Brisbane based dieticians and nutritionists and owners of Two Greek Girls Cooking, Lisa Peterson and Desi Carlos, have just released their first cookbook.

Using simple language and scientific research about the Mediterranean diet, Two Greek Girls Cooking’s lifestyle book includes specific meal plans and recipes for each person’s individual calorie goals.

Lisa and Desi have drawn on their qualifications and skills as dieticians with a passion for good health and delicious foods. “What makes this book different is it combines information and research about healthy eating, with modified versions of some of our favourite family recipes,” Lisa said. The ‘Two Greek Girls’ ground rules were designed as rules for the daily diet to encourage healthy Mediterranean eating and to control calories consumed each day. The rules include recommendations such as the popular five serves of vegies, as well as consuming two serves of dairy. Red meat is limited to one serve per week.

Why are the authors so passionate about the Mediterranean diet? For Lisa, the connection is a personal one. After moving to Australia from Greece, her grandfather’s health deteriorated. The western diet negatively influenced his health, and he became an insulin-dependent diabetic, and, sadly, developed cardiovascular disease and vascular related dementia. Lisa says the Mediterranean diet has been proven to reduce incidences of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. “He is my motivation for delving further into the amazing world of well researched Mediterranean eating that I had previously taken for granted,” Lisa said.

Despite coming from different families, Desi and Lisa grew up with similar Greek cultural experiences. As children, they both tried swapping their traditional Greek lunches with unhealthy snacks in the playground. Now, they laugh at how foolish that was.

Lisa, as the granddaughter of Greek migrants, attributes much of her knowledge to time spent cooking with her grandmother. She remembers days and days of cooking in her grandmother’s West End kitchen, in preparation for big social events. “Preparing for social occasions is always an amazing experience, cooking for days and completely overdoing everything,” she said.

Lisa has a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Nutrition and Diet, and Desi holds a Bachelor of Applied Sciences with a Graduate Diploma in Nutrition and Diet. Combined, their experiences in these fields span 30 years of practising at Tree of Life Nutrition across 30 clinics in Brisbane.

Lisa and Desi continue to hold workshops and cooking demonstrations to teach clients how they can nourish their bodies. Both women are on a mission to educate Brisbane people about the benefits of a delicious and healthy Mediterranean diet.

When they find time to relax, they can often be found in one of the many 4101 cafes, enjoying Greek food. They say they love the cultural and foodie vibe of West End, and hope their impact on it is a positive one.

Lisa and Desi’s book, Mediterranean Eating: Cook – Eat – Live! is out now, available online or from Tree of Life Nutrition, retailing at $39.95.
Words by Gemma Easton | Images by Daniel Jokovich