Le Petit Greek Estiatorio

Archives: October 2017

Stress

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STRESS

I believe how we deal with stress is essentially more important than the actual stress itself.

So, Opa! What does that have to do with Greek food?  Well, we all have heard the joke that “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”.   The truth is most people will at some point eat or drink to relieve stress.  I cannot tell you how many times customers have walked in after work and said, “I need a glass of wine and some hummus with pita right away”.   I hear you.  Life can be quite challenging.  The restaurant business is no exception. As much as I love the restaurant there are many days that I wonder, “what was I thinking getting into this business”! I grew up in a restaurant and watched my father first hand work long hours, miss holidays and even be hospitalized for exhaustion. 

Here is what I do to combat stress:

Meditate- I get up early in the morning and meditate. I also mediate after work to de-stress.  Aristotle said that we are what we repeatedly do.  Think about that, we are the patterns we create.   I meditate every day.  It calms my nervous system and rejuvenates me.    I cannot always change the unforeseen challenges of the day, but I can help my nervous system integrate it.

Exercise-  I exercise to release stress.  Find what exercise works best for you.  It doesn’t have to be intense or long, a little bit of exercise 3 to 5 days a week is more beneficial than one or two intense work outs.  It is like releasing steam from a pressure cooker.   Exercise gives me energy and keeps me going on days I’d rather not.  If you don’t like exercise start slowly with a daily short walk around the block.

Eat Greek Food-  Research has shown the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest. Lucky for me this is what I grew up eating.  I eat more vegetables and proteins than anything else.   I have found that by making healthy food choices it helps my body and mind to function optimally.   When I eat well, I think more clearly, sleep better and am better able to handle stress and believe me in the restaurant business there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by without stress.   I take great care to bring to my customers the freshest, healthy ingredients so that I have a sense of peace knowing that what they are enjoying at my restaurant is healthy and good for them.  Of course, desserts are another story, but a lot of people choose our Greek Yogurt with honey, cinnamon, dates and walnuts.   While we shouldn’t consume desserts daily, let’s face it life is meant to be enjoyed so having a little baklava (filo pastry with nuts and honey) or pagato (ice cream) is ok.  Pistachio ice cream has always been my favorite since childhood.

Some more food tips that help to alleviate the effects of stress:

FRUIT- In Greece we eat a lot of fruits. Greece is known for citrus.  Citrus and berries contain a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C lowers blood pressure and the stress hormone Cortisol. Vitamin C helps reduce both the physical and psychological stress on people. People who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to acute psychological challenges.

 

FRESH FISH- People think of lamb when they think of Greek food, but we are surrounded by water and we eat more fish than Lamb. Fish is high in Omega 3. A diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you are feeling stressed out.  The Omega 3 fatty acids also help the brain to function and focus.   Have you tried our Grilled Organic Scottish Salmon? It is divine.  We always have daily fish specials, because it is light, healthy and delicious.

SALADS AND WILD GREENS:  Greeks eat a lot of salads and wild greens we call Horta.  Green leafy vegetables contain folate which produces dopamine, a pleasure inducing brain chemical which keeps us calm.  Spinach is high in magnesium and magnesium is helpful in relaxing nerves and muscles.  Even more reason to enjoy a scrumptious spanakopita!

VEGETABLES:  Asparagus is high in folate a calming B complex vitamin known to reduce stress and anxiety and produce dopamine for the brain. Our tasty appetizer of Sparagia is perfectly grilled asparagus with a sprinkle of feta cheese and a customer favorite.

CHAMOMILE TEA –  This reminds me of my late mother Evyenia Houndalas; bless her soul.  She would drink a cup of chamomile tea daily.  Chamomile tea helps to reduce anxiety and aid sleep. Chamomile tea is a great digestive as well. It contains a flavonoid called apigenin and acts as an effective natural sedative relieving anxiety and stress.  Remember a good night’s sleep keeps those cortisol (stress hormone) levels at bay. That must be why chamomile is a staple in any Greek household.  

I hope you find these tips helpful and I along with my staff look forward to serving you a stress-free meal whether you dine in or order it to go.  You can even have Le Petit Greek delivered via POSTMATES or GRUBHUB.

Στην υγεία σου (to your health),

Dimitrios