Category Archives: Greece

Chickens in the Backyard Can Balance Community

By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

Would you put a chicken coop and chickens in your backyard if your city by-laws approved it?  I recently moved to Colorado and although I knew that anyone could raise chickens in their backyard, I never thought my neighbor across the street would actually have them. The benefits: cleaner environment, healthier product, educational, and encourages community interaction – all of which, when combined promotes a balanced community lifestyle. Read on to understand why these are benefits.

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Chestnuts – A Winter Classic for Christmas and Health

By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First Published on December 23, 2013 at: http://menopausemission.com/chestnuts-winter-classic-christmas-health

You can’t help but think of Christmas when you hear the word “chestnut,” but this little nut not only provides a little extra lean protein to your diet in the late fall and winter months, but  also boosts the immune system and has been known to be nourishing and tonic to women going through menopause.

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Greek Healthy Desserts and Snacks

Pes Alevri - store photo065

By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

Many people think baklava, galaktobouriko, kourambiethes, kataifi, diples and karidopita are some of the most common Greek desserts. They aren’t exactly low-fat or low in sugar, and often people avoid entering Greek bakeries in Greece when on vacation to make sure they look great in their bathing suit. Believe it or not, there was a time where sugar was not easily accessible in Greece and there were desserts and snacks made that did not compromise one’s health. If you pay attention, you will find these traditional bakeries across Greece that are slowly becoming more common. My favorite healthy snack in these types of bakeries is called “Kritsinia Iliosporou” or written in Greek “Κριτσινια ηλιοσπορου,” and are a little narrow cigar-shaped multi-grain cookie that is as light as a feather and rolled in sunflower seeds.  Pites, or savory pies, are another thing you can find at these traditional bakeries, with a variety of ingredients.

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Kolokithokeftedes – Pumpkin Patties/Fritter Recipe – My Mom’s Recipe

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

I rarely eat anything fried. But two or three times a year I do make exceptions. Once a year, right after Halloween, my family and I take our jack-o-lantern and make it into one of our favorite Greek appetizers, kolokithokeftedes, otherwise known in English as pumpkin patties or pumpkin fritters. It’s not healthy to eat fried food every day, but every once-in-a-while frying something in olive oil, canola oil, or other healthy oils will not kill you. It’s all about balance. The ingredients in these pumpkin patties are all healthy and fresh, and that is the key. Pumpkin is a cancer fighter, olive oil is loaded with omega-3-fatty acids, and the herbs and spices in these each have their own nutritional and medicinal benefits.

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Quinoa Burger Recipe – Greek Style

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

This is an extremely healthy high protein, low-fat burger with some favorite Greek flavors to change-up your menu.  Even better, they are filling and it’s easy to make! If you like Greek keftedes you will love these – similar flavor and less fat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 medium-large carrot, cut in big chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed  (I prefer Reduced Sodium)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (If you can find roasted ground cumin it is preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon (or less) sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

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Eating the Right Greek Yogurt During Menopause

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First published on http://menopausemission.com/eating-the-right-greek-yogurt-during-menopause  October 2012

Yogurt is a popular food to eat for maintaining strong healthy bones.  The popularity of Greek yogurt over the last five years has skyrocketed, but unfortunately some companies claiming to sell traditional Greek strained yogurt in fact are serving a product that does not align with the way pure traditional Greek strained yogurt is actually made. Being Greek, this begins to become insulting, especially growing up with the real thing, knowing the proper flavor and ingredients.  Some of these yogurts are not making people healthy, but are contributing to their health issues.  Don’t assume because a label says it’s a “Greek” yogurt that it’s healthy.  Make sure you read the ingredients of your yogurt before purchasing; otherwise you will be buying a product that will in fact agitate and worsen your menopausal symptoms.  For some, even a pure traditional Greek strained yogurt on its own can actually increase hot flash symptoms.   Continue reading

Baked Okra with a Feta and Olive Appetizer – Family Recipe

Recipe by Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

This vegetarian meal is a very popular dish in Greece, particularly during a religious fast and through the summer season.  It’s easy to make and I’ve provided a family recipe that was published a few years back in Metohos Magazine.  I find that most Greek dishes cooked in a tomato sauce taste even better with a side of feta and Kalamata olives.

Okra are EXTREMELY low in fat, high in fiber, and VERY low in cholesterol. A 255g portion (without the tomato sauce) has 71 Calories, 1g of fat, and 5g of protein.  It consist of 52% Vitamin C, 24% Calcium, 17% Vitamin A, and 9% Iron.

Enjoy another one of my family recipes!

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Spaghetti with Octopus – The Zarokostas Family Recipe

Recipe by Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

This family recipe was published in a Canadian multicultural magazine a few years back.  This is one of my favorite family recipes for a number of reasons. I am a seafood fanatic, and also have many memories of my family visits to Greece as a child watching my father and brother swim out into the Mediterranean sea with their spear guns searching for octopus, then once caught, watching them soften their tough tentacles by literally smashing them against sea rocks in our southern Greek town of Leonidion. When I hear the word “octopus” I instantly smell the sea and am transported to Greece.

An 85g serving size of octopus is a great source of protein providing 25g, and 139 calories.  It is low in saturated fat.  Octopus is high in iron at 45%, contains 11% Vitamin C, 9% calcium and 5% Vitamin A.  It is a little high in sodium and cholesterol, so if those are issues in your diet please beware.  Octopus is also a great source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc, Vitamin B12, Copper and Selenium.

Enjoy this very favorite family recipe of mine!

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