Healthy Epicurean Q&A: WWB ICON Maria Benardis is back to Visit with a Greekalicious Newly Released Cookbook ‘My Greek Family Table’

May 5, 2017 by

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If you haven’t heard yet, the Mediterranean Diet is the only diet in the world with extensive scientific research behind it’s claims. What does it claim? It claims to help with weight loss, a decreased risk for heart disease, diabetes, depression, and dementia! In other words Western diseases and conditions. There is no one militant Mediterranean diet to follow like many trendy diets offer, simply because there are many eating patterns spread across many cultures living in the Mediterranean region of the world. This makes it the best flexitarian diet in the world too. One we can all get on board with because of it’s flexibility. But there is a key common foundation of the Mediterranean Diet. It is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It generally features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat, which contains more saturated fat. Red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts. And oh yeah, let’s not forget, they generally lead an active lifestyle, and I don’t mean Spinning classes at the Gym!

Today we focus on Greece and talk with Maria Benardis. She has published three cook books titled “My Greek Family Table” now released here in in USA/Canada this month and previously released in Australia in 2009 by Penguin Books which won the Gourmand World Cook Book Award 2009 – Best Mediterranean Cook Book in Australia and “Cooking and Eating Wisdom for Better Health’ published by Balboa Press.  She also has an ebook titled “A Greekalicious Feast”. Founder of Greekalicious she has offered cooking instructions and coaching at many venues both in Australia and the USA. These include the Intuitive Well in Sydney, Australia, The Brooklyn Kitchen, NYC, The Natural Gourmet Institute, NYC and Haven’s Kitchen, NYC. I am so honored to have her back, as some of you you might remember I named her WWB ICON in 2014.  A true World Wise Beauty dedicated to advancing wellness culture. Learn more about Maria and her beautiful journey to wellness through cooking below…

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Welcome Back Maria! I am so happy to feature another of your wonderful cookbooks! More than just a cookbook, this is really a personal memoir and tribute to your Greek heritage and family. Through your memories and stories we really get a sense of the Greek culture and how important food is to the people of Greece. You are truly a World Wise Beauty having lived on 3 continents. I bring this up because your book is  also a story of immigration. You shared so many touching parts of your childhood in the book. I can imagine through empathy what it was like for you as a child to suddenly have to move to another part of the world and all by yourself on a plane. I will let you tell our readers why you moved from Australia back to Greece as a young child.

Maria Benardis: When I was 3 ½ years old, my younger sister and I went to live on the island of Psara, Greece. My mother was very ill with cancer and my father sent us to live there with his mother, Katina. We didn’t know it at the time, but our mother succumbed to cancer shortly after we left. If I board a plane today and happen to see children traveling unaccompanied, my mind travels back to that first flight to Greece with my sister. Even though it was such a traumatic time, I can’t help but smile at the memory now.

Lauroly Q- What a heart-breaking experience Maria and so glad you can smile now for those two brave little girls on their journey. Despite the turmoil and displacement you were in some ways blessed to live with your Grandmother and had the opportunity to soak up the beautiful culture of Greece. I love how you created your own private sanctuary growing your own herbs and vegetables as a young girl. Tell us about your little Garden on the island of Psara, Greece…

Maria Benardis: I loved to go on walking expeditions around the island. One day, while on one of my regular walks, I stumbled across a small enclosed, deserted area, with just a few weeds growing. I decided that it was now going to be mine and that I would create my own magical fruit and vegetable garden. I decided not to tell anybody about it, especially my grandmother. To create my garden, I took some of the herbs and vegetables my grandmother grew and planted them there. I grew all sorts of things: small tomatoes, thyme, oregano, wild greens, zucchini, chamomile leaves, and native flowers. It was an extremely colorful and happy garden and it became my favorite place on the island—somewhere I could escape to, to dream and be free. I derived great joy from watching my plants grow.

Lauroly Q- Your upbringing is so foreign to many Americans who grew up with packaged meat, and processed food sources. Only those who lived on farms can relate and understand your experience. Yet this may be what’s missing today–a real connection to our food sources. While living with your grandmother you had chores every morning that included feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, milking the goat, and picking the herbs and vegetables. Sounds so simple, yet it’s hard work! You ate mainly seafood and vegetables, which seems to be the mainstay of the Mediterranean diet. You referred to meat as a rare luxury in the book. Tell us more about this and how your Greek family viewed eating animal meat…

Maria Benardis: Animal meat was considered sacred and before any animal was sacrificed for our enjoyment our island priest would bless it. We ate meat on special occasions only such as Easter, Christmas, when someone got married on the island, birthdays etc. In Greek Orthodox culture, many people may not know that we have meatless Wednesday’s and Friday’s amongst other days in the religious calendar in any case. Additionally, we closely aligned our eating habits to those of our ancient Ancestors. As many would know in Ancient Greece many were vegetarians, vegans and fruitarians.

As outlined in my other book/eBook “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health.” “In ancient Greece many people avoided animal flesh altogether. They believed that by eating the flesh of animals that had been slaughtered they would be ingesting pain and that this was detrimental to ones health. Plutarch ( Greek biographer and essayist) tells us: ‘Man is by nature not a carnivorous animal’. ‘It is not natural to mankind to feed on flesh, we first of all demonstrate from the very shape and figure of the body. For the human body no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness’. ‘Shall we reckon a soul to be a small expense.’ ‘Animal food is injurious: it clogs and confuses the mind’ and the ‘mind weak and feeble’. It operates unfavourably on character’. ‘If we must eat flesh let it be with sorrow and pity; not tormenting and abusing the poor animal before taking its life. Animals have senses’.”“Who knows the bodies of animals may contain the souls of deceased men.”

Lauroly Q- Thank you for sharing great wisdom we all need to revisit. There are so many interesting stories like “The Grape Leaf Lady’ weaved throughout the book, but we can’t forget the wonderful delicious recipes! I think I mentioned in our last interview together that Greek food is one of my favorite cuisines. I was fortunate to visit Greece more than once, and I have wonderful memories of eating. I think it was the simplicity of the food that worked for me and the aromatic herbs and spices. I remember going to a Greek restaurant outside the city of Athens and there was no menu! They just brought out various dishes of food to the table, as if we were family. They mainly served fish and vegetable dishes and it was all so delicious! What herbs and spices are commonly used in Greek cooking? I love how you call them healing ingredients as many spices are. Food really can be medicine don’t you think?

Maria Benardis: There are many spices and herbs still used in Greek cookery that were used by my ancient Greek ancestors. I cover their medicinal properties observed by them and now at the back of my book and throughout “My Greek Family Table”. They include basil comes from the Greek basilius, meaning “king” or “royal.” the king of herbs and the crowning herb in Greek cuisine. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, regarded basil as beneficial to the heart and prescribed it for the treatment of constipation and for the prevention of vomiting. Other include mint, dill, cilantro, Bay Leaf, Marjoram, Oregano ( is derived from two Greek words: oros (mountain) and ganos (joy) (i.e, “joy of the mountain”)), parsley, Rosemary, and Thyme. Laura, you are absolutely right Food is Medicine and in the wise words of Hippocrates “Let Medicine be thy food and food thy medicine”. I was ill for many years with cysts that were going to turn into cancer and the doctors were not able to help me. I turned to food and mind medicine and healed myself.
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Photograph from ‘My Greek Family Table’ Book

 

Lauroly Q-My favorite part of the book ‘My Greek Family Table’ is where you talk about returning to Greece after living in Australia for a long time. It was on that trip you discovered your calling and true love of Greek food. Can you share a little bit of that story?

Maria Benardis: Yes, I have the whole story in my book. Briefly in August 2004 I went on a life-changing trip to Greece. It was my first visit back there since leaving Psara all those years before. While there, I visited Kalamata and many of the beautiful islands. However, it was on the island of Mykonos that my life changed forever, when I visited the small church of Saint Fanourios. It was there that my decision to pursue my passion for food was sealed and my destiny set on a new course. Saint Fanourios is a very small church on one of the main winding streets in Mykonos. Beautifully whitewashed, the church proudly hangs the Greek flag hangs proudly outside. It had an inviting look about it and I felt compelled to go in and light a candle. The church was adorned with beautiful icons painted with vibrant colors and finished off with gold and silver. In the corner there were many candles that had being lit that day by people who had passed by. I felt a peace in my soul that I had not experienced before, and the sweet fragrance of the holy basil heightened my sense of tranquility. Suddenly I experienced an epiphany and saw all that was about to happen in my life pass before me. I realized it was time for me to reinvent my life, and in that church I saw a new path set out for me to follow. I decided then and there that I was going to dedicate myself to bringing Greek food and culture to the rest of the world.

Lauroly Closing- Thank you so much for joining us Maria, I could ask you so many other questions, but I think your book is really special. Everyone needs to read your story while turning the beautifully photographed pages of your Greekalicious dishes and classic Greek tables. They will not only find delicious Greek recipes, but perhaps a fresh perspective on their own relationship with food. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, and love of your Greek culture and heritage. Mission accomplished Maria! Greece will live on in you and now in us.

Maria Benardis Closing: Thank you for interviewing me and for your time. In closing I would like to end with some words I have in “My Greek Family Table” in the acknowledgments section. This book is for all the Greeks (and I believe we all have a bit of Greek within us all) over the world. You are all so fortunate to be part of a civilization that has contributed many things, such as democracy, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, theater, arts, healing therapies, and most importantly of all gastronomy; forgotten by the world but now time to be remembered.

 

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How to Live a Long and Pleasurable Life…Doctor, & Author of “The Olive Oil Diet” Shares the Wellness Secrets of the Mediterranean Culture & Lifestyle

Feb 10, 2017 by

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WWB Wise Guru: Dr. Simon Poole  MBBS DRCOG is a Cambridge based medical doctor, author, broadcaster and commentator with expertise in the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.

Featured Book: The Olive Oil Diet –Nutritional Secrets of the Original SuperFood –The book has just been nominated for the International Gourmand Prize for food and cookery writing, and shortlisted for the “Best of the World” which is described as the food writing equivalent of the “Oscars”.

Professional Profile: As well as being a full time GP, Dr Simon Poole is a renowned international commentator on the Mediterranean Diet and a member of the Council of Directors of the True Health Initiative in the USA. He has written regularly on matters related to primary care in medicine and nutrition for a diverse range of media including The Guardian, Nutrition and Food Science and the Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons as well as consumer magazines such as Cook Vegetarian and Body Language. He also has extensive experience broadcasting and writing for local, national and international radio, television and web based organisations and regularly speaks at and chairs conferences attended by physicians, the media, politicians and the food industry on subject matters relating to health, politics and nutrition.

 

 

 

 

Lauroly Opening: I am pleased to introduce another doctor/expert from the True Health Initiative. For those just learning about THI, it is a growing coalition of more than 250 world renowned health experts committed to cutting through the noise, and educating on only time-honored, proven principles of lifestyle as medicine. The THI coalition members include physicians, scientists, nutritionists, and authors from nearly 30 countries. An example of their collective collaboration is Dr. Poole will be joining Dr. David Katz (founder of THI and wellness expert here in the U.S) in Italy for the International Food Values Conference in Rome. World leading experts in nutrition, health and sustainability will gather under the patronage of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences next week to debate the urgent need for policies to be adopted which encourage more traditional diets such as the Mediterranean Diet. 

 We have heard about the Mediterranean Diet over the years, and many other diets have come along since, but there has been no other diet that has so much research and science behind it world-wide. How lucky we are to have Dr. Simon Poole here to discuss the diet and his book ‘The Olive Oil Diet’. Personally I am not a promoter of any one diet or any one super-food, because we all are so different bio-individually.  What I will say is the Mediterranean diet has ancient wisdom and a lot of modern science based research behind it, and seems to be enjoyed by many centenarian people. The prospect of healthy longevity gets my attention! At the center of the Mediterranean Diet is ‘Olive Oil’ and Dr. Poole has a passion for Olive Oil! Let’s find out why…

 

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Lauroly Q- Welcome Dr.Poole! Thank you for joining me to discuss your new book, ‘The Olive Oil Diet’ Nutritional Secrets of the Original Superfood’. What I didn’t mention in the opening is I am big olive oil user and cook with it exclusively. Even as the coconut oil trend has accelerated I have stuck with my olive oil. One of my reasons for this, is the amount of research behind the healthy heart properties of olive oil is substantially greater than that available for coconut oil. So let’s start with a hot topic! Is Olive oil better for you or healthier than coconut oil? I realize you are biased because you wrote a book about Olive Oil, but you are also a doctor who cares greatly about Public Health.

 

DR.SPDr. Poole: Extra virgin olive oil is a fundamental cooking and flavouring ingredient in all the regional variations of what has become known collectively as the Mediterranean Diet. Researchers who have demonstrated the myriad of benefits of this pattern of eating invariably include the regular use of olive oil as the main source of fat as a measure of adherence to the diet. Whatever the argument about the differences in saturated fat types in coconut oil which may make it less likely to have an adverse effect on harmful LDL cholesterol, it is perhaps the unique combination of antioxidant compounds in olive oil which may contribute even more to health than the high level of monounsaturated fat.

There is a myth which exists suggesting that cooking with saturated fats like coconut oil is more healthy because of higher “smoke points”, which is the temperature at which heated fats begin to break down to form potentially harmful by-products. In fact, not only are cooking temperatures in general well below the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil, but most of the beneficial antioxidants tolerate heating as well. Try telling a centenarian from the beautiful island of Ikaria, famed for its healthy Mediterranean lifestyle not to use olive oil as part of his or her daily life, and I rather think you would get a short reply!

 

 

Lauroly Q- Your book pretty much platforms the Mediterranean Diet as the ‘Ultimate Diet’. You have a chapter entitled ‘Keeping a Healthy Weight–The End of Dieting.  As a ‘Healthy Epicurean’ which means I value health and enjoy eating, I find the Mediterranean diet most appealing, because it really isn’t a diet as much as it is a cultural lifestyle. As a physician, why do you believe it is the ultimate diet?

Dr. Poole: You are exactly right to make the point that the Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle rather than simply a pattern of eating. Whilst in the western world we have come to view a “diet” as a way to lose weight, the term actually originates from the ancient Greek word “diaita” which means way of life. Research shows that adopting a Mediterranean Diet is in fact better than a low fat diet at helping people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and because people enjoy it, they are more likely to continue to eat healthily. I call it the “ultimate diet” because it has the added benefits of many other health advantages, including an association with lower rates of heart disease, stroke, many cancers and even dementia. The lifestyle itself which promotes the enjoyment of food as part of an experience of conviviality and community is also an important aspect.

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Lauroly Q- What I love about your book, is it is a comprehensive health book and cooking book all rolled in one. Your book takes an authoritative and science based look at olive oil, while also exploring the joys of cooking with it. Like some books on wine, your book on olive oil teaches us that growing regions matter, and we discover not all olive oils are the same. You have a dedicated chapter to learning how to buy olive oil. Does this mean cheaper olive oil is not as good as the more expensive? Many wine connoisseurs will tell you that price does not determine a good bottle of wine. Does this apply to olive oil as well?

oilDr. Poole: The “Olive Oil Diet” is designed to help people understand more about the regular use of olive oil, and how to maximise its health benefits in everyday life. It looks at the Mediterranean diet from the perspective of the ubiquitous presence of olive oil. There are different grades of olive oil and even different properties of extra virgin olive oil which depend on the variety, land, agricultural practices, production methods and storage. Oil deteriorates over time and its quality is dependent on limiting exposure to air and light. In the book we describe the indicators of better quality oils and how to recognise markers of excellence. Often the oils with the best nutritional characteristics, including low acidity and powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers are grown in traditional ways with passion and care from individual farmers or small cooperatives. Some oils can be bought very cheaply, but often these are sourced from international markets and are a mixture of variable oils from different countries. So, our advice is to get to know a little about olive oils and try different ones from different regions as well as “pairing” different tasting oils with different dishes. There are lots of discoveries readers can enjoy!

 

Lauroly Q- I have never heard Olive Oil called the ‘the medicinal fruit juice’ before, and your chapter on all the health benefits really explains how you could call it that. There are so many health conditions olive oil can help with. Most people think of the highly publicized research on heart disease, but you really connect all the medicinal dots for us in the book. What makes Olive Oil a superfood and how does it help with other diseases beyond heart disease?

Dr. Poole: Olive oil really does qualify as a “superfood” because not only is it a fundamental building block of one of the healthiest diets in the World, specifically recommended in the latest US Dietary Guidelines, but also because research has shown that olive oil by itself can have measurable health benefits. So many chronic illnesses are now considered to be associated with chronic inflammation including conditions such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis and even dementia. The numerous plant compounds designed to protect the olive fruit from the effects of “oxidative stress” in the challenging environment and climate in which the olive tree grows may play a role in decreasing inflammation in our bodies. Type 2 Diabetes is another condition which predisposes people to heart disease and other complications, and the way that olive oil in the diet reduces the spiking of sugar levels from a meal with carbohydrates also contributes to the way the diet can protect us, and even help to reverse the very early stages of diabetes. Olive oil also helps to improve the absorption of important nutrients, including fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants in other foods. So it is a real “superfood” especially when combined with super healthy vegetables.

 

Lauroly Closing: Dr. Poole, thank you so much for visiting World Wise Beauty. I wish I could join you for the ‘Food Values’ conference in Italy this year but I am sure you will come back and share the great wisdom gleaned from gathering with experts in favor of traditional diets. Who knows maybe you will share your wisdom at a ‘Rise of Wise’ event here in the states soon! We would be honored and thrilled to have you visit! In the meantime everyone should read your book and become a connoisseur of olive oil. Keeping in mind that it is what you do with the olive oil that will determine the pleasure of eating it. Check out the tasty recipes in the book and you will be well on your way to having a passion for olive oil too!

Dr. Poole Closing: Thank you. It has been a pleasure Laura and yes, it would be a privilege to attend one of your exciting events perhaps some day soon.

 

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WWB WATCH: Food As Medicine Rising Worldwide and International Conference ‘Food Values’ in Italy Sets the Stage…

Jan 10, 2017 by

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It is no accident that there are ancient health truths that still apply to modern day lifestyle and culture, because they are supportive of the sound fundamentals of human health and well-being. When you take away commercialism of wellness, you are left with ‘What Matters’. With all the diet trends going in and out of style, what if there was one ancient diet that most people around the world could live on? What if there was one diet that has been scientifically proven ( worldwide) to reduce heart disease and many cancers? Well guess what? There is one and it’s called the Mediterranean Diet. The science hasn’t gone away but perhaps the wisdom has…

If you have been paying attention to health and wellness news the last couple of years, you might be aware that we are having a health crisis. Yes, amongst other very important urgent issues in the world, health, diet and chronic disease is becoming a global challenge. Most of the challenges could be prevented with diet, and all them come back to cultural values that have somehow been thrown under the bus for the sake of industry. The good news is, there are a lot of value driven experts around the world who are scientist, doctors, and chefs coming together with a BIG mission.  The BIG mission is essentially to enlighten governments and people around the world with ideal ‘Food Values’. What are their ideal ‘Food Values’? Simply answered, they are centered around traditional healthy plant based diets. What does that sound like? Yes, it’s the Mediterranean Diet!  The Mediterranean diet has significantly reduced the increasing burden of chronic diseases associated with modern industrialized patterns of food production and consumption. Enter the worldwide WISE mission and an important conference to address our food and health crisis with real applicable solutions…

 

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International Conference ‘Food Values’ 

The Renaissance of the Mediterranean Diet and Significance for a 21st Century World
Casina Pio IV, Vatican City–14th February, 2017

World leading experts in nutrition, health and sustainability will gather under the patronage of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences next month to debate the urgent need for policies to be adopted which encourage more traditional diets.

 

Mons. Marcelo SANCHEZ SORONDO, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City

 

Scientific committee

Dr. Simon POOLE, MD – Author and Commentator, Cambridge, UK

Dr. Paolo PASQUALI – Mugello Cradle of the Renaissance, Vicchio, Florence, Italy

Prof. Francesco SOFI, MD, PhD – University of Florence, Italy

Organizing committee

Dr. Monica DINU, MSc – University of Florence, Italy

Dr. Giuditta PAGLIAI, MSc – University of Florence, Italy

Prof. Francesco SOFI, MD, PhD – University of Florence, Italy

Mons. Marcelo SANCHEZ SORONDO, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City

 

casinopio4Professor Francesco Sofi, one of the organizers from the University of Florence stated ” We are privileged to host in such auspicious surroundings luminaries including Dr. David Katz of Yale University and the True Health InitiativeGreg Descher of the Culinary Institute of America, world famous London based patron Giorgio Locatelli and other representatives if scientific institutions and NGOs with particular interests in the environment and in nutritional education.

The guests attending the conference will comprise politicians and representatives of the world of science, food and the media”

 

 

dkatz-380x250” There are real fundamentals truths about a dietary pattern that is pleasurable, healthful, and sustainable, relevant all around the world.” said Dr. David Katz speaking at the conference as President of the True Health Intiative. “It is a great privaledge to deliver the details of that message at such a rarified gathering.”

 

 

Now maybe you can’t attend the conference in Vatican City but you can access the science and values via the True Health Initiative and the many experts around the world who have tirelessly been working on getting this message to you. Their mission is “Lifestyle is Medicine’, and they are are a coalition of health experts from around the world, committed to educating on the proven principles of lifestyle as medicine. In other words you can prevent chronic disease with good sound healthy habits and there is rock hard science to prove it. Food is a big part of your lifestyle and we don’t have to be in a crisis if we listen to wisdom that has history going back to the beginning of time. We have the wisdom but the question is… do we respect ourselves and value our health enough to listen to it?

 

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Dr. Simon Poole, a cambridge based physician and part of the scientific committee said of the conference…

 

simon “We must re-evaluate the value we place on our food, recognise the appalling cost of convenience and the effect it is having on levels of obesity and ill health, and rediscover our cultural links with food production and consumption.

The conference will seek to produce an action plan for governments to educate, promote and if necessary legislate to change the paradigm of diet and nutrition in the 21st Century, aligning policies with food literacy and health in a sustainable environment”

 

What Matters? Your health and the health of the planet. This important conference will hopefully accelerate the urgent idea that wellness values and culture matter. And food is the perfect place to start…

 

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WWB Wise Guru Q&A: Doctor, Public Health Expert, and Author of ‘How Not to Die’ Wants You on a Diet Most Marketeers Don’t Want You to Know About…

Oct 5, 2016 by

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Lauroly Opening: I am so excited to have Dr. Michael Greger join me for a Q&A. I will share a little story. I was talking to a friend recently and we were talking about the experts that have visited World Wise Beauty. They are all pioneers, authors and experts in wellness culture. She said “my daughter said the best expert in wellness is Dr. Michael Greger, author of ‘How Not to Die’.” I said “oh yes I am trying to connect with him to do a Q&A!” Anyway, this little exchange said a lot. My friends’ kids are millennials and they really embrace health, wellness and environmental stewardship. They can see the writing on the wall with respect to both the health crisis and environment crisis in our country. The good news is, they have every opportunity to push back some of the problems and live a long healthy life. Let’s get everyone on board with Doctor Greger’s basic call to action–which is not to die of unnecessary diseases! The tag line of his book is ‘Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease.” This should be a desirable option to taking drugs, or undergoing unnecessary treatments, but somehow many haven’t been given the option. Surprised?

 

 

 

Let’s start with the sobering truth, Most doctors here in America are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at preventing chronic disease. The fifteen leading causes of death claim the lives of 1.6 million Americans annually. I think enough of us are aware of the problems, but many of us are not aware of the following simple FACT.

Nutrition and lifestyle can address many of the diseases and chronic conditions we face today.

 

 

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Dr. Michael Greger, Author of “How Not to Die’

 

Lauroly Q- Welcome Dr. Greger! So honored to have you join me. I think the best place to start is to share the following paragraph from your book and then let you tell us why we are dealing with such a health epidemic in this country. In a nutshell of course! Everyone who hasn’t read your book will definitely be reading it now.

 

“The one unifying diet found to best prevent and treat many of the chronic diseases is a whole food, plant-based diet, defined as an eating pattern that encourages the consumption of unrefined plant foods and discourages meat, dairy products, eggs and processed foods. In this book I don’t advocate for a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet. I advocate for an evidence based diet. Most doctor’s visits are for lifestyle based diseases which means they are preventable diseases.”

 

Dr. Michael Greger: Thanks for asking me to join this important conversation, Laura. Yes, that quote you shared sums up the take-home message from “How Not to Die”.

Lauroly Q- The study of epigenetics is a hot new field of study that more Americans need to understand. You mention that people eat as if they are not going to live a long life. You hear it from many people who often say, “You only live once” and sometimes even glibly “I’m gonna die anyway”. Some people think they are doomed because of the gene lottery they have inherited. But they couldn’t be more misinformed right? Tell us why epigenetics matters and how the encouraging science and research behind it matters to us all…

Dr. Michael Greger: Great question. Epigenetics is a game-changer. Basically epigenetics is the study of how our lifestyle choices and our environment impact the expression of our genes. And what does that mean? It means our moms were right! We are what we eat! Seriously. We eat junk, and this can actually change our genes, making them misbehave and cause a domino effect of bad effects, including triggering heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer. The great news is, that even if we were dealt a lousy hand, we still have the power to use diet to reign in our genes and protect ourselves from premature disease and death.

Lauroly Q- I want to remind our readers how incredibly comprehensive your book is. You will find the ‘Why and the How’ clearly outlined for you in the book, and also receive an education on the cultural politics of food and medicine. You have a chapter called ‘Follow the Money’. Why hasn’t our society taken the proven research on reversing heart disease seriously, and why hasn’t the research crossed over to Public Policy?

Dr. Michael Greger: It’s hard for society to take this research seriously when they haven’t even been given the opportunity to hear about it. Patients don’t hear about it, because there’s no money to be made in recommending a plant-based diet. Furthermore, most doctors receive less than 5 hours of nutrition education during their entire 4 years in med school, so even when they know a plant-based diet is healthiest, they report that they feel unqualified to adequately counsel patients about plant-based eating. Given the saturation of the medical complex with big pharma and for-profit medicine, each of us, as individuals, are tasked with the responsibility of looking out for what’s best for us and our families. However, we are living in an exciting time, as doctors’ reimbursement is just starting to shift from fee-for-service to quality-based-outcomes, which means we are all going to need to learn about the impact of diet on chronic disease. Stay tuned!

Lauroly Q-  Your book covers all the chronic diseases and conditions –everything from heart disease to diabetes, to high blood pressure and various cancers. You present nutritional solutions to avoiding them and reversing them. I think the best takeaway is from an early chapter in your book, where simply put you say…”In general, the dividing line between health promoting and disease-promoting foods may be less plant versus animal sourced foods and more whole plant foods versus most everything else.” That’s pretty eye-opening…

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After everyone reads your book they will be thrilled to know you created a non-profit organization called NutritionFacts.org and its main mission is to educate us on nutrition by presenting the best science evidence based research. You won’t find a single advertiser from the pharma or dietary supplement world. It is pure information and science and there is no advertising. Hope this got everyone’s attention now! Dr. Greger, tell us more about your website and what you set out to achieve. 

 

Dr. Michael Greger: Thanks for asking about my site, NutritionFacts.org, Laura! Well, whenever there is a new drug or surgical procedure, you can be assured that you or your doctor will probably hear about it because there’s a corporate budget driving its promotion. But what about advances in the field of nutrition? The reason we don’t see ads on TV for broccoli is the same reason groundbreaking research on the power of foods and eating patterns to affect our health and longevity gets lost and buried in the medical literature–as we discussed above, there’s no profit motive. It may not make anyone money, but what if our lives would profit?

Did you know a whole-food, plant-based diet is proven to not only prevent and treat but reverse our #1 killer, heart disease, along with other deadly diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure? Yet since doctors get little if any formal nutrition training in medical school, graduating without some of the most powerful tools available to stop the chronic diseases that remain our leading causes of death and disability. The goal of NutritionFacts.org is to present you and your doctor with the results of the latest peer-reviewed nutrition and health research, presented in a way that is easy to understand.

Lauroly Closing: We have to cut through the marketing din, so more people have access to scientific, evidence based nutrition information. Your non-profit website is so valuable and needed. Thanks again for joining me Dr. Greger, and thank you for showing us exactly how we don’t have to die, of anything but old age. I would add as long as we also wear our seat belts! 😉

Dr. Greger Closing: As a public health expert, I couldn’t agree with you more about the seat belts, Laura! Actually seat belts and nutrition are similar in a way. If we speed, text while driving, and don’t wear our seat belts, we are statistically unlikely to live long healthy lives. Nutrition is the same. If we miss out on the “seat belt of nutrition” (a plant-based diet), we place ourselves in grave danger of premature death and disease. So let’s hear it for seat belts and kale!

 

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For Your Pleasure…WWB’s Healthy Epicurean Found a Sweet & Healthy Confection Recipe for Valentine’s Day

Feb 13, 2016 by

It’s Valentines Day weekend and the fun thing about this holiday is we get to focus on all things sweet. Not just candy but sentiment as well. I happen to think Valentines Day is one holiday worth celebrating because it opens the door for more affection, and gives us permission to be sweet in this cynical society we are living in. So, when I came across this recipe with a title ‘Love is Real’, I just had to take a look. And what I did I find at La Pêche Fraîche? A wonderful excerpt from the ‘Velveteen Rabbit’. I was so charmed by the blog producers approach to sharing her recipe along with lovely words from the author Margery Williams. Enjoy her prose especially if you haven’t picked up a children’s book in a long time. Wisdom from children’s books  is timeless, and as adults it is fun to revisit them and think about the meaningful messages they impart. Find the excerpt below and check out the beautiful sweet recipe for your Valentine’s Day weekend. Continue on to her blog and enjoy more beautiful deep words on love and life as well as gorgeous photos of this sweet tart. Because in ‘real life’ a little sweetness is welcome and can be good for the heart and soul. Wishing you lotsa of love this Valentines Day and always…

 

 

 

 

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?” “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.” “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?” “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

—The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

 

Fig, Rosemary, and Lemon Tart
makes 1 8-inch tart

for the rosemary-brown sugar pastry:
180 grams (1 1/2 cups) flour
30 grams (1/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
50 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
130 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) butter
1 egg
Whisk together 180g (1 1/2 cups) flour, 60g (1/2 cup) confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cut in 130g (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) butter and whisk in an egg. Press into a tart pan and freeze. Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Fill cooled shell with lemon cream: beat 130g (10 ounces) cream cheese with 90g (3/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar, the juice and zest of one lemon, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Top with fresh, ripe fruit!

for the lemon cream:
130 grams (10 ounces) cream cheese
90 grams (3/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
juice and zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

to assemble:
8-9 ripe figs, sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon apricot jam (optional)

directions:
Grease an 8-inch tart pan and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the crust: whisk together flour, confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar, rosemary, and kosher salt.
Cut in the butter and whisk in the egg.
Knead lightly until dough comes together but is still slightly crumbly.
Press into prepared pan, prick all over with a fork, and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Weight with pie weights and parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.
Allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the lemon cream: whip cream cheese with confectioner’s sugar for 2 minutes until fluffy.
Add in the lemon zest, juice, and salt, and whip for 3 more minutes.
Fill cooled shell and chill for 15 minutes, until partially set.
Top with sliced figs or other fruit (berries, plums, candied citrus) and a brush of heated apricot jam for shine and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until completely set.
Serve chilled (cut with a hot, sharp knife)

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‘Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat’ and the New Paleo-Chic Diet for the Modern Woman

Mar 20, 2014 by

Healthy Epicurean Featured Book:  Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat

Author:  Esther Blum is a registered dietitian, holistic nutritionist, and author of Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat Eat, Drink, and Be GorgeousSecrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project.

Voted best nutritionist by Manhattan Magazine, Esther has appeared on the Today Show, FOX-5 News, ABC-TV, and Good Day NY. She is frequently quoted in Time Magazine, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, In Style, Martha Stewart Weddings, Bazaar, Self, Fitness, Marie Claire,  Cosmo, and last but not least World Wise Beauty!

*See my first interview with Esther discussing her last book  ‘The Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous Project’ in the  “Gleam’ department of this blog .

 

 

 

 

Lauroly Opening: I am thrilled to be back at this table with Esther Blum—wait this is not the Charlie Rose show its World Wise Beauty! But truth be told, I believe Esther belongs at Charlie’s table talking about wellness lifestyle for the modern woman. What I am really saying is Esther is smart—I mean really smart, and while her book covers are fun with catchy titles, the content of her books are extremely wise, comprehensive and educational. Didn’t have time to get a degree in nutrition or pour over hundreds of health books like I did most of my life? No worries because Esther’s books are a crash course in integrative nutrition, wellness lifestyle, and more. We can’t possibly know everything and this is why it is wonderful when experts like Esther write books for us.

I have read a lot of health books (not so much diet’ books) and I have never come across a book so comprehensive (without it being dry and boring) and entertaining at the same time. I became savvy about health and wellness through life experience with sick parents and managing my own issues which stemmed ironically from being a bad vegetarian. Good intentions but sloppy execution! Bad carbs (and there are good ones) became my enemy and I believe triggered other annoying conditions which have since been resolved. I am now what they call today a ‘pescetarian for over twenty years.  But maybe I am really a ‘cavewoman’!

Some of you will see Paleo and think “oh this is another Atkins protein driven diet book”.  It couldn’t be further from the truth—but let’s find out by talking to Esther today and discovering what a Paleo Chic diet really is…

Lauroly Q- Welcome back Esther! There is so much I would love to cover from you new book ‘Cave Women Don’t Get Fat’ but I am going to try to distill from you the big takeaways and let our readers go out and purchase your book. I call it a health book but I guess it is a diet book because you do share step by step ‘protocols’ to get up to speed with your ‘cavewoman’ diet.  I know there are many who want to lose weight so  why don’t you tell us what the core principles are of the Paleo chic diet are and what the diet is not…

Esther Blum, Author of ‘Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat’

 

Esther Blum: Glad to be back at the “WWB table” with you Laura! The Paleo Chic diet is all about finding your unique carb tolerance. Many women follow a very low-carb diet only to find out that their fat loss efforts stop dead in their tracks. Each of us has our own unique carb tolerance. I like to reset the metabolism by clearing out refined carbohydrates for two weeks and slowly reintroduce 1 starch serving at a time from a sweet potato, spaghetti squash, or winter squash. In doing so, you can figure out how many carbs you can eat and still lose body fat. I try and put the responsibility into my readers’ hands and say, “Figure out what works for you. Here is the litmus test, here is the template; now custom tailor it to YOU and your unique needs.”

My Paleo Chic plan is NOT about counting calories, measuring portions of food, or obsessively exercising. It’s about reconnecting with your body, getting back in touch with your hunger, improving your energy levels, detoxing, and balancing your hormones. You can go back to the land and clear out your metabolic clutter by eating lots of protein (wild Alaskan salmon and wild-caught fish, pastured meats, and eggs)- quality fats (avocado, raw nuts/seeds, coconut, butter, olive oil), fruits & vegetables.

Then gradually add in starch servings (as you can handle them) in the form of roots and tubers, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichokes, and winter squash. Because they are low in sugar and carbs and gluten-free, they do not disrupt the metabolism.

Keep in mind, as we head into perimenopause and menopause, our body’s ability to handle carbohydrates decreases even further, so we have to be mindful of the quality and quantity of carbs we put in our bodies.

Lauroly Q- I mentioned in my opening about my being a ‘bad vegetarian’. An overabundance of the wrong kind of carbs was the problem for me. It takes work to be a good vegetarian and I was business traveling too much to manage it well. But in reality our entire society has experienced the same problem because of processed food manufacturing and the modern fast-food diet particularly high in carbs. A big part of your book focuses on helping us to understand carbs, protein and the importance of the correct ratio of the two in our diets. As you emphasize, the Paleo Chic diet is not about counting calories but it is about understanding how our bodies are designed to function well and thrive if we take care of it. Tell us more about clean eating and why it is so important to get this right…

Esther Blum: On the Paleo Chic plan, you’ll eat plenty of protein, fats, fruits, and vegetables from actual food sources. This means you’ll be caring for your body with whole, unadulterated foods that won’t wreck your days with the highs and lows of blood sugar swings and cravings. And it also means you’ll be the mistress of your own domain. Say buh-bye to a body run on junk foods and hello to a lean, curvy body fueled by clean eating!

Get to know how good you can feel when your cortisol, leptin, estrogen, and progesterone levels are in sync. You won’t realize how bad you felt until you see how good you can actually feel, every day of your life.  Every client who comes to me says, “I eat so healthy, but I don’t understand why I’m not losing weight.” Your diet may indeed be healthy, but either it’s no longer working for you or it’s not the right regimen your body needs to achieve desired results. You can’t expect any results from exercising for an hour every day if you eat poorly. That’s asking your body to do something it’s just not capable of doing.

Here’s your Cavewoman Mantra: Every bite of food you eat either puts you in a fat-burning state or a fat-storing state. Which one would you prefer?

Lauroly Q- I think of our body like a symphony orchestra with a large ensemble of instrumental players all working together to play a beautiful piece of music. Others might compare our bodies to a car because it too relies on ‘many parts’ working together to run efficiently and is also reliant upon fuel. What I love about your book is you cover the whole body system and all the ‘players’ that collaborate and work together in our body. When we talk about nutrition and diet, we have to understand chemistry, one of the key ‘players’ in our body’s system. This is a big subject in itself but you cover it so ‘efficiently” and well in your book. Let’s talk about stress, insulin, hormones and how they all interact with each other.

Esther Blum: When it comes to our bodies, hormones can be a girl’s best friend or her worst enemy. Left unchecked, things can get pretty unbalanced and drive our bodies haywire. But if you manage your hormones properly, they will give you the gift of health, a gorgeous body, and a damn good life. Hormones are biochemical messengers produced by the endocrine organs that control bodily functions like growth, sexual development and reproduction, weight control, fat burning, muscle development, stress, and sleep. The biochemistry of hormones can get a bit complicated, so let me give you the takeaway of what you need to know today in order to see changes in your body. If you don’t watch what you’re eating and control your stress, you will not see changes in your body. It’s that simple. So make sure you’re eating plenty of protein, quality fats, and fibrous vegetables and fruits at every meal.

Exercise smarter and manage your stress. Chronic stress that leaves the stress hormone cortisol pumping through our veins will only help our bodies pack on belly fat and catabolize our muscle tissue. So stress management is crucial. Left unchecked, cortisol also eats up our memory, weakens our bones, interferes with our sleep, and fries out our immune system. So keep it simple, ladies—eat, move, relax, sleep, repeat.

Once you balance out your blood sugar and chillax, then the needle can move with your body shifts. An overstressed body has lower thyroid function and tired adrenals; a balanced body is happy, lean, and energized.

Lauroly Q- Chillax—I love it! Besides all the complex chemistry going on naturally in our own bodies we also have chemicals injected into our chemistry unknowingly. What I really like in your book “Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat” is how you cover modern lifestyle– from household products, to cosmetics, to technology. The fact is there’s so much coming at us in our modern lifestyle that we need to be living in a bubble to avoid them! What are a few important things we can do today to combat the potentially damaging chemicals we are exposed to?

Esther Blum:

  • Eat fewer canned foods. Opt for fresh or frozen meats, vegetables, and fruits. Chicken and tuna are available in BPA-free pouches. Get rid of your nonstick cookware and opt for chemically inert cookware. Stock your kitchen with enamel-coated cast iron, stainless steel, glass, clay, or an old-fashioned cast iron pots, pans, and baking dishes.
  • Use glass and aluminum storage containers and drinking bottles. Steer clear of plastic dinnerware, drinking bottles, and storage containers with the number 3 or 7 on the bottom, which may leach BPA. Instead look for the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, which are unlikely to contain BPA.
  • Filter your drinking water through a pitcher with a carbon filter or install one on your faucets. The gold standard for water filters is a reverse osmosis filter, but a PUR or Brita are still very helpful.
  • Use organic skincare, makeup, and deodorant to decrease your exposure to hormonal disruptors and toxins. Dab yourself with essential oils instead of perfumes.

 Lauroly Closing: Thank you so much for joining us again at World Wise Beauty Esther. You can tell I am a big fan of your work!  Anytime I see an expert who is very wise, relates well to people and can entertain my antennas go up way high. ‘Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat’ is a must read for anyone interested in being their ‘best gorgeously healthy’ selves. 

I encourage all my readers to go ahead and get in touch with your ‘inner cavewoman’ which means essentially “eat to live’. You can tweak many of the suggestions you find in her book to fit your individual biology as well as your lifestyle.  For more on Esther Blum sign up for her FREE tips on Living Gorgeously at www.livinggorgeous.com.  While you’re there, be sure to visit her online store for some amazing swag!  You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LivingGorgeous and on Twitter @Esther Blum. And keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming 8-week online Paleo Chic Project, which launches on May 13, as well as her monthly membership program, Club Gorgeous.

Note: World Wise Beauty believes in bio-individuality and respecting an individuals values when it comes to their health. It is up to each of us to find the best diets for our own health and our own values.  I like to present options and the best experts available in wellness culture to help you do that.  The goal at WWB is to be wise and comfortable in our own skin.  Always be your own guru when it comes to your health!

Truly Herself,
Lauroly 

 

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