I think everybody has heard about Ikaria and its diet. All the newspaper are calling this tiny place the the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die. Certainly, I was curious about what make this island unique in terms of its people being so healthy and living for so long with a good quality of life. What I found reading many websites is a diet low in refined products, high local production, good amount of exercise and very close to the diet that our Grandparents used to have. What is that?
1) They eat a lot of "green" every day (antioxidants). Either in salad or boiled with lemon and olive oil drops. Chard, spinach, kale, and other antioxidants.
2) Tea from many local herbs such as wild mint, chamomile, sage, linden flowers and other herbs. The tea lowers blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease and dementia.
3) Goat milk products are used. These products are rich in a hormone called tryptophan which is use not only to lower blood pressure, but also because its antibacterial effects.
4) Walk. The practice of walking makes every trip a mini exercise.
5) There is a strong social connections (even with gossip!), and it was found that "human contact" lower depression, mortality, and even weight.
6) Nap. It is known that it reduces stress, which reduces the risk of everything from arthritis to wrinkles. Science shows that a 30 minute nap routine reduces the risk of heart attack.
7) Mediterranean diet ingredients such as whole grains especially chickpeas, olive oil and fish (Omega - 3). The fruits and vegetables are cultivated in their own gardens, and consumed immediately after harvest. In addition, residents add extra virgin olive oil on top of the food after cooking, which preserves the healthful properties of it that are destroyed by the heat. Also, their diet has not more than 5% of meat.
9) Honey: Local honey has antibacterial, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties
Following this guidance, and because we love green leaves, I have made a green leaves pie with a home made phyllo dough. This dough has its challenges, and even though was not perfect this first time, I will repeat it until it gets better.
Green Leaves Pie with a Home Made Phyllo Dough
4 cups of all purpose flour
4 tablespoons of white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Hot water (necessary)
In a bowl, mic flour with salt, and add vinegar. Mix it well. Add the hot water until you have a smooth and not sticky dough. You can use your roll pin, but I used my pasta machine. Pass from #1 until the finest number possible. Cover this dough because as the frozen phyllo, it tends to get dry. Place it immediately on the pan that you are going to use. Brush it with olive oil between the layers. Once you have the layers you want, place the filling.
300 grams of baby spinach
1 bunch of swiss chard
1 bunch of kale
1 bunch of green onions scallions
1 bunch of parsley
2 garlic cloves
100 grams of feta cheese
Wash the greens, chop them and set aside. In a pan, heat olive oil and add the chop garlic cloves. Add the green leaves, and cook them half-cooked. Let it cool. Add the fennel, oregano, parsley, scallions, feta cheese and egg. Mix it well.
Cover with more layers of phyllo, and cook it in a preheated oven at 375F for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. ENJOY!
What else can you try with chickpeas? These absolutely amazing Croquetas de garbanzos y queso / Revizokeftedes from Jose Antonio....Thank you Jose Antonio!!
And this wonderful creamy velvety Chickpea Soup with Fennel and Leek from Magda....It is fantastic!....Thank you Magda!