Bradley pens world's healthiest recipes

By Danielle Paine

Reminder Assistant Editor



Registered Dietician Bill Bradley has devoted his love of nutrition to spreading the word about the "healthiest diet and people in the world."

Years of research, teaching workshops and a recent trip to Crete has culminated into Bradley's first book, "Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes from The Healthiest People in the World." With this book and his constant workshops throughout New England, Bradley hopes to spread the documented health benefits of a traditional Mediterranean Diet to the masses.

"My main message is that you can eat well and significantly change your health in an easy and delicious way," Bradley said. It was about eight years ago when Bradley first stumbled upon the healthy impacts of Mediterranean food. He was working in local hospitals with heart patients in a lifestyle modification program when he learned of research on the Cretan diet and lifestyle dubbed "one of the healthiest for people with heart disease. Since then, he began integrating it into cooking and nutrition workshops.

"What I found was that the diet is very simple. For example, they have the same food for lunch and dinner and sometimes it's a one pot dish," Bradley said. "They are always vegetables in everything, even if it's a traditional meat dish and they use a lot of olive oil."

During this time, more and more research was surfacing that praised Cretan food as preventing obesity and disease such as cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. This, combined with his own fascination, led Bradley to Crete for his own research for two months in the winter of 2005.

Once he left the Cretan cities, where typical fast food restaurants were abundant, Bradley travelled to the many villages where traditional food abounds. There he ate, learned, cooked and documented the diet of full fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, breads and of course, olive oil.

"There is often a cup of olive oil in a recipe," Bradley said. "There is a saying in Crete that 'we have olive oil in our veins.'"

Fresh, extra virgin olive oil is a crucial part of a Mediterranean diet. In fact, Bradley explained, Cretes eat 40 percent of their calories from fat whereas typical Americans only eat 30 percent of their calories from fat. The difference? American diets are much higher in saturated fat while the diet in Crete is higher in mono-saturated fat.

Bradley explained that the saturated fats raise bad cholesterol and unsaturated fat raises good cholesterol. He added that another study was recently done that indicted olive oil, which was fresh enough to cause a slight burning sensation of the throat, is as strong an anti-inflammatory as ibuprofen.

"Every person I met, when I went there, had a relative between 100-115 years old," Bradley said. "And men live to be as old as women there. They also didn't have a lot of disease, people just died of old age."

From the olive oil, to only eating meat once per week, to the small amounts of alcohol they consume daily, Crete's live on a very anti-inflammatory diet. Americans, on the other hand, consume vast amounts of sugar and meat, both of which are causes for flammation and disease.

He explains these healthy differences in the workshops he now does daily for insurance companies, hospitals and conferences. Bradley also helps people adapt the guidelines of Cretan food into their own lifestyles.

"We wrote the book specifically for people in this country, so you could buy all of these ingredients at Stop and Shop or Big Y," Bradley explained. "The idea isn't that you switch completely to this diet but that you follow the guidelines."

He emphasized that anyone from any culture can adapt their recipes to follow the basic Mediterranean guidelines. An apple pie, he said, can actually be made with a good flaky pie crust using olive oil.

"My goal is to help people to change their health in an enjoyable way," Bradley said. "People really love this way of eating."

A journey back to Crete is just on the horizon for Bradley who will be travelling there in October with a video crew to film the culture of Cretan food. He is also planning on hosting a culinary tour of Crete. Participants will be able to buy a package that will include travelling into the villages of Crete with Bradley to talk to and cook with the people who have been cooking Cretan-style their whole lives. There will also be stops at the places where wine and olive oil are made fresh for the islanders.

The book, "Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes from the Healthiest People in the World," is available at local book

stores and online at www.bradleypresents.com. Bradley will also host an upcoming talk and book signing titled, "Eating Mediterranean in New England," to be held Apr. 22, 6 - 8 p.m. at the Abundant Wellness Center of Chicopee. The cost is $10. For more information call 592-2828. To contact Bradley, call 522-4919.

 
 
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