• Ikaria, Greece, is a Blue Zone where people often remain healthy well into their 90s. 
  • Diane Kochilas is a chef who lives on the island and teaches people how to cook the Ikarian way.
  • She shared three plant-based recipes from hew new cookbook.

Diane Kochilas, a chef and cooking teacher, lives between Greece and the US, but Ikaria is her spiritual home.

Ikaria is a Blue Zone, where one in three residents make it to their 90s, and rates of dementia and some other chronic diseases are very low, according to the Blue Zones website. In recent years there has been growing interest in how islanders live from those looking to boost their own longevity.

Kochilas grew up in New York to Ikarian parents but now spends most of her time teaching cooking in Ikaria and other parts of Greece. “I grew up with really good food in the house,” Kochilas told Business Insider.

She follows the Mediterranean diet, an eating plan made up of mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, herbs, spices, nuts, and seeds. It has been ranked the healthiest way to eat for seven years running by US News & World Report.

Her new cookbook, “The Ikaria Way,” aims to popularize the principles behind cooking in Ikaria. “It’s easy to eat this way no matter where you are, and you can eat seasonally depending on what’s growing in your part of the world. It doesn’t have to be a Mediterranean palette of ingredients,” Kochilas said.

Ikarians eat mainly plant-based, she said, but would never call themselves vegan. Many grow their own food at home, forage around the island, and care for goats or pigs.

Her goal with the book was to give solutions to two widespread problems in our relationship with food: “How to be good to your body without being mean to your mind, and how to cook in the spirit of a relaxed, healing kind of island where the tempo of life is slow and easy, and where people connect through food around a table,” she wrote.


A chef from the Greek Blue Zone Ikaria shares 3 plant-based recipes inspired by the island where people often live to 100 (msn.com): Chef Diane Kochilas, whose parents are from Ikaria, the Greek Blue Zone, shares 3 plant-based recipes inspired by the island where people often live to 100!

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