Greek chef highlights health benefits of Mediterranean ingredients

By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Meet chef Maria Loi, she’s known as the Julia Child of Greece and was recently hailed for helping her restaurant’s staff tap into a healthier lifestyle through Mediterranean cuisine.

The ambassador of Greek gastronomy and executive chef of Loi Estiatorio in New York City has made her heritage a pillar of health — especially amid the pandemic.

“Now is the time to show how our food is healthy, but we have to start from us,” she explained, adding that she told her own employees — who are like family — to cut out processed foods.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, complex grains and fish and low in red meat. Plus, it has many well-established health benefits including weight loss, lowering cholesterol and improved blood pressure control.

Loi had her employees start their day with two spoonfuls of olive oil, which is full of healthy fats, and focus on the other healthy ingredients.

Her staff immediately saw results. Nicola Sambazis lost 24 pounds in six months; Alex Antimisiaris has stopped taking medication for high cholesterol and lost 30 pounds; and Felipe Teutle lost 50 pounds and has his Type 2 Diabetes under control.

While changes in diet can seem daunting, chef Loi encouraged simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference.

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