Rethink the way you eat and take less medication

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 26, 2018

As we all continue to make changes in this New Year for a healthier lifestyle, I have something for you to try. It’s called, Med Instead of Meds.

Med Instead of Meds was created by a group of nutrition and health professionals from N.C. State University and N.C. Division of Public Health. Encouraging people to eat the Med Way, this has been proven to protect against chronic illness.

In some cases, eating the Med Way may even result in decreasing medications taken for blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Hence the name Med Instead of Meds, which is choosing to eat healthier and possibly reducing the number of prescription medications for a healthier med-free lifestyle.

The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine — among other components, characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet are tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease.

Med instead of Meds has seven basic steps to make eating the Med Way simple:

  1. Change your protein.
  2. Swap your fats.
  3. Eat more vegetables.
  4. Eat more fruit.
  5. Snack on nuts and seeds.
  6. Make your grains whole.
  7. Rethink your sweets.

Eating the Med Way has been proven to decrease the risk of some forms of cancer, is more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss in overweight and obese individuals, protects against cognitive decline by protecting the small blood vessels in the brain, a 40 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and may improve eye health, including decreasing the risk of macular  degeneration. It helps manage blood pressure, decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes, and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

If this is of any interest to you or you would like to learn more, come join me for this six-session series focused on eating a healthy Mediterranean-style diet. Each session explores one to two simple steps and a mindfulness skill, and features Med-Way recipes.

Food demonstrations and/or cooking instructions are included in each session. Participants will also receive fact sheets to assist them as they make the transition to the Med Lifestyle. Classes are from April 11-May 16, 6-7:30 p.m.  The cost of the six-session series will be $40. Classes will be held at the Rowan County Cooperative Extension Center, located at 2727 Old Concord Road.

For more information, give me a call at 704-216-8970 or stop by to pay the registration fee and sign up.

Toi N. Degree, Family & Consumer Education Agent with North Carolina State University & North Carolina Cooperative Extension; call 704-216-8970 or email at