Monday, July 9, 2012

Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight

 By Harry Papas
Nashville, Turner Publishing, 2012
244 pages    Non-Fiction

 Harry Papas is a Greek dietitian who has utilized the principles of the Mediterranean Diet to create a three cycle weight loss and life change eating plan. Slimmer is very clearly written, the diet plan seems doable, and the recipes are delightful.

Papas outlines the components of The Mediterranean Diet as:
·         Fresh fruits and vegetables
·         Lean protein
·         Whole grains
·         Dairy products
·         Olive oil

These are not new concepts but are very plainly laid out in Slimmer. Everything makes sense with this easy-to-follow eating plan. Each 21-day eating cycle is progressive and creative. My one difficulty with the plan is that each day has a menu, but there is no basic outline for the diet, and one has to deduce the components of each day from the menus. A list of daily requirements would have been helpful. There is an exchange list of fruit, but not for any of the other foods. 

 What makes this book different from other diet books are the delicious Mediterranean recipes. His mother owns a taverna on Cefalonia Island in Greece and many of the wonderful recipes come from her kitchen there. Most of the main course recipes utilize seafood, and since I am always looking for ways to cook fish and seafood, I was particularly pleased to a find recipe for Baked Fish and Vegetables Aegean Style (p. 126) and Easy Seafood Risotto (p. 128).

Papas closes Slimmer with the psychology that has guided his career helping people achieve their ideal weight.  His insights include ways in which to make changes in order to create a new relationship with food. One of the things that makes his plan more useable than some is that he acknowledges that small pleasures are part of the psychology of losing weight. This includes what he calls “happy moments,” a break in the day where you can eat something that will taste especially good to you. For me, that would be the ounce of dark chocolate. For my husband, it would be a small glass of wine. He also advocates occasional free days, which is a comforting thought. 

Here are two of the creative recipes from Slimmer:

Slimmer Greek Salad Pizza
  • 2 cups Mediterranean greens such as escarole, romaine and radicchio
  • 1/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup sliced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shaved red onion
  • 4 to 6 Kalamata olives
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • A drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • A pinch of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 individual pre-baked pizza crusts
  • 2 tablespoons marinara sauce
  1. For the salad, toss together the greens, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and onion in a medium bowl.
  2. For the dressing, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven according to pizza crust directions. Place the crusts on a baking sheet and spread the marinara sauce on top. Chop the olives and sprinkle them over the sauce along with the crumbled feta.
  4. Bake according to package instructions, or until the cheese melts and the pizza is well heated and crisp on the edges, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.
  5. Toss the salad with the dressing and pile half on top of each cooked pizza. Serve immediately.

Baked Fish and Vegetables Aegean Style

Have your fishmonger fillet your snapper or use a boneless, skinless cod or scrod fillet in this aromatic dish that will take you to the Aegean coast in no time. A variation of the dish beloved by diners at the Taverna.
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 oz red snapper fish (3 or 4 medium-size fillets)
1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch circles
3 baby carrots, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
Finely chopped fresh parsley to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of a medium-size casserole with a lid. Place the fish in a single layer on the bottom, sprinkle the garlic, salt, and pepper over, and place the onion, pepper, zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes evenly over and around. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper, and drizzle the white wine over all.
  2. Cover and bake in the oven, occasionally stirring the vegetables to cook evenly, being careful not to break apart the fish, until they are tender and the fish is cooked through, about 1 hour.
  3. Before serving sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
Makes 2 servings

Harry Papas website:

1 comment:

james edmunds said...

Mediterranean diet menu is the best diet plan for weight loss and fitness. Thanks for sharing.