Don’t Be Afraid of the High Fat Mediterranean Diet

November 1, 2012 Leave a Comment

OK, I didn’t need another study to tell me this, although there have been plenty of studies that show that the Mediterranean diet even though high in fat, is good for the heart. According to Canadian researchers of this new study “A single junk food meal – composed mainly of saturated fat – is detrimental to the health of the arteries, while no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Mediterranean meal may even have a positive effect on the arteries.” Well yes of course. Read more »


New Research Gives Us Yet Another Reason to Eat Beans

October 31, 2012 Leave a Comment

We all know how great beans are. Yes, they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, protein and now a study published online last week in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that the consumption of beans improved glycemic control and reduced estimated heart disease risk.

The researchers from the University of Toronto had 2 groups of people either consume a low Glycemic Index (GI) bean diet by increasing bean intake by 1 cup a day or a low GI diet by increasing insoluble fiber through consumption of whole wheat products. Glycemic Index is a measure that shows how quickly blood sugar rises after we eat a certain food. At the end of the study both groups had a reduced HbA1C levels, a measurement of glucose usually from the past 1-3 months. The reduction in HbA1c with the bean diet was greater than with the wheat fiber diet. Also there was a greater heart disease risk reduction on the bean diet, which according to the researchers is due to a greater e reduction in blood pressure. Read more »


Greek Style Lentil Cheese Phyllo Rolls

October 29, 2012 3 Comments

As promised in my post about my visit to the Food and Nutrition Conference, I’ll be sharing interesting, Mediterranean inspired recipe ideas that I found at the conference. Beans are always on top of the list of healthiest foods and a very important part of the Mediterranean diet. Here is a recipe that presents lentils wrapped up in phyllo dough, putting them in a nice attractive package to be served as an appetizer. A perfect idea if you are entertaining or for the holidays or…if you just want your kids to eat beans. Read more »


Perfect Pear Olive Oil Cake

October 25, 2012 6 Comments

There is a pear tree in the backyard of my parents house and when we ended up with a bagful of pears which were already somewhat ripe, I knew I had to make a pear cake. Over the summer I had seen on Chow a Greek stand in New York that apparently made a wonderful pear olive oil cake and I wanted one too. I tried several recipes and in the end I was happy with a slightly modified version of a recipe on this Spanish Olive Oil website.

Now, obviously this cake is not only great with coffee and for kids, it does have health benefits. Of course the fat is coming from the olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats (good fats) that help lower the bad cholesterol in the blood. But with the addition of pears (about 3 cups) you get fiber, but not just any fiber. Pears are actually a good source of both types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble helps your GI tract work smoothly, keeps you “regular” and the soluble fiber also lowers bad cholesterol and may be associated with lower blood pressure. I also used whole wheat flour in this version adding some more fiber. So, really, you have a heart healthy cake, that doesn’t taste heart healthy. Read more »


A Taste of the Mediterranean at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo

October 18, 2012 8 Comments

Every fall, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (former American Dietetic Association) organizes a conference known as the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Over 8,000 registered dietitians (sometimes more), nutrition science researchers, policy makers, health-care providers and industry leaders attend this conference

I have been going to FNCE for several years now, and as President-Elect of the International Affiliate the American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA) it is the place to meet up with colleagues from all over the world. This year I am proud to announce that I also received the award for AODA Outstanding Dietitian of the Year (yay!).

Attending these conferences is always interesting because you can see the trends in the U.S. food and nutrition community. Since I have been living in Greece for the past ten years, for me it is a place to stay connected with what is happening and how the Mediterranean diet or aspects of the Mediterranean diet are being promoted there. Read more »


School Lunches in the U.S. -Yes you can make kids want to eat vegetables: make them a bit more Mediterranean.

October 9, 2012 Leave a Comment

I’m currently in Philadelphia attending the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo organized by the Academy of  Nutrition and Dietetics (former American Dietetic Association), and while I’m here, of course there has been much discussion of the new lunches of the National School Lunch Program. Apparently kids in the US schools do not want to eat the new school lunches that must now include fruits and vegetables according to the new requirements. Not surprising considering how they are serving those vegetables.

Well let’s see what is going on here: According to the NYT, these revised school lunches include string beans, baked sweet potato wedges and packaged baby carrots. Well of course the kids are throwing them in the garbage. I don’t like eating plain string beans or plain carrots either, and I’m an adult and a nutritionist!

Boring vegetables
The problem here is that we’re trying to get kids to eat more vegetables by just giving plain, boring, tasteless vegetables. And not only kids, adults are trying to do this too. I see this phenomenon every time I visit the US; time and time again they try and get their vegetables requirements by eating raw or plainly cooked vegetables. They are trying to eat more of them by serving them with dips: there are only so many raw broccoli florets you can eat with ranch dip or steaming or boiling vegetables maybe with a touch margarine or butter. l mean really, how many vegetables can you eat that way? Read more »


Genuine Greek Shopping at the Airport

October 6, 2012 1 Comment

I am currently in Philadelphia to attend the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (more about that later). While flying out of Athens conveniently there are a few shps that sell Greek food products. The nice thing about these stores is that they sell a good variety of Greek PDO ( Protected Designation of Origin) products and not just a couple of touristy products. So if you’re visiting Greece and didn’t get a chance to buy the goodies, here are a few unique things to pick up before you fly.

Fistiki Aiginis

These Greek pistachio nuts are known for their taste. These are the original, straight off the tree from the island of Aegina. Read more »