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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Slimmer by Harry Papas

Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way To Lose Weight by Harry Papas
Published by Turner Publishing ISBN 978-1-59652-856-7
Hardcover, $26.95
Harry Papas gained 110 pounds in one year. Knowing how unhealthy that was, he changed his college major from Economics to Diet and Nutrition and created his own program to lose the weight and get healthy.

Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way To Lose Weight is the result of his knowledge and experience in losing the weight. Papas is from Greece, and he learned that there was study done in the 1960s, entitled The Seven Countries Study, that concluded that Japan and Greece had the lowest rates of coronary artery disease and low levels of serum cholesterol.

Papas discovered that the Greek diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, dairy products (higher protein Greek yogurt has recently become popular in the United States), olive oil and wine and vinegar have contributed to the healthier Greek population.

Most of the above I had already known, but the vinegar one was new to me. Including vinegar and lemon juice at a meal reduces blood glucose levels and helps to burn fat intake. It would be easy to whip up a vinegar/lemon juice and olive oil dressing to add to salads or to marinate a protein in. He suggests using organic vinegars and avoiding those with added sugar.

Walking outside in the sunshine for 30 minutes every day is preferable to walking a treadmill in the gym. Shutting off the cellphone and just meditating and relaxing for a few minutes daily will help your health, according to Papas.

There are lots of recipes in this book, with Papas giving the reader three-21 day cycles of menus. I like that he gives such a long-range menu cycle, and you get free days when you can choose what to eat; you feel less deprived.

Breakfast is important, and he recommends fruit, bran or whole grain cereal, reduced fat milk, whole grain bread, a protein like turkey sausage or turkey bacon, and coffee or tea every morning. You get three small snacks, lunch and dinner.

Three recipes that I am going to try first are:

  • Mediterranean Tuna Salad- which you can prepare ahead of time and assemble easily at work
  • Chicken with Orzo
  • Summer Vegetable Risotto with Chicken
The recipe below came from Maria and Eleni's Taverna, a famous restaurant on the Greek isle of Fiscardo, owned by Papas' mother and aunt, and visited by many famous people like Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Madonna.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
By Harry Papas
Author of Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lost Weight
Full of fresh flavor with a hint of spice, not to mention a good amount of healthy fiber, this salad will satisfy any size appetite, just as it has at Maria and Eleni's Taverna for years!
One 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
½ small cucumber, seeded and diced
2 Tablespoons diced green bell pepper
1 plum tomato, cored, seeded, and diced 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon capers, drained and rinsed
A dash of cayenne pepper
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon prepared mustard 
A pinch of dried oregano
1. In a medium bowl toss together the chickpeas, scallion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, parsley, capers, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl stir together the remaining ingredients and pour over the chickpea mixture. Toss well to coat and allow to marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour before serving.
Makes 1 serving
The above is an excerpt from the book Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lost Weight by Harry Papas
Papas' own success and his easy-to-follow menu plan should inspire anyone who wants to eat healthier and lose weight. The recipes are simple and full of fresh flavor, and the book is written in a easy to read style.

rating 4 of 5

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food!


  1. How interesting. I've never heard of the vinegar/lemon connection. I love lemon!

    1. Barefoot Contessa uses lemon a lot in her recipes (too much, I think, I usually cut back), and I use her cookbooks frequently, but now that I read this, I will loo for more recipes that use lemon.

  2. Funny you mention the vinegar, years ago my brother did some bodybuilding competitions and those guys used to drink vinegar. I'd love that chickpea salad.

    1. Drinking vinegar, huh? Now that is dedication to the cause.

  3. These recipes sound really great even if you aren't trying to lose weight! I love orzo! And the tuna sounds great too. :)

  4. I agree, walking outside in the sun is a million times better than walking on a treadmill. I like tuna salad, so a Mediterranean version sounds especially interesting.

  5. I'm not sure there's any silver bullet for weight loss. But the recipe looks good. Have a great week.

  6. yes, the fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, olive oil and wine are all familiar as being good things...but the vinegar is new to me too.

  7. Great post with lots of interesting info. Need to stock up on lemons! :)

  8. Much of this seems like common sense, but I'm curious about the lemon juice/vinegar connection. Think I'll give the Mediterranean Chickpea Salad a try - thanks!

  9. My hubby and I have been talking about going on a Mediterranean diet. I might be checking into this book.

  10. Walking in the sunshine just makes you feel better, especially in winter as we are in now.

  11. I am always looking for new chickpea salads, so this is perfect. Thanks for posting it.

  12. I am always looking for new chickpea salads, so thank you for posting this one. I will have to give it a try.

  13. Sounds like a great book. I'm trying to do some slimming myself, in preparation for my step-daughter's wedding in September. I'm going to look into this one. Thanks!

  14. This is another one for my list. I am a huge fan of the Mediterranean diet and way of life. I know I'd get a lot of use out of this one.

  15. I love Mediterranean food. So delicious and fresh. The cookbooks sounds great--I'll definitely grab it if I see it pop up at my library.

  16. Hi,

    Would rather have left you email about this but couldn't figure out how in the Contact Me section....sorry! Figured this would reach you....

    I wanted to let you know that I included your review of this book on my photo blog of Slimmer recipes (at www.SlimmerKitchen.com/press). Hope that's okay with you, if not please let me know (via site above).

    All the best,