Eat Globally: Recipes for Mediterranean, Asian and Ayurvedic Food

There’s a universal wisdom to eating well. Try bringing these recipes home for optimal health.

| May/June 2008

Mediterranean, Asian and Ayurvedic diets are among the world’s healthiest, largely because plant-based foods form the core of each. Whole grains, legumes and produce take center stage, and meat acts as a garnish.

The world’s most nutritious diets are simple: They tell us to consume less meat and processed foods, but eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Cultural twists keep those basics interesting.

Mediterranean Meals

Eating is about enjoyment in most Mediterranean cultures. And why wouldn’t it be, when you can have olives and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and sheep’s-milk yogurt year-round? A little fresh fish, poultry or eggs and maybe red meat every couple of weeks adds nutrition and enjoyment. A glass of red wine completes a meal.


This breakfast treat, snack or dessert showcases Mediterranean figs, dates, nuts, honey and spices. Try it with an anise-flavored liqueur such as ouzo or a demitasse of espresso.

Enticed? Try this for a Mediterannean diet:

• Eat less meat. Have it every few days or with every other meal.

• Choose fresh fish. Eat salmon and sardines, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, several times a week.

• Chooe fruits and nuts. Put more of them in meals, snacks and desserts.

• Consume more olive oil. It should be your primary fat, instead of butter.

• Go veggie. Beans, lentils and whole grains make great main dishes.

• Use cheese to flavor. Small amounts of low-fat cheese such as feta or Parmesan enhance other foods’ flavors.

Asian Influence

Low-fat plant foods in small portions, beautifully prepared and presented, are the staple of Southeast Asian diets. Traditional daily fare includes rice, noodles, land and sea vegetables, soy foods, fruits and tea, with occasional indulgences in dairy products and sweets. Shavings of red meat flavor plant-based meals.

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