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Greek chef gives his diet a healthy Mediterranean makeover

"When I first came to Atlanta, I had just finished cooking in a restaurant where butter was the mainstay," says Pano Karatassos, executive chef and owner of Kyma, a Greek restaurant in Atlanta. "I had no idea that my cholesterol was high until one of my first doctor's visits."

Karatassos started replacing butter with healthier cooking oils, like extra virgin olive oil, and eventually his cholesterol numbers returned to normal.

He prefers cooking with canola or grapeseed oil because they have a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil. To capture olive oil's delicious flavor, Karatassos uses the oil to finish many of his dishes.  

A healthier Greek salad

Arguably one of the most famous Greek dishes, the Greek salad has endured a less-than-healthy makeover on many of today's restaurant menus. At his restaurant, Karatassos takes a simpler approach.

"A true Greek salad is made from tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions, and is simply seasoned with a little bit of salt, pepper, oregano and extra virgin olive oil," he explains. "The Mediterranean diet, where we are eating grains, nuts and raw fruits, coupled with using extra virgin olive oil, is all part of the formula for a long, healthy life."

For more nutrition tips, click here.

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