Category Archives: Nutritional Health & Recipes

Grow Oregano and Thyme for Health and Environment


Oregano and Thyme are two of my favourite herbs of all time. For me they are basic, and a staple in the Greek diet. They are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immune boosting, and provide wonderful flavor to so many different types of foods. Plus, they are bee magnets.

In Greece thyme and oregano grow everywhere. Particularly in mountainous areas – which are the best places to gather them. However, there is one small environmental factor that many people forget about these herbs.  Their flowers provide food and nourishment for the bees of Greece and anywhere else these herbs grow. The wonderful outcome of bees being fed and nourished by thyme and oregano in Greece is the creation of some of the best tasting honey you will ever eat in your lifetime!

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Gout During and After Menopause

By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

Red wine is a known antioxidant that fights free-radicals in the body, yet for some, especially if over-weight and not exercising, red wine can be a trigger to overwhelming pain in the big toe and an indicator of gout in the body.  Women going through menopause and post-menopause are highly prone to getting gout, and although their big toe may not hurt, if there are aches and pains in the joints, gout may be present.

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Colorado Healthy Heat – Green Chilies

By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

The Colorado Rockies are not only hot during the summer months, but they also mark the growing and harvest season of a favorite vegetable in southern Colorado, the Green Chili. Roasted they are smoky and sweet, and come in a variety of heat levels. They also pack a punch when it comes to health benefits.

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Cancer and Menopause

By Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First Published at:  – on March 18, 2014

I attended a seminar at the most popular Herbal Shop in the Mid-West USA, Cheryl’s Herbs, that focused on Natural Support For Cancer Recovery.  I was amazed at the amount of women that were attending and were going through both some stage of menopause and either recovering from cancer or fighting cancer. Others had a friend or family member going through both menopause and cancer and wanted more information. The key link between menopause and cancer was estrogen levels in the body, and how lifestyle and diet can regulate estrogen levels to make going through cancer recovery and menopause not only more tolerable, but less stressful on the body.  The following is what I learned.

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Latest Information on Global Obesity Studies 2014 – Who is Responsible?

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

ON BBC World News yesterday Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum spoke about the increase of obesity world-wide.

Their Global Obesity study showed:

  • Almost 30% of people are obese or overweight.
  • The US makes up 13% of the obese population
  • Two-thirds of obese people live in developing countries.
  • China and India represent 15% of obesity world-wide.
  • No country has cut obesity since the 1980’s

Mr. Fry suggests those in China and India are adopting western habits and moving away from their traditional cultural diet by eating at well-known fast food places, mostly because it’s a chic thing to do.  Some countries in the Middle East also have the thought of obesity as a sign that one doing well economically.   Continue reading

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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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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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

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

Eating the Right Greek Yogurt During Menopause

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

First published on  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

Petition to force large food corporations to list ALL their ingredients

Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades

There is a deception going on in the food corporation world, where marketing and packaging of food products tend to not list if genetically modified food is part of the ingredients on the package. We as the public do not know what these ingredients can do in the long term to our bodies, there has not been long-term research done.

Sign the Environment Working Groups Petition if you want to know if your food is genetically modified or has ingredients that have been genetically modified.

Follow this link and add your information:



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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