My eating habits went off the rails when I moved to Canada back in the early 80’s. Growing up in London in a Greek/Cypriot household meant eating mostly beans, lentils, grains, fruits and vegetables. Of course, there was always olive oil and full-fat plain yoghurt. This style of eating, labeled the Mediterranean Diet now, has been sanctioned by some and damned by others as is the norm when it comes to the most confusing world of nutrition research.
Meat was a luxury, too expensive to eat on a regular basis for a large family with 5 kids. Apparently the same was said about lettuce. Let me explain. My dad was the salad maker in the house and pretty much every day we ate salad with our evening meal. This salad consisted of very thinly diced green cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery and cilantro. The dressing was olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Growing up in London and having British friends, I noticed that their salads were made with lettuce, well maybe a leaf or two not quite enough to call it a salad but you get the idea. I was curious, so I asked my dad why he didn’t use lettuce in the salad he made for us. He said in his thick Greek accent, “too expensive for big salad” .
I left it at that but continued the tradition and have since been delighted to learn about the incredible health benefits of the under appreciated cabbage. I have expanded my repertoire since then and included all varieties of cabbage prepared in numerous and delicious ways. Just for the record, I also use lettuce when I make a salad.
Which brings me back to how my diet went off the rails when I moved to Canada. I was surrounded by fast food restaurants, serving up burgers, pizza and fried chicken. It was a novelty that soon turned into a bad habit. Portions and serving sizes got larger, even when I was making healthier choices.
I fell victim to the addictive powers of salt, sugar, fat and empty calories engineered to keep you wanting to come back for more. So I found myself eating more and more of the same. And the inevitable happened. I gained weight, even though I was very active, it didn’t seem to help. I developed brain fog, I was drowsy, felt extremely tired and experienced numerous digestive issues.
I was young but I felt very old, physically and mentally. Something had to change, and because I did not connect my symptoms with my change in diet, I felt out of control. I felt like I had let myself down. How could this happen to me?
So I decided to go on a calorie reduced diet and cut out so called “bad” foods. A recipe for total disaster. Fad diets were all the rage in the 80’s. They still are today, they just have sciencey sounding names.
Because of my long time interest in health and nutrition, I finally made the connection and as the saying goes “when you know better you do better.” I also reconnected with my Cypriot roots and traditional ways of eating. I made changes in my life and became immersed in the world of nutrition. I went through extensive training and discovered some simple truths that changed everything for me.
My decision to pursue studies in Natural Nutrition and its impact on human health was born out of my passion for food and my own personal experiences of the power of healthy eating.
Now, my goal is to share my knowledge with others, about how to make the most of beautiful, simple foods and reap all the tremendous benefits they provide to the body, mind and soul.