Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WOMEN IN WELLNESS: NAFSIKA ANTYPAS

Today I'm honored to introduce to you Nafsika Antypas, TV Host and creator of the world's first vegan living series, Plant-Based by Nafsika.

In her twenty years of working as Marketing Director at her father's food importing business, Pilaros Inc., Nafsika has studied about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. She was trained in Greece by one of the largest European food companies in order to become an “olive oil expert”, and has educated the public since then through newspaper articles, magazines and TV interviews, and has also participated in and coordinated several food recipe segments on National TV networks. Moreover, she has been involved in the recipe selections of olive oil branded cookbooks and TV advertising and materials. 

However, the world is moving toward a plant-based diet and Nafsika, a vegan herself, soon came to realize that not only would this be considered a diet, but a lifestyle as well. Enter, “Plant-based, By Nafsika,” a show all about living a healthy and fun lifestyle, influenced by the beautiful Mediterranean.

But her small contribution to the world does not stop there. Nafsika has designed a personal safety app and security system called, uAlert, which is a true emergency response system that uses your phone’s gps to locate you and, when you raise an alert, sends help your way. Nafsika also runs a non-profit organization, People Against Violence Org. of which she is Founder and CEO, and is also the founder/owner of vegan resource and counselling company, The Struggling Vegan.

Being a mother of two, Nafsika loves to cook and experiment at home and educate just about anyone who would listen about why it’s healthier to switch to a plant-based diet, which to her, is not really a diet, but simply a way of life.

Your food philosophy
As the great Greek philosopher, Hippocrates used to say, "Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." It's so important to recognize the importance of good nutrition. Not only will it help you stay healthy, but prevent or even cure disease. 

Daily breakfast
In my home, we start the day with a fresh fruit smoothie. (Usually banana, strawberries, blueberries, with unsweetened almond milk.) If there's time, I will have oatmeal cereal with maple syrup as well. Since mornings are always hectic in any household, a morning smoothie is so ideal and at the same time, the healthiest choice.

Morning ritual
Wake up the kids, make everyone's smoothie (usually 2 different kinds), pack the kids' lunches (usually home-made leftovers from the day before), dress everyone and then myself, load everyone in the car and off to school and work! I don't wear make-up or style my hair (unless I'm going an event) so we're literally out of the house within 40 minutes.

Go-to juice or smoothie
I will always start with the basic: strawberries, bananas and almond milk as the base, then just add whatever I happen to have in the kitchen.

What supplements do you take
I have a vegan vegetable protein powder that I like to add to my daily smoothies- but not every day.

Your favorite kitchen tool
My blender! I'm always sneaking in extra vegetables in my recipes.

5 pantry staples
Lentils, mixed beans mix, brown rice, can of peeled tomatoes, herbs & spices 

Favorite thing to cook for friends
My famous pasta and vegan meat sauce.

Favorite way to workout
Swimming is by far the best form of exercise because it does not put any strain on your body and works out just about every muscle. If I can't make it to the pool, my Dip and Leg Raise machine allows me to do body weight exercises that targets the upper body while straightening my back. I really love it.
Favorite thing to wear
I love to be comfortable. A pair of jeans and a fitted t-shirt is how usually leave the house. 

Favorite place you've traveled to
I absolutely love Europe, and I've been to several countries. Greece is probably my favorite country to visit since I'm from there but I also really love Italy. 

Where would you love to travel
I have yet to go to Spain and that is definitely on my list of places to go.

Your favorite healthy place in your city?
Any juice bar, I can't pick just one- they are all great.

One piece of health advice
My advice to anyone is to follow a plant-based diet (generally vegan), but do not put too much pressure on yourself. As soon as you start to see the feel the results, you will not want to go back to your old eating habits. 

Healthy recipe to share
Spanakorizo (click for the recipe) (Spinach and Rice, Greek-style)

Spanakorizo (Greek-Style Spinach & Rice)


Today's recipe comes from Nafsika Antypas who's vegan lifestyle show Plant-Based by Nafsika airs on A&E this July. I'm super excited to see all the interviews and cooking demonstrations that are 100% plant-powered! Vegan lifestyle is here to stay, as some of you already know, this is just one more sign of that. Read out more about the show here. Nafsika is sharing delicious Greek-style spinach and rice recipe that takes just about 30 mins to make so it's perfect for those days when you don't feel like spending too much time in the kitchen.


Spanakorizo 

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20-25 mins 

Ingredients:

- 3 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) 
- 1 cup water, pre-boiled 
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped 
- 1/2 leek, chopped 
- 1 carrot, chopped 
- 1/2 cup wholegrain rice 
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce 
- 1 lemon 
- sea salt 
- pepper 
- oregano 
vegan greek food
Pour a generous amount of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, at least 3 tbsp) over low heat in a large pot.

Add in the chopped carrot, leek and garlic, and rice. Add in a few dashes of salt, pepper and oregano. Simmer for a couple of minutes while you rinse the fresh spinach.


vegan greek food

Add in the spinach and enough water (preferably pre-boiled) to cover half the spinach. (The water will later get absorbed.) Finally, add in 3 tbsp of tomato sauce (or pureed tomato). 


Bring to a boil and then lower heat to low-medium. Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, stirring more frequently towards to end.

vegan greek food
Squeeze some lemon over your dish before serving.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Raw Mint Chocolate Cake

 I love cake and eat it too! There were days in my life when I would eat a whole Pepperidge Farm 3-layer Chocolate Fudge cake in a day by myself. Mmmm so good. But so bad. Tons of not-so-good-for-you ingredients so I had to let that cake go. But not to worry! I still get my cake, but it's made from real ingredients, at home and it's not even difficult. Raw cakes are the best thing I've discovered since seaweed :). I can get creative with superfoods, nuts, seeds and create all kinds of cakes. Only imagination is the limit here!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Eye Health and Glasses

I got my first pair of prescription eyeglasses when I got my driver's license about 16 years ago. I cannot see far away too well (thanks to playing video games and writing short stories for hours in front of the computer since I was a kid) so it would be risky for me to drive without seeing the traffic signs clearly. I hardly ever wore the glasses since I very rarely drive, so my second pair of glasses I got just about 4 years ago. I found that the best place to go for cheap glasses was online and so far I've gotten two pairs of glasses from online stores.
One funny thing I noticed was that when I would wear glasses at work (I worked in hotel customer service) guests would be much nicer to me than when I didn't wear glasses. Soon glasses became part of my work uniform for this specific reason. I mean, who doesn't want people to be nice to you, right?!
So now I have my "work glasses", my spare glasses in the car (my first ever glasses) and "home glasses" which I just received from GlassesShop. I wanted to go with something a little unconventional and picked these round pink Cornelia glasses. They're light and fun, just perfect for watching TV at night.

Since this is a healthy lifestyle blog I would also like to tell you about foods that may affect your eye health. Best foods for healthy eyes are dark leafy greens (they are great for just about anything which is why I love them!), orange pepper, black currants, bilberry and anything with high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids. And spending time outdoors in a natural light! You can also buy supplements especially targeting eye health like USANA's Eye Essentials.

P.S. I've got a special coupon code for you to get 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded). Use coupon code GSHOT50 to get your discount.
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