Eleni Saltas, founder of EleniSaltas.com & Personal Trainer at Age Performance, Utah. Interview conducted by Tony Kariotis of GreekPosts.com
Tell me a little about yourself! Ever since I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1991 I’ve been deeply involved in Utah’s vibrant Greek community. Per my Greek influences, I began Greek dancing when I was 10 in our local groups, became a dance teacher, traveled to various Greek American camps, and have been both a camper and a counselor at Ionian Village. Along the way I’ve developed a passion for Greek cooking, history and lifestyle.
I’m a graduate of University of Utah with a degree in Exercise and Sports Science, and am currently a full time personal trainer. I love spending time with my two brothers, Pete and Mikey, who mean the world to me. As often as I can I spend time cooking with my 91 year old bingo loving yiayia.
What makes you proud calling yourself Greek?
I’m the great granddaughter of seven Ellis Island Greek immigrants who began arriving in the United States in 1906 from regions throughout mainland Greece (Roumeli, Olympia, and Megara) and Crete. I’m fond of each of those places, especially Crete where I always feel like I’m home. Our culture, food, history, parea, and especially our filotimo are things I am most proud of and love sharing with others. Having met so many Greeks from every corner of the world has led me to be an advocate of all things Greek. Each of those persons has influenced me because their Greek experiences are different than mine, yet we are bound to a common core. We Greeks learn from each other, we share with each other, and we uplift each other.
What inspired you to start your own Greek food blog?
Only after I became a personal trainer did I really start to understand the relationship between fitness and food. Since I was already writing about lifestyle and fitness, it was a natural progression to start writing about food as well. One of my very first blogs was about horta—of all things—because I actually spent most of my life not eating greens and most vegetables. I began tasting the new foods I found in my family’s stash of 50+ Greek cookbooks. That’s when I discovered the things I love about being Greek is centered around food—our history, faith, family, tradition, culture—all come together at the dinner table.
Tell us a little bit about your blog!
What started as a health blog has transformed into something more. If I could describe my blog now as one dish it would be a lamb stew. It has multiple layers and ingredients. Though I began writing about fitness, the sections that now dominate my site are food and travel oriented. Within each piece, I bring in stories about my family, history and personal life which are like the salt, pepper, and oregano of a stew. Those elements are necessary to make it a stew and a story more interesting and it’s what I’m most passionate about. I hope as people read along they’re able to learn something new and recall their own memories in the kitchen.
Aside from blogging and sharing great Greek recipes, what else do you do?
I currently work as a personal trainer at Age Performance, a gym in Utah that focuses on fitness concepts for greater strength, power, and mobility in older adults. I specialize in training the aging body and my eldest client is an upbeat 97 year old WWII veteran who never misses a workout. I am also a contributing writer for a local food magazine, Devour Utah. When I’m not working or writing, I love hiking in the nearby mountains with my dog Ajax.
How often do you get to visit Greece? Where do you stay!? I’ve been to Greece eight or so times, but I ideally I would go every year, or better yet just live there. I like to travel all over and see new places but Athens and Crete are always a must. Rhodes, Nafplio, and Lefkada are top on my list of places to see.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
I’m really excited to be a part of Greek Posts and learning from all the different Greeks on this site!
Thanks for your time Eleni!! We look forward to seeing what you are working on next!!
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