Layne Lieberman is a self-proclaimed food lover and an RD with more than 20 years of experience in the supermarket industry. Her book, Beyond The Mediterranean Diet, is a refreshing read with the overarching message that adopting a health-promoting lifestyle can be delicious and enjoyable.
Beyond The Mediterranean Diet is divided into three sections. The first outlines the lifestyle and dietary practices the author observed in Switzerland, Italy and France—three countries with impressive health statistics—during her two years as an expatriate in Europe. This section review show cultural foods, such as chocolate, pasta, and cheese, can be woven into a healthful eating plan. It was interesting to learn about each culture’s food preferences, its national dietary guidelines, and myths and facts surrounding each nation’s food culture.
In the second section, the reader learns how to apply the Swiss, Italian,and French dietary practices to life in the United States. Particular emphasis is placed on portion size. The reader is encouraged to follow Europeans’ lead and use “Super-Healthy Plates,” or dishes that are 9inches in diameter, as well as smaller utensils.
I particularly enjoyed the segment that out-lines principles that encourage Americans to change the way they view food and mealtime to reflect a more European perspective. This includes paying more attention to hunger cues, turning off electronics and instead socializing during mealtime, and going for a walk before and after dinner. It’s simple advice,but the tips reinforce the idea that food is meant to be enjoyed. Additional advice for food shopping and dining out also is provided, with an emphasis on turning to whole foods and purchasing local, seasonal foods when possible.
The last section is dedicated to Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are relatively simple, unintimidating and made with wholesome ingredients. I loved creating and tasting the Bircher Muesli and the Lentils, RoastedBeets, and Tabouleh Over Arugula.
I truly enjoyed this book. It not only advocates for RDs but also promotes sustainable habits, overall well-being, and the importance of enjoying good food.
—McKenzie Hall, RD, is a cofounder of NourishRDs, a nutrition communications and consulting business based in LosAngeles. This review first appeared in Today’s Dietitian, The Magazine for Nutrition Professionals, Vol. 16, No. 6, June 2014.