fish or chicken to boost flavor. Swap butter for olive oil in mashed potatoes, pasta, and more.

2. Eat More Fish

olive oil

Featured Recipe: Plank-Grilled Miso Salmon

The go-to protein in the Mediterranean diet is fish. In particular, this diet emphasizes fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. These fish are rich in heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Even those fish that are leaner and have less fat (like cod or tilapia) are still worth it, as they provide a good source of protein. If you currently don’t get a lot of fish in your diet, an easy point of entry is to designate one day each week as “fish” night. Cooking fish in parchment paper or foil packets is one no-fuss, no-mess way to put dinner on the table. Or try incorporating it in some of your favorite foods, like tacos, stir-frys, and soups.

3. Eat Veggies All Day Long

olive oil

Featured Recipe: Baked Vegetable Soup

If you look at your diet and worry that there’s barely a green to be seen, this is the perfect opportunity to fit in more veggies. A good way to do this is to eat one serving at snacktime, like crunching on bell pepper strips or throwing a handful of spinach into a smoothie), and one at dinner, like these quick and easy side dishes. Aim for at least two servings per day. More is better. At least three servings can help you bust stress, Australian research notes.

4. Help Yourself to Whole Grains

olive oil

Featured Recipe: Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Experiment with “real” whole grains that are still in their “whole” form and haven’t been refined. Quinoa cooks up in just 20 minutes, making it a great side dish for weeknight meals. Barley is full of fiber and it’s filling: pair it with mushrooms for a steamy, satisfying soup. A hot bowl of oatmeal is perfect for breakfast on a cold winter morning. Even popcorn is a whole grain—just keep it healthy by eating air-popped corn and forgo the butter (try a drizzle of olive oil instead). Supplement your intake with other whole-grain products, like whole-wheat bread and pasta. Look for the term “whole” or “whole grain” on the food package and in the ingredient list—it should be listed as the first ingredient. But if you still find it too hard to make the switch from your old refined favorites, phase in a whole grain by using whole-grain blends of pastas and rice or mixing whole grains half-and-half with a refined one (like half whole-wheat pasta and half white).

5. Snack on Nuts

olive oil

Featured Recipe: Tropical Fruit & Nuts Snack

Nuts are another Mediterranean diet staple. Grabbing a handful, whether that’s almonds, cashews, or pistachios, can make for a satisfying, on-the-go snack. One study in Nutrition Journal found that if people replaced their standard snack (cookies, chips, crackers, snack mix, cereal bars) with almonds, their diets would be lower in empty calories, added sugar, and sodium. Plus, nuts contain more fiber and minerals, such as potassium, than processed snack foods.

6. Enjoy Fruit for Dessert

olive oil

Featured Recipe: Red Fruit Salad

Generally a good source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants, fresh fruit is a healthy way to indulge your sweet tooth. If it helps you to eat more, add a little sugar—drizzle slices of pear with honey or sprinkle a little brown sugar on grapefruit. Keep fresh fruit visible at home and keep a piece or two at work so you have a healthful snack when your stomach starts growling. Lots of grocery stores stock exotic fruit—pick a new one to try each week and expand your fruit horizons.

7. Sip (a Little) Wine

olive oil

The people who live along the Mediterranean—the Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, and others—are not known to shy away from wine, but that doesn’t mean you should pour it at your leisure. Dietitians and experts who developed the Mediterranean diet for the New England Journal of Medicine study advised women to stick to a three-ounce serving and men, a five-ounce serving, per day. When you do sip, try to do so with a meal—even better if that meal is shared with loved ones. If you’re a teetotaler, you shouldn’t start to drink just for this diet.

8. Savor Every Bite

olive oil

Poem by MwsR

Extreme By MwsR

Everything is necessary

When nothing is not a choice.

Don’t ever stop listening to that “inside voice”.

Possibilities are just chances we have not taken

They keep up rising

Instead of staying broken.

When you have just a little faith

A little hope in your soul

That is when you can just take off and go.

Everything has a season

A season to change and correct

An opportunity, have you taken yours yet?

Trying is hard when you see no end

But let me tell you it will no doubt come , my friend.

It is difficult sometimes , more than we feel we can stand.

Trust in a process

Things don’t change overnight

That is why we search for more than our own might.

We need to examine how life went so wrong

We need to carry in our hearts hope, faith, and love.

These are blessings and give us each, enough.

Extreme is not necessary when you really try

In taking little steps forward, 

You can eventually tell bad times, goodbye.

Extreme may simply be

You believing in something greater

Something greater, than you or me.

Something you cannot see but can feel

The overwhelming desire or passion 

That surrounds your heart and soul

The extreme that makes you go.