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My Ikaria Paperback – 2 Apr 2018
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About the Author
Spiri Tsintziras is the author of Afternoons in Ithaka (ABC Books, 2014) and co-author of the best-selling title Parlour Games for Modern Families (Scribe, 2009), which won ABIA Book of the Year in 2010 and has been translated into Italian and Chinese, and converted into an app called 50 Fun Games for the Whole Family. Spiri's Tribal Tomato blog on food, family and connection, which explores similar themes to those explored in Ikaria has attracted more than 5000 followers.
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The chapters on Ikaria and her friendship with the islanders are delightful as she gives herself over to the spontaneity of this gorgeous outpost and winkles out of the locals their 'secret' to a long life. I won’t tell you whether she finds it; you’ll have to read the book, but along the way Spiri uncovers some valuable truths about the way we should be living, inspired by many of the basics practised everywhere in rural Greece with an emphasis on family life and community involvement as well as diet and exercise. This is a book filled with optimism and wisdom that may change the way you live your own life. It’s also beautifully crafted and I hope other books will follow from this inspirational author.
When Spiri finds out that her Iron and Vitamin D levels are low and her blood sugar is just borderline she realises that unless she wants to become diabetic she needs to do something about her lifestyle. She begins to make changes, inspired by what she's read about the Blue Zone island of Ikaria, but it's not until she actually visits the island that she realises just how important their healthy lifestyle is.
Blue Zones are areas of the world where people live much longer than average, there are five Blue Zone areas in the world: Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Loma Lida in California and Ikaria in Greece. The six shared characteristics of people living in the Blue Zone areas are:
Put Family first
Semi-vegetarian - the majority of food eaten is plant based
Constant moderate physical activity
Social engagement - integrating with the community
Moderate alcohol intake
Spiri was able to visit Ikaria, it was a huge step for her to travel to Greece alone, leaving her family behind, but it become something that she was obsessed with.
My Ikaria is her story of that journey and the time that spent on the island. Her writing is sublime and for someone like me, who is passionate about Greece and all things Greek, this book was such a joy to read. Her descriptions of the island and the people who live there are superb. This was more than a journey across the globe for Spiri though, it became a life journey too. Listening to the islands, spending time with them, living like they do all became so familiar to her and she was determined that she would continue this lifestyle when she returned to Australia.
I really enjoyed Spiri's story. Her writing is warm and friendly, such a joy to read. It's a book that will make the reader think about their own lifestyle and how we can all change things for the better.