Maria Benardis of Greekalicious shares her passion for food, eating and healing by adopting ancient Greek wisdoms and philosophies.  

An important ancient Greek wisdom practiced was that of "agapi" (the Greek word for unconditional love) to attain harmony - a state of being free of judgment, fear and ego. Agapi was practiced in the kitchen when eating and in life. With agapi all becomes unified and creativity flows. The ancient Greeks had an emphasis on cooking spiritually rather than stressfully. When we cook with agapi and positive energy we bring a joyful harmonious energy into the kitchen and into our lives. When we cook with agapi we are centered and are able to cook intuitively using all our senses including our soul. To achieve a sense of agapi the ancient Greeks incorporated many therapies such as light therapy and color therapy in the kitchen and in their lives.

Maria encourages listeners to become conscious about what they eat, and to - as Hippocrates said - "let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine". This requires a conscious commitment to know what's in your food, where your ingredients come from and how they impact your mind, body and spirit. The ancient Greeks also believed that if you consumed pain then you also took on the pain, and therefore meat was consumed moderately or not all. Plutarch believed that if we must eat meat then let's eat it with "sorrow and pity" and without "tormenting or abusing the poor animal". Benardis encourages people to explore and rediscover how to use nature for personal healing instead of relying solely on conventional medicine that has failed to deliver real solutions. Because illness and depression are prevalent, she advises we opt for certified organic ingredients that contain maximum nutritional content wherever possible, and avoid toxic genetically modified foods, foods with additives, chemicals and pesticides.

Listen here for a fascinating insight into Maria's perspective of living well:

Her top 5 must-have ingredients in the kitchen include:

  • fresh organic fruit and vegetables
  • fermented foods and apple cider vinegar for gut health
  • spices and herbs
  • good sources of oils such as olive oil, coconut oil and nuts and seeds (eliminate vegetable, canola, corn, soy, and cotton seed oils)
  • whole grains and legumes

Her top 5 herb suggestions and their noted benefits in ancient Greece include:

  • parsley (good for digestion)
  • cilantro (heals ulcers, skin tumors and infections)
  • oregano (prescribed for coughs and used as a tea bath to cure itching and psoriasis)
  • rosemary (enhances brain performance, used as a gargle for a sore throat and boiled in wine for stomach pains)
  • basil (soothing to the abdomen and used as a treatment for constipation)

The ancient Greek wisdoms on cooking, eating and healing are further explored in the August re-release of her book Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health: How the Wisdom of Ancient Greece Can Lead to a Longer Life. The book also features some key ingredients used in ancient Greece. Their healing benefits were noted by Hippocrates and other ancients, and were used by them in their cooking as well as potions to heal health conditions. Recipes are also included to showcase the healing ingredients.