THE MEDITERRANEAN PULSE

What’s in a Mediterranean Diet?  Nutrition Expert Rima Abifaker shares her thoughts on the beauty of this healthy eating lifestyle, and reminds us that it’s more than just olives and olive oil. Let’s not forget how to enjoy another Mediterranean staple: the garbanzo bean.

Being on a diet may seem difficult for many, often resulting in a mindset far more detrimental to our overall health than where we initially started off.

One of the most effective and rewarding methods to weight maintenance is choosing a “lifestyle diet” over a “diet”. This approach may sound cliché… because it is. But if you do it right, the results are worthwhile!

A trending lifestyle diet that we’ve all heard of is the Mediterranean diet. As we’ve all heard, the Mediterranean Diet allows you to enjoy an abundance of heart healthy fats from a variety of oils, nuts and seeds. It’s a lifestyle that is easy, delicious, and provides variety instead of redundancy, and works SO WELL.

Contrary to popular belief, pouring olive oil on something does not automatically deem it to be “Mediterranean”. Though this is true to a certain extent, the parameters of a true Mediterranean diet are vaster.

The Mediterranean diet is a balanced diet that focuses on heart health through the consumption of antioxidant-rich vegetables, fruit, protein, whole grains, beans, and legumes.

Apart from olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet are pulse foods. Rooting from legumes, pulses are:

DRIED PEAS, DRIED BEANS, CHICKPEAS, AND LENTILS.

A delightful addition to any diet, pulses contain complex carbohydrates, protein, iron, and phosphorus, just to name a few.

One of my favorites to incorporate into my weekly regimen are Garbanzo beans. Also known as chickpeas, Garbanzo beans are packed with nutritional value with significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, including folate and iron. You can also count on reaching satiety a lot sooner due to their rich content of protein and fiber that can help curb your appetite.

Garbanzo beans can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just as a snack. The key is in the method you choose to prepare them.

HERE ARE TWO OF MY FAVORITES:

1. Try roasting them with your favorite seasonings for a crunchy, heart healthy snack.

2. Or, go for a popular guilt-free crowd pleaser with Hummus, which is a simple and hearty blend of Garbanzo beans, tahini paste, garlic, and lemon juice.

Either of these will satisfy every diet, from vegans to meat lovers. Garbanzo beans are truly a great way to add variety and nutrition to your plate.


Rima Abifaker, RD, CLEC is a San Diego-based dietitian who shares her love of healthy eating through her homemade Mediterranean meals and recipes.  By approaching healthy living through balance and moderation, Rima helps individuals focus on the joys of discovering and savoring new flavors that whole foods have to offer.

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