All posts filed under: wellness

picky toddler: greek foods that don’t go to the dog

My dear friend A, who lived on a Greek island for 20 years, where daily she tended a fabulous fruit and vegetable garden so skillfully that we named her Lara Crop, left it all behind to move to the US. One day, beyond disbelief, she Skyped me to tearfully announce that lemons there cost a dollar apiece and were all GMO. It was then that I was struck with the realization that despite the crappy crisis and many other problematic issues in this country, we are at least fortunate enough to live in a place where neighbours with country houses will actually try to force bags of garden-grown, organic lemons on you so they don’t have to watch them rot in a pile. Here, we are still lucky enough (but for how long, I don’t know) to have access to rich varieties of non-GMO, healthy and delectable, locally-grown foods; saying that, the majority of fruit & veg is heavily sprayed so one has to seek out the organically grown stuff, and even then there’s the issue …

the greek model

By Adrian Vrettos I LOVE the ancient Greek female form – in whatever modern shape it now appears in around the streets of Athens. It offers a lengthy visual delight for modern-ancient Greek males, including myself; especially in spring. Most of my friends prefer long, thin, almost boyish-looking women such as can also be viewed in showcases at the Museum of Cycladic Art. Other friends prefer large-breasted, hippy women with narrow waists that can be seen, among other places, at the museum in Knossos, where they are also usually armed with a couple of snakes. Some friends have a preference for the buxom, fleshy, well-rounded female form such as those found draped in marble cloaks at the National Archaeological Museum. Inspired by my scientific training, I decided to classify these shapes. After hours of painstaking investigation at the Benaki Museum and The Clumsies bar, I have drawn up a new classification system: it’s called Modelism. And it comes with categories such as Pre-Modelism, Late Pre-Modelism, and Post-Modelism. Somewhat befuddled? Allow me: since in Greek pre-history there was no Internet, high-circulating magazines or TV, …

a positive mentaleaty

In the somewhat edgy, yet lively and up-and-coming neighbourhood of Kerameikos, as you walk past a scattering of cozy, youth-filled cafes and bars, you’ll arrive at a restaurant with the curious name Mentaleaty Asian Food Therapy. Created by the Athina-Elipis social cooperative that started in 2011, bolstered by European Union funding, Mentaleaty offers employment opportunities to individuals with severe mental health issues as well as offering all profits toward their care. “A group of us started the Athina-Elpis social cooperative in 2011,” says psychologist Effie Koutsi. “The objective was to provide good employment opportunities to individuals who otherwise have little or no chance of earning their own money and getting social benefits, and to help them integrate socially. We started by running a cleaning service for public and private businesses and organisations. After that we ran a small photocopy shop in a clinic for people with Alzheimer’s, and next a small café. Mentaleaty is our most recent project, opening at the start of 2016”. The team opted for Asian cuisine in order to stand out …

lighting up the stars

Osteopath and holistic therapist Vicky Vlachonis stays true to her Greek roots, dynamically advocating holistic practices ancient and new and changing lives via her book, talks & 1-on-1 sessions. “Everybody has pain. We’ve all felt pain in our heart, stomach, shoulder, head” says Vicky Vlachonis, author of the book ‘The Body Doesn’t Lie’ and osteopath to the sparkliest stars in the Hollywood sky. “Pain is the most powerful tool we have, if only we listen to the signals our body gives us. That’s why I wrote the book and have offered a three-step, pain-free program based on Reflect, Release and Radiate.” When we meet, Vicky is tanned after her Greek island family holiday, and positively radiant – clearly she practices what she preaches. It’s been over 20 years since I last saw her at our school, where I remember her as a very sporty, vibrant and charming teenager. I am excited that she has forged such an energetic path in my favorite area of all – holistic wellness, helping thousands of people awaken to the …

marina’s mindfulness maze

Upon entering the As One experiential event premises in the Benaki Museum Pireos St Annexe, I’m handed a locker key and asked to put away any technology used for timekeeping or outer communication (phone – optional). Being the mum of a toddler this is quite challenging to do. Next starts a walk through a series of rooms separated by curtains, in each of which a black-clad volunteer guides participants through exercises for shaking off the outside world, stretching, breathing, opening up (lungs, muscles, mind), creating flexibility. Participants are then shown to a large table covered in black headphone sets and invited to take one. The moment I put them on I am immersed in complete silence as if plunging deep underwater, and as I turn the corner along the wide corridor leading into the main hall where all the mindfulness exercises take place, it looks more like a performance art piece that enhances my light-headed feeling of surrealism. At the same time, somewhere inside me is the blissful sense of connecting to somethin new – an idea? a possible reality? – that …

lush living in the peloponnese

WITHIN just over two hours drive from Athens, we zip past the seaside town of Akrata and start ascending the curvy mountain roads, past villages that it takes just minutes to drive in and out of. The landscape is breathtaking, with a massive, imposing mountain wall on one side, cobalt blue sea on another, and lush vegetation growing all around. With our windows rolled down on this gloriously warm, early May day, the sweet smells of grass and leaves wet by flowing spring water, bright aromatic flowers and pungent herbs, pour through our windows in an intoxicating wave. As we reach the 3000 year-old village of Seliana, we follow detailed directions until we come to a picturesque old church with a large plain tree and swings next to it, then spotting Re-Green’s unassuming entrance – a stone-built, square Mycenaean-style archway (a reference to the finds excavated on the land there). As we park we are greeted by Flery Fotiadou, who runs the place with her partner Christos Alexiou, and who waves us in with a dazzling smile. “Are you hungry?” she calls out, “we’ve just started lunch!” …

it’s kale-tastyc!

PRODUCT REVIEW ADMITTEDLY I’m already into health foods, thus I don’t need to be converted. I’m also very open minded and experimental when it comes to trying new foods, as long as it’s not the live red ant curry I was offered in the Cambodian countryside or the squelchy cooked lamb’s brains I almost passed out watching someone else noisily suck out of the poor animal’s skull. So this isn’t a post about someone who suddenly discovers the amazing attributes of a vegetable she previously considered healthy but nondescript; in fact, when I heard that Troo Food Liberation (TFL), a cooking & raw/vegan awareness-raising team I’ve been a big fan of for years now, had produced their own Kale Chips, I was excited to try them out.    My love of healthy, bio, ethical foods and years of self-experimentation with the effects and energies of foods, as well as my job as a journalist, at some point naturally led me to hooking up with the Troo Food team, who are unique in what they do in Greece, as well …

bio-diversity in the pantry

OVER the years I have become increasingly fascinated by the effect of foods on my organism, and deeply committed to eating right, opting for fresh, seasonal produce, mainly vegetarian, chiefly locally sourced and ethically grown, which offers my body clean, high-nutrient fuel. I found that once I started eating this way, not only was I contributing to a kinder, more compassionate way of life that supported local farmers and food producers, but also making the most of my eating experiences by really getting the most nutritious value out of what I was eating. Once I started consciously cutting out all the foods that are filled with preservatives, GMO ingredients and the ugly cost of involving animal abuse or human slavery (today that unfortunately defines the majority of corporation-produced foods you’ll find in your local store, anywhere in the world), it was fascinating to see the way my body responded  by thanking me – offering better energy, better quality of sleep, better digestion,  and guiding me to choose some foods over others. It started to react immediately to chemically-laden rubbish foods and drinks …

Sound vibrations and waves

healing with sound

IMAGINE yourself receiving a deeply comforting, relaxing treatment on the massage table, and then, while you’re still floating in that dreamy rainbow-coloured bubble of pampering bliss, add the magical sound of crystal singing bowls, an angelic female voice and the sound of an ancient string instrument designed by Pythagoras, as waves and vibrations of sound flow up and down your body like the waves of the sea do when you bask on the shore. Welcome to the millennia-old practice of vibrational sound healing. As someone who is a great fan both of alternative therapies and the world of sound  – from natural to hyper-produced – I was most excited to try out a session, and was fortunate to find Sound and Energy healing therapist Kristina Alicia, whose clients (especially the creative types who experience ‘blocks’ and need to reawaken their awareness and sharpen their focus), rave about her work. I had no idea what to expect, but being a new mother with an aching body and a sometimes alarmingly sleep-deprived brain, I was more than open and …

greece’s iyengar girl

YOGA has become a hip, beloved and popular form of exercise in Athens by now, although even as recently as 20 years ago, when Greeks were considerably more conservative and less (other)worldly, yoga was regarded with dire suspicion: often, it was considered to be some kind of weird practice that could brainwash you into leaving your honourary, pre-ordained state of Greek Orthodoxy to become a raving, chanting Buddhist overnight. As yoga classes began to draw at first the very alternative, then the mildly experimental, next the trend- as well as health-conscious, and eventually every type of person, it became an ordinary part of Greek life. As with all great things, when they become widely available and in all forms, it’s imperative for one to diligently search through the many options in order to discover what’s most suitable, and above all most beneficial, instead of risking injuries, incorrect learning and basically, wasting time, energy and money on something that offers none or only few of yoga’s real benefits. Today there are so many yoga schools and classes in Athens and around Greece that I’ve lost count, and …