Food for Thought

14/04/2015 17:39 BST | Updated 14/06/2015 10:59 BST

Today's topic is not about the low carb diet, weight watchers or the 5:2 diet. All these diets and many more work and they are popular within those seeking quick results. But they have something in common; they are based on prohibiting certain healthy foods or limiting the daily calorie intake.

Changing someone's dietary intake can change the energy balance and increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. In the case of weight loss, the challenge is sustaining a strict dietary intake over time. In other words, making it a lifestyle.

Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle nutrition that does not prevent you from eating pasta, bread or drinking alcohol. Yet people in that region enjoy long healthy lives while staying in shape.

Having not been to our favorite restaurant Locanda Dell'Isola Comacina in Lake Como for a few years, when my wife and I walked in on Easter Sunday, we couldn't help noticing that its amazing owner Benvenuto Puricelli had not aged a day. If anything, he looked younger, healthier and happier than ever.

Benvenuto is a chef who worked around the world before he set up his restaurant in the most amazing spot on this planet. The food is an exact reflection of the Mediterranean diet; lots of vegetables, fish and good wine. His menu includes beans, baked onions, beetroot, tomatoes, cauliflower, herbs, grilled trout, chicken, cheese and bread. Plenty of bread. No fancy sauce - just olive oil, lemon and sea salt do the trick. The fact that our five year old daughter finished the entire dish of cauliflower on her own goes to show that kids can eat vegetables just fine; as long as they taste good.

I cannot imagine any other place where you would have a four hour lunch and still not feel bloated or heavy stomached afterwards. And this is exactly what the Mediterranean diet is all about; it's about a lifestyle that goes beyond food. It's about people socializing and sitting at the dinner table together as a family regardless of their age gap. It's about having good traditional food most coming from plants and legumes with a splash of olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine. It's about people who put family ahead of other concerns and follow a constant moderate physical activity as inseparable part of their life. This somehow keeps people lighter, slimmer and healthier. They can enjoy longer lives and with less heart problems or strokes.

So if you are not up for some fast track diet that will make you lose 10 pounds in 10 days living on green juice, then perhaps something more gradual and less drastic is the way to go. Perhaps, Benvenuto's way of life is something you would want to follow rather than have to follow. After all, let's face it; the most popular diet of all would be the one that gave you results, let you eat good food, enjoy a good company and have a glass of wine, or two.

Cin cin!