Spring is in the air. But will it stay? I shouldn’t get my hopes up but it has still been so nice to walk outside and not have to bundle up to the extreme. And I forgot how much fun puddles are. I’m so thankful to my little guy for reminding me!
What are you looking forward to this Spring?
I have to admit, as excited as I am for the warmer weather to arrive, a part of me wants it to stay Winter so that I can hibernate forever and not face one of my life’s greatest challenges: getting things to grow. I am absolutely determined to learn how to garden and to do it well but, so far, my thumb hasn’t turned even the slightest shade of green. So if Spring never comes, then I don’t have to face this challenge!
For you gardeners out there, what are your best gardening tips? I need all the help I can get! I’m too afraid of failure.
Mediterranean Layer Dip
This is a delicious twist on the Mexican 7 Layer Dip. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Mexican Dips but it’s nice to switch it up every once in a while, you know?
Layer 1: Hummus. I really enjoy the slightly sweet taste of Caramelized Onion Hummus with this layer dip but a traditional hummus will work just as well.
Layer 2: Chopped fresh spinach
Layer 3: Chopped roma tomatoes
Layer 4: Chopped cucumbers
Layer 5: Chopped black olives (optional). You’ll notice that there are no olives in the photo. I have not yet learned to like olives so I didn’t put them on my dip. But, apparently there are people who exist who do like olives. If you’re one of those crazy people, don’t skip this layer!
Layer 6: Crumbled feta cheese (use soya cheese for vegan version)
Layer 7: Dried oregano and black pepper
Serve with veggies and crackers. These ingredients would also work very well in a wrap!
If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram! I’d love to see your creations! Knowing someone has enjoyed one of my recipes always makes my day brighter.
Why It’s A Smart Choice
The name of this recipe can describe both the regional flavours of Mediterranean cuisine and how well if fits in with the Mediterranean Diet. This style of eating focuses heavily on plant-based foods with room for some dairy, eggs, fish, poultry, oils such as olive oil, and very occasionally, red meat. Research studies consistently show a positive link with this diet and chronic disease prevention. This study compiled the results of several research articles that included both intervention studies and observational studies. Altogether there were 534, 906 participants studied! What they found was that the Mediterranean Diet makes a huge impact on reducing metabolic syndrome! Metabolic syndrome isn’t a disease in and of itself but rather a cluster of risk factors that are known to increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, and some forms of cancer. The risk factors are:
- Large waist size
- Low blood levels of HDL cholesterol
- High blood levels of glucose (sugar)
- High blood levels of triglycerides (fat)
- Raised diastolic blood pressure (pressure on the blood vessels in between heart pumps)
In short, people with metabolic syndrome are
- 2x more likely to develop heart disease
- 5x more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
So go whip up some hummus, chop some veggies, and say “cheers” to your health!
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