The health benefits of the Greek diet are well-known, but many of us forget that there are a few key components in addition to the foods we eat that factor into that healthy lifestyle, including social interaction and moderate exercise, that originated in the Greek villages. Slow Life Diet: Greek Village Living – The Pathway to a Healthier Lifestyle, Healthy Habits, and a Happier You by Stratis Kamatsos offers insights not only to help readers eat healthier, but also live longer and happier lives.
The pace of life in the Greek village setting is highlighted through Kamatsos’ personal story and specifically in the life lessons taught by his yiayia. He shares her daily routine and the ways the healthy habits that are so essential to the village culture but can be applied to life anywhere. “This all comes down to all-encompassing idea of ‘Siga Siga,’ which literally means ‘slowly, slowly’, but emblematically means to take a deep breath, embrace the moment, practice self-caring, and exhale,” Kamatsos notes in the book.
He encourages readers to gradually make small changes that will eventually lead to positive results for health and well-being. This is not a radical, fad diet that might help you lose a few pounds only to regain them after returning to old habits, this is a guide to taking those first small steps that lead to real change for a lifetime of making healthy choices.
The book is easy to read and showcases the way of life in the Greek village that many Greeks of the diaspora will recognize from summers visiting our relatives. Kamatsos was born and raised in the U.S. but spent summers in Lesvos with his parents and siblings. “I would be immersed in rich, village culture, going back to the roots, steeped in history and tradition,” he writes. “And this immersion and the building of these foundational habits did not stop when we departed Lesvos; these were also incorporated in our lives even back in the States becoming even more intertwined in our upbringing.”
Kamatsos is a U.S. and UK attorney who made a significant career change as a social entrepreneur. His plan was to find a balance between honoring his family and their traditions, creating something of value and to give back to his community and environment. To achieve these goals he established a company, evo3 Olive Farms, www.evo3oliveoil.com, based on their product, olive oil, farmed by three generations in his family.
Originating from the Greek island of Lesvos, Kamatsos’ company and product have won many awards, including taste and branding awards for the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of evo3 Olive Farms. The CSR that underlies evo3 olive farms’ efforts is that for every product sold, a tree is planted in a deforested area in Africa and Haiti putting planet over profit. So far, the company has planted more than 40,000 trees through their partners and have created 400 workdays for the locals who plant these trees.
Kamatsos is also a TEDx speaker. His talk focused on creating a business based on social value rather than only financial value. Video of the talk is available online, the original language is Greek, so English speakers should turn on the subtitles: https://bit.ly/3b3JHAI.
Slow Life Diet: Greek Village Living – The Pathway to a Healthier Lifestyle, Healthy Habits, and a Happier You by Stratis Kamatsos is available online.