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Med Diet Pyramid Turns 20 & Oldways Offers Menus, Tips And Memories through Month of May

BOSTON, April, 2013 — May is International Mediterranean Diet Month and marks the 20th anniversary of the food and nutrition nonprofit Oldways’ introduction of the Mediterranean Diet here in the U.S. along with the Med Diet Pyramid.  There is no better time to discover the delicious foods and proven health benefits associated with this vibrant lifestyle.

The traditional Mediterranean Diet came to the U.S. back in January 1993, when Oldways and the Harvard School of Public Health convened the International Conference on the Diets of the Mediterranean in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  It was there that the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was unveiled, representing visually the traditional foodways of the Mediterranean region. Since its introduction, consumers, educators, and health professionals have used the Pyramid to understand and implement healthier eating habits.  Products inspired by the region, such as hummus, olive oil, olives and Greek yogurt, are now best sellers.

“Even 20 years later, the beauty of the traditional Mediterranean Diet is that, unlike restrictive fad diets, it celebrates cooking and eating simple, wholesome, minimally processed foods as well as being active, enjoying delicious meals with friends and family, and drinking wine in moderation with those meals,” said Sara Baer-Sinnott, president, Oldways.  “With more and more research pointing to the health advantages of the Mediterranean Diet, including a first-of-its-kind clinical study showing its impressive cardiovascular benefits, it is the perfect time to celebrate International Mediterranean Diet Month.”

To celebrate this milestone year, Oldways and its Mediterranean Foods Alliance have published a new book, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan. The 80-page, full-color book offers a month’s worth of simple, tempting and affordable meal menus with recipes such as Six-Minute Shrimp, and Cherry Tomato and Olive Pizza and is available through Oldways’ website store ( and is being offered for 10% off for the month of May.

Additionally, each day of May, friends of Oldways – leading scientists, journalists, health professionals, cookbook authors and others – will contribute “A Mediterranean Memory A Day” postings on the Oldways Table blog to mark the 20th Anniversary.  The month will also be filled with giveaways, sampling opportunities and more.  As always, consumers will have access to Oldways’ expansive digital resources on the Oldways website, including links to health studies revealing the overwhelming health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, practical cooking tips and a vast collection of delicious and easy to prepare recipes.

The Mediterranean Diet consistently draws praise.  Recently, US News & World The Mediterranean Diet consistently draws praise.  Recently, US News & World Report named the Med Diet the Best Plant Based Diet as part of its 2013 Best Diets Report and The New England Journal of Medicine published findings from a new clinical study showing the Mediterranean Diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by as much as 30%.  The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle have also been validated by The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as one of the most thoroughly researched models for healthy living. And it doesn’t hurt that celebs like Jennifer Garner, Penelope Cruz, Elizabeth Hurley, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Isla Fisher and Heidi Klum have all extolled the Med way of eating.

Hundreds of scientific studies report that the healthy Mediterranean Diet and its lifestyle practices reduce the risk of chronic diseases and, while the Med Diet isn’t a “go on a diet” type diet, it can lead to weight loss and overall wellbeing.

The eight basic tenets of the Mediterranean Diet, outlined in The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan (a bestseller in’s Mediterranean cookbooks category), show it is convenient and affordable. promoting vibrant, fresh flavors, not deprivation.  The eight basics are:

1. Eat lots of vegetables. From a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes topped with crumbled feta cheese to healthy pizzas, vegetables are vitally important to the fresh tastes of the Mediterranean Diet.  The recommendation is to fill half your plate with them.

2. Change the way you think about meat. If you eat meat, add small strips of sirloin to a vegetable sauté, or garnish a dish of pasta with diced prosciutto. As a main course, eat 3 ounces or less of chicken or lean meat.

3. Always eat breakfast. Start your day with fiber-rich foods such as fruit and whole grains that can keep you feeling pleasantly full for hours. Layer granola, yogurt, and fruit, or mash half an avocado with a fork and spread it on a slice of whole grain toast.

4. Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and shellfish including mussels, oysters, and clams have similar benefits for brain and heart health.

5. Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables, and heighten the flavor with fragrant herbs and spices. Now, try two nights per week.

6. Use good fats. Include sources of healthy fats in daily meals, especially extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados.

7. Enjoy some dairy products. Eat Greek or plain yogurt, and try small amounts of a variety of cheeses.

8. For dessert, eat fresh fruit. Choose from a wide range of delicious fresh fruits — from fresh figs and oranges to pomegranates, grapes and apples. Save sweets like cookies and ice cream for a special treat.

Everyone is encouraged to join in the conversation on Twitter, share your recipes and thoughts about the Mediterranean by using the hashtag #MedMonth.

For more information on how others can take part in National Mediterranean Diet Month, to arrange interviews, or for hi-resolution graphics of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, please contact Rachel Greenstein, 617-896-4888 or  

About Oldways
Oldways ( is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, with a mission to guide people to good health through heritage, using practical and positive programs grounded in science and tradition. Simply, we advocate for the healthful pleasures of real food. Oldways is the parent organization for The Whole Grains Council, The Mediterranean Foods Alliance, The Oldways Nutrition Exchange and several other programs, and is well-known for creating the Whole Grain Stamp and the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.