`New Book Celebrates the Simplicity of the Mediterranean Diet - Olive Oil Times

New Book Celebrates the Simplicity of the Mediterranean Diet

By Costas Vasilopoulos
Feb. 19, 2021 08:22 UTC

A nutri­tion­ist and reg­is­tered dietit­ian with more than 20 years of expe­ri­ence, Elena Paravantes is known for her love of Mediterranean cui­sine.

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners is her new book aimed at pre­sent­ing the foun­da­tions and the unpre­ten­tious nature of the region’s renowned eat­ing regime.

It is not about com­pli­cated recipes and exotic ingre­di­ents. The back­bone of my diet – and the Mediterranean diet – is sea­sonal local veg­eta­bles or beans and extra vir­gin olive oil.- Elena Paravantes, author, The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners

With this book, I wanted to pro­vide an insid­er’s guide to the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle,” Paravantes told Olive Oil Times. It is packed with infor­ma­tion that will be use­ful to any­one who wants to fol­low an authen­tic Mediterranean diet,” she added.

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Born and raised in a Greek fam­ily, Paravantes had the chance to get a gen­uine grasp of the Mediterranean way of eat­ing. She nat­u­rally devel­oped a taste for authen­tic Greek-Mediterranean cui­sine.

I come from a fam­ily with a long tra­di­tion of olive oil pro­duc­tion, and I was raised on the Mediterranean diet both in Greece and the United States,” said Paravantes, who has writ­ten over 70 arti­cles for Olive Oil Times. My grand­par­ents and great-grand­par­ents lived way past their 90s fol­low­ing the tra­di­tional Greek-Mediterranean diet.”

Boasting 100 recipes and com­pre­hen­sive food lists, menu plans and cook­ing tech­niques, the book, avail­able on Amazon, reflects Paravantes’ first­hand expe­ri­ence with the Mediterranean-style eat­ing pat­tern.

The authen­tic Mediterranean diet is known for its sim­plic­ity,” Paravantes said. This nat­u­rally occur­ring way of eat­ing was based on the avail­able food and, with that in mind, I present the diet as close as pos­si­ble to the orig­i­nal way of eat­ing.”

The basis of the major­ity of recipes is veg­eta­bles and olive oil. Many times, we see this diet por­trayed with a series of com­plex recipes with numer­ous and exotic ingre­di­ents, when in fact this diet is based on sim­ple prepa­ra­tions,” the author noted.

A break­fast can be as sim­ple as a slice of bread, cheese and tomato,” she added. Of course, there are some spe­cial-occa­sion recipes that require a longer prepa­ra­tion time, but, gen­er­ally, this way of eat­ing is based on sim­ple but high-qual­ity ingre­di­ents.”

Paravantes went to great lengths to pur­sue the regime’s essen­tials to illus­trate a com­pre­hen­sive pic­ture of its sta­ple ingre­di­ents and cook­ing tech­niques.

Her endeavor required research that involved inter­views with sci­en­tists, res­i­dents of the Mediterranean basin, and elders who fol­low the diet.

It was impor­tant for me to reflect their habits as closely as pos­si­ble, but also in a real­is­tic way that any­one can fol­low them from any part of the world,“ she said.

Some research ques­tions related to the prac­tice of drink­ing antiox­i­dant herbal tea every day regard­less of the sea­son,” she added. This is an impor­tant prac­tice that stud­ies have shown con­tributes to the health ben­e­fits of the diet. Another inter­est­ing prac­tice was the intake and for­ag­ing of greens and how these were pre­pared.”

At the same time, Paravantes had the oppor­tu­nity to clar­ify the false per­cep­tions and beliefs exist­ing in the field, some­thing that has dis­tressed her ever since she entered the domain of nutri­tion and dietet­ics.

Throughout my career, I noticed plenty of mis­in­for­ma­tion float­ing around about the Mediterranean diet and olive oil,” she said.


Elena Paravantes

I wanted to clear up the mis­con­cep­tions about the diet I grew up on,” she added. As a nutri­tion­ist and a long­time mag­a­zine writer and edi­tor, I made sure that the Mediterranean diet was por­trayed cor­rectly.”

Paravantes also had a say about the broader con­text of the diet. She rec­og­nizes that, aside from con­sum­ing healthy food, the regime involves a com­plete life pos­ture, includ­ing triv­ial yet impor­tant things.

The Mediterranean diet may be called a diet, but it is actu­ally a lifestyle that pro­motes longevity,” Paravantes said.

Apart from the food, we know that sev­eral lifestyle prac­tices also con­tribute to a sense of well­ness as well as longevity,” she added. Practices such as naps, con­vivi­al­ity, every­day social inter­ac­tions and hav­ing a sense of pur­pose are out­lined in the book with tips on how one can incor­po­rate these prac­tices in their own lives.”

My phi­los­o­phy and way of eat­ing are based on the sim­plic­ity of the Mediterranean diet,” Paravantes con­tin­ued. It is not about com­pli­cated recipes and exotic ingre­di­ents. My diet’s back­bone – and the Mediterranean diet – is sea­sonal local veg­eta­bles or beans and extra vir­gin olive oil.”

I build my meal around those two ingre­di­ents and accom­pany it with bread and cheese,” she con­cluded. It is that sim­ple.”


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