Author Archives: Constadina

Chestnuts – A Winter Classic for Christmas and Health

By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First Published on December 23, 2013 at:

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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My Digital Photo Given an Honorable Mention Award

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

I entered a digital photo in the Scott Air Force Base Annual Art and Craft Show 2013, where quite a lot of talented artists work or have a spouse that work on base. I was fortunate to win an Honorable Mention Award in the Photography Category, where I also entered my photo in the show’s theme, “America the Beautiful.”  My photograph was titled Hope, Strength, and Faith in our Soldiers.”  This Art show is apparently one of the US Air Force’s best.  I am truly honored.  My digital photo was purchased by one of the attendees to the art show, another honor, but if anyone else would like to purchase it I will be making copies of it for sale.

Description of Photo:  The Saint Louis Gateway Arch resembles the image of a rainbow symbolizing hope. Its metal structure is a symbol of strength.  The American flag in front and centered under the Arch symbolizes the unity of all states and how each state contributes to that strength.  A member of the National Guard is parachuting through the Arch with the colors of the United States, symbolizing the faith we have in our military to get the nation through every crossroad (smoke from plane in the form of an X) the country may face.




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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Carrot-Coconut Bread

Carrot-coconut bread is great to eat at breakfast or as a snack, and only 297 calories per serving. When a slice is toasted, the natural sweetness of the carrot and coconut are brought out, making you want to eat even more. Once baked, it may come out of the oven feeling like a heavy loaf, but make sure you toast each slice to bring out its light fluffy sweet texture. It also contains the healthy fat, coconut oil, which is wonderful for cholesterol level maintenance, immune system boosting, proper digestion, regulating metabolism, help with high blood pressure and diabetes, among many other health benefits.   

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Yellow Dye Removed From Some Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

Be happy knowing that as of today, Kraft is going to follow European standards and remove the controversial Yellow Dye from some of their Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner products.  Research studies have found the dye connected to some cancers as well as contributing to ADHA in children.

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Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

This Hearty Vegetable Beef Barley Soup Recipe is a great fall-winter comfort soup that warms up your tummy and gets the cold out of your bones, but it’s also great for maintaining your iron levels, and keeping you strong if you are suffering from a cold or flu or recovering from giving birth. Here is my recipe for this very yummy soup.

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Find Chakra Balance Through Your Diet

The Doctor Oz Show had MD Kulreet Chaldhary on his show today with a wonderful explanation of Chakras, chakra balance, and their association with your well-being through diet.

She provided a great explanation of what chakras are along with foods that can provide balance to various health issues.

Here is a link to that explanation:

This is definitely worth reading if you are a little confused about the terminology and it’s association with Ayurveda.

Peppermint Water


By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

Published on October 26, 2013 at

Peppermint is a quick, healthy and easy way to keep cool, and provide some extra health benefits.  Whether it’s a hot summer day and you are trying to stay cool, you’ve just finished a long walk or jog, or are suffering from hot sweats because you are pregnant or menopausal, check out these tips for using peppermint to improve your health.

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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.


  • 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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Discuss Hormone Balance and Peri-Menopause when you are 35

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First Published in September 2013 at:

Suzanne Somers was on Good Morning America (GMA) a few days ago talking about the importance of women looking after their hormones and keeping them in check. Suzanne has been an amazing advocate of women’s health and wellness and has just released a new book aimed at women from 35 to 50 who think they are too young to be thinking about hormones and menopause. In it she also talks a lot about Natural Hormone Therapy, a controversial topic for many. She cleverly titled her new book, “I’m Too Young for This!” You are never too young to talk about your hormones, each generation has their issues with them, but what you do with that information is more important.  Continue reading

New Twist on Helping People get out of Debt

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

Today the television program CBS Sunday Morning had a news clip on a collection agency that actually helps people get out of debt.  Yes, you read correctly, helps a person in debt get out of debt!  Finally, a new idea, service to others, and making a bad situation better for all involved.

In the CBS story, the owner,  Bill Bartman, of CFS II Debt Collection Agency,  talked about how the old mentality of hounding debtors to get money they don’t have doesn’t work. I think we’ve all heard someone’s story about a collections agency being nasty to a friend in the past, but this company has taken on a new approach, ‘let’s help the client find ways to make money to pay back the debt.’ Yup! This agency helps the individual in debt find a job, fix their resume, remind them about when their first job interview is, and literally works with them to get out of debt. Continue reading

There is a positive side to Peri-Menopause and Menopause

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First published in July 2013 at:

Often when women try to find helpful information on menopause they end up getting depressed or confused over the answers found.  The “bad news” appears to outweigh the “good news.”  Times are changing and women need to remember not to be hard on their self-worth at any age, we are entering an era where all women matter, no matter what their age. What is most important for woman during peri-menopause and menopause is self-confidence and the ability to know oneself enough to not care about what others are doing or what people think of them.  Menopause is a rite-of-passage that needs to be celebrated as a woman’s self-discovery. After a lifetime of learning who you are as an individual, menopause is the final stage in a woman’s life that is challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally in a manner that sets the tone for the life a woman wants to live.  The key to having all this is the support of other women experiencing the same stage in life.   Continue reading

Reflexology for Decreasing Menopause Symptoms

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First published in June 2013 at:

Are you going through menopause changes and are so overwhelmed with trying to get in touch with your body that you don’t know where to begin?  Consider going to a reflexologist or trying a few reflexology methods on your own.  Reflexology provides the opportunity to work on trigger points that can influence hot flushes by working on points connected to the thyroid and pituitary glands, nerve and blood supply for better circulation, as well as organs such as the uterus, the ovaries, and liver that can affect your hormone levels.  Touching these trigger points may get you more in touch with which menopause symptoms your body is most sensitive to. Continue reading

Keep Endocrine Disruptors from Entering your Cosmetics by signing this Petition

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

The Environmental Working Group – EWG has a petition for people to sign to keep endocrine disruptors from being put into the cosmetics by Revlon and L’Oreal, which can do a number on your hormones and create a number of health issues. Let’s tell the industry that we respect our bodies and want them to be treated with care and kindness by signing this petition asking them to find better ingredients for their products

Click here to sign:


Heart Health During and After Menopause

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First Published in April 2013 at:

You suffered for years with hot flashes, crazy constant weight gain and loss, unpredictable mood swings, and finally your menopause symptoms are beginning to stop. You spent years increasing your exercise regime and following a healthier lifestyle to decrease your menopause symptoms, and now you are at the home stretch, getting better sleep, not snapping at the tiniest irritations coming from your family, and feeling close to your normal self again. Ahhhh, time to celebrate with a piece of chocolate cake!   Continue reading

Spring Clean Your Body & Balance Your Hormones with a Little Dandelion

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First published in March 2013 at:


When you were a child I’m sure at some point when you saw dandelions you probably thought of them as a weed your parents hated seeing in their grass, but you loved it when they dried so you could blow all the seeds away into the wind like most kids…. I on the other hand, as a first-generation Greek kid, grew up with parents who didn’t use weed killer on them, but dug them up from the grass and used the leaves as food.  Sometimes we would even venture off into the cattle farm-land outside our home city and raid the edges of farmer’s fields in the spring time and relieve them of all their dandelions.  We would collect so many grocery bags full of these dandelion leaves that we would clean and freeze whatever we couldn’t eat by the end of the week, so we would have them throughout the year.   Continue reading

Hormone Disruptors in your Personal Care Products and the Effects on your Body

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First published in February 2013 at –

In my previous article, Exercise for Better Menopausal Health, I wrote about how hormones are affected during menopause and the importance of exercise to release toxins from the body, as well as get the body’s hormone levels back in balance to decrease and prevent a number of symptoms of menopause.  Your body’s hormone levels are so unpredictable when you don’t take an active role in keeping them in balance, which could lead to extreme reactions in your body such as severe depression and weight gain.  Although we can’t control the toxins in the air we breathe that can affect hormone levels, we can control the toxins, chemicals, and hormone disruptors that can get in our bodies when it comes to choosing cosmetics, face and body creams, as well as soap and bath products.   Continue reading

Exercise for Better Menopausal Health

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First Published in January 2013 at –

Exercise is a tricky topic when it comes to Menopause. It all has to do with the hormones. For those who lead highly stressful lifestyles when going through menopause, vigorous exercise actually has a counter effect and does not help the body release its fat because the body feels it is under more stress. Don’t take that as an excuse not to exercise, it’s the type of exercise you do during menopause that makes a difference in shedding fat.   Continue reading

Menopausal Healthy Holiday Season

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First published in December 2012 at –

You’ve been trying to get control over all the changes your body is going through and now it’s the holiday season and you are overwhelmed with the thought that eating healthy and finding ways to exercise and relax are out of the question this holiday season.  Don’t fret, there are a few things you can do amongst the chaos of the holiday season to help you from going overboard and help you ease into the New Year without feeling completely guilty that you overindulged.  Remember getting your body in balance does not happen overnight and certainly is not easy to begin over the holiday season. Here is where you can begin your first steps:   Continue reading