My story starts off in a Chicago suburb, where my mom would spend hours on end in the kitchen cooking Greek and only Greek food. At school while the other kids had bologna and cheese sandwiches, we had pastichio (a Greek type of lasagna), she never made toll house chocolate chip cookies like my best friends mom, instead we had to eat melomakarona, Greek honey and walnut cookies. And when our mother did decide to cook an American recipe, she’d always manage to sneak in that ubiquitous “Greek element”, hamburger patties with a sprinkle of oregano and lemon, cookies with olive oil… you get the picture. Thanks to mom, I basically was raised on the Mediterranean Diet even though we lived so far away from Greece, that was at the heart of this healthy way of eating.
As a child my life included yearly 3 month trips to Greece where I spent time with my grandparents, relatives and friends experiencing the Greek lifestyle and the Greek diet at it natural environment. When I was 11 I moved to Greece, and even then (the 80’s), most Greeks were eating meals with seasonal produce, a little bit of meat, and children were not eating junk food with the exception of an occasional ice cream in the summer. Returning back to the U.S. I started my studies in nutrition.
MISINFORMATION AND THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
A lot has changed since then. The Mediterranean diet was virtually unknown in the U.S. a few decades ago and today it has become one of the most popular diets worldwide. Mediterranean diet experts and books began popping up everywhere and I would read about this famous diet with many descriptions and recipes that resembled very little to the food my mother, aunts and grandmothers cooked in Greece. There was and is plenty of misinformation about the diet.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ME THAT YOU WON’T GET FROM OTHER MEDITERRANEAN DIET EXPERTS
Today as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 20 years experience, writer and mother of two, living in Greece for the past 15 years, I have more than just a professional interest in the Mediterranean Diet, its preservation and promotion. As a Greek, I have been following this diet my whole life, and have firsthand experiences from previous generations. With that in mind, I felt that it was time to clear up misconceptions and misunderstandings that have been circulating for years. Here I provide true, easy to follow information and make the diet relevant today and applicable to the modern way of life without sacrificing its true nature.
What you can expect from me is:
- Authentic Greek recipes, not westernized versions
- Mediterranean lifestyle advice based on lifelong experiences
- Nutritionist approved recipes that follow the principles of the Mediterranean Diet
- Credible and scientifically sound information about the Mediterranean diet
- Guidance on how to follow a real Mediterranean diet based on the prototype of the Mediterranean Diet
WELCOME TO OLIVE TOMATO
If you want to be inspired to lead a happier, healthier lifestyle and learn more about the Real Mediterranean Diet and are looking for tried and trusted information, you’re at the right place. Join me as I talk about the nutritional value of the Greek Diet, cooking, news, research, Greek products, and easy ways to incorporate Greek and Mediterranean ingredients and recipes to your diet.
I invite you to try my tips and recipes, read the articles and stories, stay up to date on the science behind the Mediterranean Diet, and of course, leave comments and suggestions.
And the formal resume…
Elena Paravantes is an award winning Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Writer specializing in the Mediterranean Diet. She has been active in the field of food and nutrition for over 15 years as a clinical dietitian, food and nutrition consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer, both in the U.S. and in Greece. Elena firmly believes in the wide-ranging health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and is committed to educating the public about the wholesome food plan she grew up with through her writing, teaching and lecturing.
Elena developed the Food and Nutrition sections for the Greek editions of Men’s Health and Prevention as Food & Nutrition Editor, establishing them with her work for over 8 years. She also planned, organized and implemented the food program for Starbucks Greece, as their first Food & Beverage Director, developing and incorporating Greek and U.S. food items into the brand’s menu. Elena is currently the Health Editor for Olive Oil Times, provides consulting services on the Greek/Mediterranean diet and food for companies, writes for several U.S. and Greek media outlets and blogs for Huffington Post. Her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, US News, Shape, Fitness, Chowhound, Salon, Oldways, Fox News, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine and NPR. As well as Greek publications such as Vima, Eleftherotypia, Vimagazino, VimaGourmet, Athinorama, Iatronet and Madame Figaro.
An active member in the international nutrition community, Elena is a former President of the American Overseas Dietetic Association, and has been on the Board of Directors for over 4 years. She is the official representative of the American Dietetic Association in Greece. She is a member of the Hellenic Dietetic Associations, the Union of Nutritionists and Dietitians of Greece and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (former American Dietetic Association), The International Association of Culinary Professionals, Food and Culinary Professionals Practice group and Slow Food International. She has been awarded the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year award and Recognized Country Representative of the Year award by the American Overseas Dietetic Association. Elena is the former Greek delegate for the European Federation of the Association of Dietitians (EFAD), and Media Representative for the American Overseas Dietetic Association.
Elena earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and her Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Registered Dietitian by the U.S. Commission on Dietetic Registration (
Based in Athens, Greece, Elena lives with her French-American husband and her two sons.
To view her complete CV visit here.
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