There are two major lessons I picked up in Greece this year: slow down and eat well. We tend to overcomplicate both here in the US, in my opinion. Over in Greece, especially on the island of Hydra, life is boiled down to the simplest luxuries. We were married on Hydra in May and ended up spending a glorious 3 weeks over there. Our house provided us with a few simplicities: a very robust lemon tree and a cucumber garden. The housekeeper would bring us blocks of fresh feta cheese from the mainland and we would stop by the shops to pick up wild oregano that grows fresh on the slopes of the Hydra hills. We became addicted to the routine of eating crisp, fresh Greek salads. We had them at restaurants, we made them at our Hydra house and any American bloat that held on to our bodies fled quickly. I had extraordinary energy and digestion. My skin was glowing and I even felt that I began to put muscle on quicker. What is it about this one magical dish?
We came home and started substituting one meal a day with a greek salad. Some days for lunch, sometimes for dinner, and I woke up the next day feeling light on my feet. I swear for me it has been the ultimate diet game changer. And I don't mean diet like restrictive diet, I mean from a nutrient-dense diet standpoint.
- It's full of water. The cucumbers and tomatoes are water and nutrient dense. This keeps us full and hydrated but without going overboard on calories. I also read that Americans consume most of their antioxidants only from their COFFEE. That's pretty crazy right? These two ingredients right here will help rebalance that.
- Cucumbers are digestive gold. I've read recently that the seeds in cucumbers act as a parasite cleanser in the digestive tract. With all my travels this is a good thing to introduce regularly into my diet.
- Oregano Magic. What a glorious herb and one that I completely underutilized. I sprinkle dried oregano leaves into my dressing for the salad. It's been known to have both anti-inflammatory and debloating abilities. Sign me up!
- Olive oil for days. Because my digestion is quite Vata dominant in Ayurveda I thought cooking my veggies was the only way to go to help my digestion. Perhaps in the winter the warmth does help but this time of year the cold crispy vibe feels better to help cool excess Pitta (heat) in the body. It's all about listening to your gut, literally. What I'm also realizing is I was heating my olive oil with the veggies and consuming it that way. In this salad, the olive oil coats the veg in a pure way and lines my digestion enough to keep it all moving well. Plus, I have olive oil in my Mediterranean blood so it's only natural!
The Ultimate Greek Salad
(no lettuce please!)
2 cucumbers cut and diced
3 tomatoes cut and diced
1 avocado (ok this isn't really greek but I love adding it in)
1 block of feta cheese crumbled (I like buying the blocks of feta then crumbling. Less dry that way)
1/2 cup of olives
Optional: 1 hard boiled egg chopped up for extra protein
Equal parts Greek olive oil and red wine vinegar (I've found Greek olive oil from the store to be way thicker and better than say Italian olive oil. That's my preference. The olive oil in Greece was so thick it was incredible! Try Colavita's Greek Olive oil!)
1 tbs dried oregano
dash of salt and pepper
There you have it! Give it a try. I promise your body will thank you. More from Greece this week! I'm thinking I might just make this week Greek Week as a catch up. We are moving this week so I don't have much time for any creating and I have so much to share. x