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. OliveTomato the most credible and trusted source for the Mediterranean Diet. Join me as I present the nutritional value of the Mediterranean Diet, provide recipes, guidance, cooking tips, the latest news and research, and easy ways to incorporate Greek and Mediterranean diet to your lifestyle.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ME THAT YOU WON’T GET FROM OTHER “MEDITERRANEAN DIET EXPERTS”

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 are popping up everywhere 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.

Don’t settle for generic advice, get the information about the Mediterranean Diet from those who know.

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 the Mediterranean Diet my whole life, and have firsthand experience. However, having spent half my life in the U.S., I am proof that you can follow this diet from anywhere in the world.

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 and Mediterranean 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

 

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Thank you so much for making my family healthier! Thank you so much for making simple greek food so accessible! You are doing a truly important work by giving people the culinary tools they need to become healthier. You accompanied a profound change in my lifestyle and for this, you have all my gratitude. In a way, you have become a part of my family: when I talk about Elena, my wife knows it is you I am refering to.” -SL
“I adore your recipes and website. I have so many favorites… You have been such an important presence in my life since my family cholesterol gene kicked in two years ago and I delved into real Mediterranean cooking.” -C
“Thank you for your marvelous website. Using your basic advice, I have completely changed our way of eating at home. I find your approach so do-able..not heaps of complicated recipes just a sort of lifestyle template to follow.” -GD
“Our doctor suggested keeping it simple and to switch to a Mediterranean diet. He ended up having a triple heart bypass last August but his amazing recovery was due to the fact he had lost 60 pounds in the 8 months leading to his operation simply by following the Mediterranean diet and your manifesto which was placed on our fridge.” -KB
“I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog and how informative it has been for me. I have tried a lot of eating plans, but this is by far the best.  I have lost 25 pounds and never feel deprived.  It is also very easy to eat on this plan even if your are on a budget.” -CS

 

 

MY STORY

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.

 

AND THE FORMAL RESUME

Elena Paravantes olive oil

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 20 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 is a former professor of nutrition at the American College of Greece and the Health Editor for Olive Oil Times. Elena provides consulting services on the

Presenting at the Mediterranean Roundtable in New York City

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 CNNPrevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, US News and World Report, Shape, Fitness, Parade, 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. She is the lead author of the chapter on Greek Culture for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics publication Cultural Competency for Nutrition Professionals

Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, University, Louisiana State University, American College of Greece, Pierce College, Aramark, Mediterranean Diet Roundtable, American University of Madaba-Jordan, Celestyal Cruises, Lambraki Research Foundation.

Presenting at Yale University with Charalampos Economou, Debbie Humphriesand Tassos Kyriakides

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 (CDR)

Based in Athens, Greece, Elena lives with her husband and her two sons.

To view her complete CV visit here.

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.

Elena


Copyright Policy

© Olive Tomato and Elena Paravantes. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

154 Comments

  • Reply Cathy April 26, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    What a wonderful blog to read. I have already started the change to eating following your guidelines. I do have a question. How much feta would you consume when eating only lentils or vegetable dish. It always says serve with bread and feta but never as to how much. Can you have rusks instead of bread. I have a sensitivity to wheat so can’t eat a lot of bread. I have made quite a few recipes and thoroughly enjoy them.
    Thank you. I have already noticed a difference between eating and exercising and feeling much better.

  • Reply Pat O'Neil Green April 26, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Your blog is inspirational. Thank you.

  • Reply Laurie April 2, 2019 at 3:06 am

    Your Ted Talk inspired me to learn more!

  • Reply Sherry Wright March 12, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    I’m just in the beginning stages of working the Med diet and feel quite fortunate to have some expert assistance so early on. Hope I can find your site again. (I’m very tech unsavvy).

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN March 13, 2019 at 6:08 am

      Thanks Sherry! You may choose to subscribe if you wish. That way you can receive a notification in your email.

  • Reply Hanne March 12, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    What joy to discover a gorgeous blog like yours. I will visit often now that I have found you. I too spent summers in Greece although my parents were not Greek but wandering ex-patriots. Your photography and recipes are vibrant and healthy. I cant wait to try them. Thank you -Hanne

  • Reply Delaney February 20, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Hello from snowy eastern Washington State! Found your site while researching ways to transition my family from ketogenic eating. We’ve been doing it for 2 years but something in the back of my head started telling me we need to switch. Anything is a big change from all the butter, bacon, and cream cheese. But I’m hoping my family is receptive to it. Thankfully my kids already love veggies. I’m excited to try recipes from here. Great blog site! Thank you!

  • Reply Alexis DiPietro January 13, 2019 at 3:47 am

    Hi Elena,
    My teenage son has type 1 diabetes and is traveling later this month with his school in Brooklyn, NY to Athens and Crete. We are trying to put together a list of typical foods he’ll encounter with their carbohydrate counts (for example pita bread is approximately 40 grams of carbs) to help him count carbs while experiencing Greece and its wonderful cuisine. Any information or resources you could provide us with would be so greatly appreciated!
    Thank you,
    Alexis DiPietro

  • Reply Mandy January 2, 2019 at 2:49 am

    Please add me to your distribution list! Very excited to have found this website!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 5, 2019 at 9:44 am

      Hi Mandy, Have you used the subscription form? Let me know if you need assistance.

  • Reply Mary Kyriakides November 4, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    I love your recipes and detailed instructions. Have you written any cookbooks? I hope the answer is yes, because I would love to buy one.

  • Reply Paul Kachudas September 15, 2018 at 1:05 am

    Elena. My Greek name is Apostolos Katsoudas from Ahladocambos. I have heard of the Paravantes when I was a child st forgio. Are we related you think?

  • Reply Cynthia Anderson December 7, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    I made the Lentil fakes for supper tonight! Wonderful!

  • Reply Amanda August 11, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Hi! We are in Seattle. I am half-Greek and went in search of some recipes that my step-mother would make when I was in Greece visiting my family there. One of my comfort meals is the Fasolakia Lathera. Your recipe is perfect. We have been eating your recipes mainly every night for the past few weeks. I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN August 16, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Thank you Amanda! I’m so glad you are enjoying (and using) the site!

  • Reply Laura Zanetis Post August 3, 2017 at 3:26 am

    I found this site while looking up the nutritional information on feta cheese. I am having to watch my salt intake and my triglycerides. This site is wonderful!!! So glad I found it. And I’m glad you stick to the PDO on Greek feta. Over the years, I have struggled to find good feta in the U.S.. I mistakenly got a French “feta” which wasn’t feta at all. I have finally found a brand that is from Greece. Before, I would order it online.
    One thing I am struggling with – if I put it in water or as my Yia Yia did – in scalded milk – the feta smells like it has yeast growing in it. I have been storing it in a salt water I make myself – and the directions were to try to match the saltiness of the brine to the salt in the feta – but I am trying to lower my salt intake, so storing it in water would be better. Any suggestions for making it last longer (a month would be nice), in water or milk? Thanks!! LOVE this web site!!!

    • Reply Amanda August 11, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      I am curious about this, too. My feta does not last more than a week and I think I remember my dad rinsing it and doing something with it – not just leaving it in the brine, and it lasted longer, but when I do that it tastes weird.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN August 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Thank you Laura! Feta would be rinsed in water if it was too salty. Now in regards to preservation you need the water to contain salt. Brine is usually made by adding about 80 grams of salt to one liter of water. Feta should be ok for 6 months in brine.

  • Reply Rogan Craig July 20, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Hi Elena,
    I was told about your site by a Greek friend I have known for about 50 years, but I cannot find a subscriber’s option except for this one. Please add me to your mailing list. I have followed what I call an English diet, mixed with a bit of an Afrikaans diet, and I want to have a healthier diet.
    Thank you,

    Rogan Craig

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN July 20, 2017 at 8:39 am

      Thank you Rogan! If you go to the home page, you will see on the right (in the sidebar) a subscription box, just add your email and you will receive an email to confirm. If you are still having trouble just send me an email, and I’ll add you.

  • Reply Mimsy May 14, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    I just discovered your website and will do some recipes bi just had a double bypass and have been strongly encouraged to follow the Mediterranean diet. But I don’t see a sodium or carb breakdown. Do you have a book or available info?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 17, 2017 at 4:55 am

      Hi Mimsy, No book yet. I have not added nutrition information at this time. However, almost all recipes involve adding salt as needed, so you can control a large percentage of the sodium that way.

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