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Book Review: The Mediterrasian Way – A Cookbook and Guide to Health, Weight Loss, and Longevity, Combining the Best Features of Mediterranean and Asian Diets and Lifestyles by Ric Watson and Trudy Thelander

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Why is it that members of some specific cultures live long healthy lives? Seeking to answer this question, from Down Under comes a phenomenal first book by New Zealanders Ric Watson and Trudy Thelander, The Mediterrasian Way. It is a model of how to live healthily in the modern world using the time-tested cuisines and lifestyles of the Mediterraneans and Asians.

The Mediterrasian Way incorporates the most recent studies regarding nutrition, diet, exercise, and relaxation. Over 150 delicious recipes and beautiful photos of prepared dishes are included. A 14-day meal plan and the MediterrAsian.com website tie-in are also lifestyle change boosters.

Writing from his own experience, author Ric Watson explains how his tragic motorcycle accident altered his physical well being. The road to recovery was long and difficult, but by changing his diet from the standard meat and potatoes to traditional Mediterranean meals, he began to regain his health when doctors believed it was impossible.

Ric WatsonThe daughter of physicians, Trudy Thelander recalls her family relationship with her sister-in-law, a Chinese-Malaysian, who taught the author her own Asian cooking. Finding similarities between the two cultures, Ric and Trudy researched the basic elements of these 5,000 year old lifestyles.

Both cultures include daily physical activity, a base diet of whole grain carbohydrates, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, olive or vegetable oils, and vegetables. Both consume daily water, tea, and wine in moderation.

Further cutting-edge scientific research cited in their groundbreaking book includes The Seven Countries Study, The China Study, The Lyon Diet Heart Study, among others. The authors developed The MediterrAsian Balanced Meal System (MBMS) based on this background, showing how the Mediterranean or Asian meals are easily prepared, and allow for a greater volume of food with less caloric intake. More importantly, they demonstrate how the MBMS enhances the body’s functioning with its use of vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, and lean protein (poultry, seafood, soy products).

Trudy ThelanderA best example comes from page 95 of the book:
Western Style Meal: 1 quarter-pound burger with cheese, 1 large fry, 1 large soda, 1 ice cream sundae (1,679 calories).


Mediterranean Style Meal: Sicilian salmon and pasta with roasted red pepper, zucchini, basil, and pine nuts, 1 slice crusty whole grain bread drizzled with ½ T extra virgin olive oil, large salad with tomatoes, olives, romaine, and red onion, served with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, 1 glass red wine, bowl of mixed berries served with a scoop of sorbet (860 calories).

Asian Style Meal: Bowl of fragrant broccoli and mushroom soup, rice paper roll stuffed with chicken breast, snow pea sprouts, and peppers and served with a soy-sesame dipping sauce, Cantonese shrimp, cashew nut, and mixed vegetable stir-fry served over steamed long-grain rice, 1 glass cold beer, fresh fruit salad with mango, lychees, and pineapple (810 calories).

Each meal is comprised of generous portions, and includes a drink and even dessert. Amazingly, calorie counts for the Mediterranean and Asian meals are about half that of the Western meal.

Living and eating the Mediterrasian Way can help prevent Alzheimer’s, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. It can lead to weight loss, increased energy levels, and a strong immune system – in essence a longer and more enjoyable life.
The reader of The Mediterrasian Way will not just be able to try new recipes, but will understand why it is important to eat these foods. This book is not a diet book, it is a way of life, and should be in every American home for reading, tasting, and experiencing.

The Mediterrasian Way: A Cookbook and Guide to Health, Weight Loss, and Longevity, Combining the Best Features of Mediterranean and Asian Diets and Lifestyles
Authors Ric Watson and Trudy Thelander (Wiley ’07)

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