The real Rainbow diet, or colourful Mediterranean diet, is a natural, whole food diet that is supported by thousands of years of health and longevity. It’s core is olive oil; nuts and seeds, red wine and unpasteurized cheese; and sunshine, exercise, sleep and enjoyment with friends and family; it’s a Lifestyle not an eating regime.
The real Rainbow Diet is not about eating a few colourful vegetables and fruits. Nor is it about throwing a few berries in a blender as some people suggest. (100 ml of berry smoothie contains almost as much sugar as a Coca Cola!). Nor is it about a few research studies on rats. Nor, is it about calorie restriction or fasting, or dieting.
The real Rainbow Diet is about enjoying your food. It’s about nourishing your body, mind and soul.
1. The Rainbow Diet is a Lifestyle:
a. Vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin. Of course, it is better to go in the sunshine for 2-3 hours a day than take 125 microgram of a pill, but some people don’t really have a choice.
b. Exercise. Traditionally, people moved more and sat less. In line with the latest research, we believe people should at least try to take light to moderate exercise for 45 minutes a day, where they are out of breath for 20 minutes, almost every day of their lives. 10,000 steps is the target. But it’s not just about exercise. Sitting still for more than an houris bad for you. Exercise increases blood oxygen and produces endorphins which neutralize stress hormones.
c. Drink red wine. While we also know that too much alcohol is a bad thing, wine (particularly red wine matured on the skins and seeds) has real health benefits – one large glass of red wine a day and 5 a week maximum, with meals, not on its own. Research on the microbiome has shown it’s the only alcohol to promote good bacteria making anti-inflammatory molecules.
d. Enjoy your food. Have more meals with family and friends. Eat slowly, talk and laugh. It will nourish your soul.
e. Sleep properly: Mediterranean rooms traditionally were dark, often shuttered, with no artificial light, EMFs, phones and TVs in them. Get 7 hours minimum per night.
f. Learn to be calm. Worry beads, chess or draughts, sipping a small coffee for an hour, reading the paper, wandering round the market. It de-stresses the body, just like Meditation.
2. Eat more good fat and oil:
Particularly ‘healthy fat’ from extra virgin olive oil, nuts (like walnuts, hazelnuts), fresh fish and avocado, which is the top oil to cook with. Aim to have healthy fats outweigh the saturated, 70:30.
3. Eat whole carbs:
No more refined carbs, white bread and pasta. .This is a high fibre diet! Eat whole, nourishing carbs like whole oats, whole grains, rye bread, whole brown rice.
4. Eat more fish:
Research showed that eating just two helpings of fish per week reduced cardiovascular and stroke risk by 50 per cent. So, eat more fish – think tuna, mackerel, sardines and/or taking a fish oil or krill oil or algae oil supplement. We do not eat as much oily fish as we think we do.
5. Eat plenty of deeply colourful fruits and vegetables: Vegetables contain good levels of soluble fibre and increase our helpful gut bacteria. Many contain protective and corrective compounds Eat fruits like tomatoes which contain lycopene which kills E coli, is a strong anti-oxidant and attacks cancer stem cells. Try pomegranate, apricots, berries and peaches. And what about aubergines, red and yellow peppers, greens, onions and garlic. Always eat more vegetables than fruits.
6. Eat more legumes:
Pulses especially lentils, red kidney beans, chick peas, common peas and broad beans. Full of soluble fibre, they promote our helpful gut bacteria and contain hormone-balancing compounds.
7. Eat more nuts and seeds:
Focus on walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame. Never touch peanuts.
8. Eat more herbs and spices:
Oregano, basil, coriander, rosemary, black pepper, garlic, turmeric. The markets on the coast in the South of France and Italy are full of these health-giving, microbe-killing, vitamin-rich foods.
9. Consume more Prebiotic foods:
Unpasteurised cheese, olives, pickles like cornichons and unfiltered vinegar with the ‘mother’ would be a start.
10. Eat more Polyphenols:
The pigments in colourful vegetables herbs and spices, teas, nuts, seeds, red wine and fruits are powerful bioactive compounds that can prevent and correct chronic illnesses. There are over 500 polyphenols in the Rainbow Diet!
The top polyphenol sources include:
i) Seasonings: Oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, capers, vinegar, turmeric
ii) Cocoa products: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
iii) Berries: Blackcurrant, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry
iv) Other fruits: Dark plums, sweet cherries, prunes, black grape, apple, peach, apricot, nectarine, pomegranate.
v) Seeds and nuts: Flaxseed, chestnut, hazelnut, almond, walnut, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower
vi) Vegetables: Black olive, green olive, globe artichoke heads, red chicory, green chicory, spinach, shallots, yellow onion, broccoli, asparagus, potato, red lettuce, red onion
vii) Drinks: Red wine, green tea, pure apple juice, pure blood orange juice, pure lemon juice, white wine, rose wine, pure pomegranate juice, black filter coffee