276: What You Need to Know About Olive Oil With Tony Kasandrinos

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, a Finnish company bringing the everyday magic of mushrooms to our daily lives. If you visited my home, you’d notice my homemade coffee/tea bar in my kitchen. Above it hangs 8 wooden cups, called kuksas… one for each member of my family. These have become part of our family tradition as we often sip mushroom coffee or superfood elixers from them at breakfast or after dinner during family time. Wooden cup or not, I highly recommend all of the Four Sigmatic products and you’d also find every single one of them in my kitchen! Here’s how I incorporate them into my day: in the morning, I will drink one of their mushroom coffee blends, the matcha, the coffee latte or mushroom mocha with chaga. Throughout the day I sip their chaga, cordycepts or lions mane elixirs on their own since these are all caffeine free but have a host of benefits due including a major boost of antioxidants. Nighttime means their calming turmeric tea or Reishi elixir with a splash of macadamia milk. Mom tip: I also always keep their activated charcoal lemonade on hand for the first sign for a stomach bug… my kids love it and charcoal always seems to help. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% with the code wellness mama at foursigmatic.com.wellnessmama

This episode is sponsored by Just Thrive probiotics. I found this company when searching for the most research backed and effective probiotic available and I was blown away at the difference in their products! They offer two cornerstone products that are both clinically studied and highly effective. The first is their probiotic, which has been clinically studied to help with leaky gut and to survive up to 1,000 times as much as other probiotics or the beneficial organisms in something like Greek yogurt for instance. The difference is, their spore-based strains work completely differently than other types of probiotics. Also, this probiotic is vegan, dairy free, histamine free, non-GMO, and is made without soy, dairy, sugar, salt, corn, tree nuts or gluten—so it’s safe for practically everyone. I even sprinkle it in my kid’s food and bake it in to products since it can survive at up to 400 degrees! Their probiotic contains a patented strain called Bacillus Indicus HU36®, which produces antioxidants in the digestive system – where they can be easily absorbed by body. Their other product is a K2-7, and this nutrient—you may have heard of it—is known as the “Activator X,” the super-nutrient that Weston A. Price, a dentist known primarily for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, good health, bone development and oral health. He found this prevalent in foods in the healthiest communities in the world. Their K2 is the only pharmaceutical grade, all-natural supplement with published safety studies. Like the probiotic, this is also, gluten, dairy, soy, nut and GMO free. Both are best taken with food so I keep both on the table. Here’s a tip: My dad has trouble remembering to take supplements so he taped them to the pepper shaker, which he uses daily, and they’re now on his daily list as well. Check them out at justthrivehealth.com/wellnessmama and use the code wellnessmama15 to save 15%!

Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And I am here today with someone who I am so impressed by on many levels, especially his time management, and everything he accomplishes. I thought I was busy, but I am here with Tony Kasandrinos, who is the co-founder of Kasandrinos Olive Oil, which you’ve probably seen me cook with on Instagram.

He is a native of New York, but he spent a good portion of his childhood in his father’s village in Greece. And at the age of 17, he joined the Marine Corps, and he has been serving on active duty since then, but he gets to retire soon. He may actually be retired by the time this airs, and focus full time on Kasandrinos Olive Oil, which is my favorite for sure. Tony, welcome, and thanks for being here.

Tony: Oh, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Katie: Well, definitely I wanna go deep on olive oil. But first, I just have to talk about Greece because I have yet to get there. It’s top of my list of the next places I want to go. And you hear so much about Greece. Having not been there, I read about the Blue Zones, the diet there, and how it’s so healthy. There’s obviously so much in Greece as favor, and you’ve actually spent a lot of time there. So I’d love to just hear about in general about Greece and some of the things you think we can all learn from, whether it be the culture or the diet, or anything in Greece.

Tony: Oh, definitely. I mean, we could talk for hours about this, but I’ll try to make it short. But it’s definitely… I mean, I’ve managed to…I’ve been fortunate enough through my military career, which has been 20-plus years now, to spend a lot of my vacation time in Greece. I usually save it up for two years, and I’ll go for a month at a time.

But it’s a whole different world from what we’re really used to in America, unfortunately. But it’s much more laid back and relaxed. And the first thing most people will notice is people don’t really work a lot there. It might be a good or bad thing, but it’s a lot…you’ll notice a lot of stores are closed throughout much of the day.

But people are really focused on family and eating, and eating some more, and going to the beach. And nutritionally, it’s very different. You do have a few different parts of Greece. You have Athens and Salonika, like the major cities, and then you have the rest of the other countries, the rest of the country, which is actually very small. It’s land size, about the size of New Jersey.

So life in Athens is very, very different as opposed to life in most parts of the country. It’s like going back in time, a lot. You know, when we go back there, the vast majority of our food comes from the backyard. It’s very vegetable-heavy, a lot of fruit. You do eat a lot of meat, too. But it’s generally coming from the backyard or from your fields, wherever that might be. Tons of fresh fish and seafood every day as long as you live around the coast, which is the majority of Greece.

So you’re just eating a lot less processed food, and a lot more just real vegetables, fruit, cheese, dairy, and fresh animals that were probably either caught or killed within a very short period of time. But the biggest difference out of anything, I would say, is definitely just the lifestyle, and the fact that people walk a lot more over there than we do here.

Katie: Yeah. It seems like that’s a lot of Europe or something I’ve noticed every time I’m there, it’s so much easier to walk than it is to drive or take a train a lot of times. And it’s just so much more a part of life where, of course, all the statistics, we know how much we are sitting as Americans on average. But I also thought that you brought up the animal protein side and the dairy side because I think there’s a misconception when it comes to Blue Zones.

And you often hear like, “Oh, they’re all vegan.” And actually, they’re not, at least from any of the research I’ve seen. I haven’t visited them, but you mentioned that animal products are a part of the culture in Greece, where lifespan is better than it is in the U.S. But I think you’re right, having that close access to your food supply, and that local and fresh aspect is so important. And we definitely don’t have that nearly as strong in America.

Tony: Yeah. And I’ve actually talked to my dad, and my uncle, and a lot of my relatives about this. And things have definitely changed I think in the last…even in Greece, in the last 50 to 100 years. They definitely do eat a lot of meat there. But I would say, up until more recent times they ate…it was more periodic, like they wouldn’t eat meat every day.

I’ve talked to my father about this a lot. So we would have chicken usually once a week or twice a week. They had a lot of seafood. And a lot of this is gonna depend on if you’re on the coast or not, because if you’re on the coast you’re gonna be having a lot more fish and seafood. Whereas if you’re up in the mountains, you’re very rarely gonna have seafood.

So they definitely do eat meat in most of Greece. That being said, it’s not always part of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s usually only at dinner, and it isn’t every day. There are actually a lot of non-meat entrees that are in… I think they definitely overall probably consume less meat throughout the day, all day long every day. But that being said, I think, I only say I think, I’m pretty very confident that the quality of the meat and the freshness of the meat is definitely much higher than over here in the States.

Katie: For sure. And I mean, there’s definitely a perception that olives and olive oil are a very big part of the culture as well. And I mean, that’s obviously to be true from what I’ve talked to you about. But that also, to me, makes a lot of sense, because we know some of the data on how healthy olive oil is. It’s one of the only oils that I have never seen vilified, actually.

Coconut oil was great, and then it was bad, and then it was great again. Animal fats have had their ups and downs. But pretty much everyone seems to agree that olive oil is great. And, is it consumed really regularly in Greece? How much of is it a part of a daily staple diet?

Tony: Oh, yeah. So it’s everything, to the point where my most of my life, up until maybe 10 years ago, before I started our company is, you just take it for granted because it’s something that’s always there. I mean, it’s almost like water. It’s just, like, always…it’s always been a big part of our life. And growing up, you never really think about it, but we do everything with it from, people use it for skin care, we used it to cook literally everything.

There’s really not a lot of Greek dishes that don’t have olive oil in them in some way, shape, or form. And a lot of times, especially being more aware of how much you’re consuming and whatnot, we’ll have a Greek salad and literally put a half a bottle of olive oil on this salad to where it’s just saturated in oil. But yeah, the average Greek person, statistically, they consume about 26 liters of olive oil a year, which, if you break it down, and you’ve seen our standard 500-milliliter bottle, that’s essentially one bottle a week. So that’s quite a bit compared to what most people here eat in. Me personally, I tend to use a lot more bit in the summer when we got fresh vegetables. But yeah, it’s a lot more than we’re consuming here in the States, that’s for sure.

Katie: That’s fascinating. And based on some of the data I’ve seen, all the polyphenols in olive oil actually have a little bit of a sun-protective effect, both on the skin and internally because they’re anti-inflammatory and a variety of other mechanisms. So that makes sense that in the summer, you would consume more. And again, having never been there, I know Greece is a sunny climate so that… I wonder if that also comes into play with the health benefits there.

Tony: Yeah. I tend to…what it really is for me because I eat Greek salads religiously, like, come around right now, like May, June-ish, through like September, which is, for anyone that doesn’t know, it’s essentially like tomatoes and cucumbers, and some oregano, feta, and olive oil, peppers, and onions. But I definitely probably one a day of a Greek salad. I think it’s more also because I’m in Greece in the summertime. So we’re always definitely consuming a ton of it over there. Yeah, it definitely has a lot of great benefits in more ways than one, that’s for sure.

Katie: So tell me the story of how it got here. How did it go from your family farm in Greece to now this company where I can thankfully order it online and have it delivered to my house?

Tony: So, it started, I was a net… I mean, we’ve always had olive oil in our family. We’ve always had a bunch of olive orchards in Greece between my grandparents and my parents, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins. So, like I told you, it’s always been around.

We really never retailed it here in the States but we would bring enough. We’d bottle our own and bring it over here, annually, just enough for all of our family, which is a lot of people. So we’d actually bring over quite a few pallets of oil for family and friends.

I had gone back to… I was stationed in Philadelphia at the time, and I’d gone back to Rochester to visit my dad and brought a case back with me. And it was like the next night, the CrossFit gym I was training at the time, we had a really tight-knit community. And this is kind of like when the whole Paleo world was starting to come on. And we were hauling food.

So we used to do weekly gatherings where we would just kind of cook at…we’d all bring food into the gym and eat it. Probably not the most sanitary thing in the world. But it was my buddy’s birthday. And my friend Erin who owned the gym, she had a big bottle of a lesser grade Italian olive oil. I’m not gonna name the company, but it was on the table there.

So I told Aaron, I was like, “Let me bring some of our stuff in.” So everybody tried it, and they loved it. So it kind of like snowballed from there. Everybody was asking me, “Hey, can I get some more? Can I get some more?” And I made a few more trips back to Rochester over the following months, and brought tons…at this point I was like bringing cases with me.

And just decided, hey, with the encouragement of one of my friends, Diane. She was like, “You got to turn this into a business.” And a few months later, I made the decision, “Okay, I’m gonna order a bunch. I’m gonna come out with our own private label and see how it goes.” I made a little website and directly shipped, which got very old very quick. But that’s pretty much how it started.

And then it got quite overwhelming, very quick. Within a few months, I was getting more orders than I could handle by myself. And I was also getting ready to potentially deploy to Afghanistan. So I was like, “Okay, I got to shut this down for a good six months.” So I called Effie, my sister and now business partner, I was like, “Hey, you wanna do this with me?” She was working at JP Morgan at the time.

And I was like…at the end of the day, I did not have the time really to run a business. I was very busy with the Marine Corps. And I was basically coming home from work with the Marine Corps in the evening and working all night long. And then totally, the entire weekends, and I’m sitting there trying to learn how to build a website and get all the backend side of business things done, which got very overwhelming.

So, brought Effie on board, and she took over a lot of the logistics and financial side of things, which I don’t really love doing. She’s better at that than I am. And I was able to focus on growing the business and doing the big marketing side of things. And here we are now, seven years later.

Katie: I love it. And I love family businesses and being able to support that as well. Let’s talk about some of the components of olive oil, because, like I said, pure olive oil is one thing I’ve never heard vilified ever. It’s kind of universally agreed to be really good for you unless you had a true allergy. But there was all this stuff that came out a few years ago about deception in the olive oil world, and how things are being marketed as pure olive oil that weren’t, and what those terms actually mean.

And I know that you guys go above and beyond when it comes to transparency and testing. But can you walk us through what are some of the things we actually just need to be aware about in general when it comes to olive oil and the potential for deception in the industry?

Tony: Okay. So let me start off really quick on that. The whole thing came about when UC Davis came out with a report saying, you know, the vast majority of olive oil is not extra virgin olive oil. There’s a few different reasons for that, in my opinion. And I can only really speak for our company and what we do, and then friends of mine who also do olive oil.

I would venture to say the vast majority of olive oil is not fake or adulterated. I think they’re definitely…it has happened in the past. The biggest problem I see in America is that we’re consuming older olive oil, and that’s just the whole distribution process. And a lot of other factors that go into that as far as sitting on a store shelf for X amount of days, sitting under the light, and it oxidizing.

But at the core of it, if we all get a pure, first pressed, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, it’s gonna be different depending on multiple things like where it came from, what kind of olives were used, the weather or that season. I mean, there’s a lot of different inputs that go into how the olive oil will come out.

But when it actually makes it here to the States, that timeframe and how long that took, and some other things that some big, huge olive oil companies will do. And a lot of times they’ll mix last year’s olive oil with this year’s olive oil. And that doesn’t necessarily make it bad. But it’s like it’s not as high quality because that’s really one of the biggest misconceptions with olive oil.

And some people, they just don’t know because they kind of assume it goes hand in hand with wine, and it like gets better over time, where olive oil is the opposite. It’s actually a fresh fruit juice essentially, and you wanna consume it as fast as possible. It will stay good for a few years. It just starts degrading over time. And that’s one of our big things. And kind of why we’ve really been against selling it in the stores, is we only provide or offer this year’s current harvest of olive oil. And, sometimes, when you sell it at stores you kind of lose the control of that.

Katie: That makes perfect sense, that you wanna protect, and that’s why you also, like you said, you would want dark bottles, or you guys also selling metal. That also helps keep it?

Tony: Yeah. So, we actually are glass bottles, and this is a lot that goes into the pricing of olive oil. Sometimes you’ll go and see really cheaper olive oil at Walmart or whatnot. And there’s a lot of factors that go into the cost. And that actually is one of them, is the packaging, and even the glass.

You can have…there’s different grades of glass and different amount of light they allow in. And our glass, it’s actually probably about quadruple the price of some glass bottles because we use really dark, pharmaceutical grade glass for our smaller bottles. And even with that, we still recommend people keep them in their kitchen cupboards instead of on their kitchen counter.

Even though we love our bottle and the design of it, it’s like put it away. But then we also do have the BPA-free cans that we have our larger portions in, and that obviously allows no light to come through. Because we actually…so we do…just to go on this. So we do a chemical analysis on every lot of olive oil. And we do two of them in Greece and then one here in the States.

And we’ve actually tested our olive oil initially, and then we tested it after six months, and we did two different bottles. One we left on the counter in the basically just normal sunlight, and then one we had in the cupboard. And the one that was left on the counter was actually severely degraded compared to the one that was inside the dark.

Katie: That’s fascinating. I hope I’m going to say it right, but oleic acid, what that is, and what we need to know about that or what percentage is good to look for in that?

Tony: Okay. Great question. It’s pretty much it’s a monounsaturated fatty acid. The thing is, just like with all your components of the olive oil, depending on the specific harvest, what kind of olives are used, it’s gonna vary. It’s generally between 50%, 55%, and even upwards of 80% of the olive oil.

The only way to really get an accurate number is with a chemical analysis where it really breaks down all the acid compounds as long, as well as the polyphenols. So, it actually is something that does vary year to year or harvest to harvest. We actually do post all of our chemical analysis on our website and tie them with a lot number.

And then every bottle and can will come with its specific lot number, just to, you know… Because we really like to be as transparent as possible so people can see, “Okay, this was the acidity level of this olive oil this year. And it will fluctuate by tenths of percentage points year-to-year.” But it’s definitely one of the important compounds of olive oil.

Katie: Got it. And what about kind of give us a primer on the different classes of olive oil as well? I think most people are pretty familiar with extra virgin olive oil because we hear that a lot. But what do all the different types actually mean and what’s the difference?

Tony: Okay. So, honestly, extra virgin olive oils and virgin olive oil’s probably the only two I would be eating, but it is gonna…the actual acidity level is what is gonna break down. The extra virgin is 0.8 and below acidity level, where an extra virgin is higher than that. Now the real important thing for people to understand is, extra virgin olive oils, to be considered extra virgin olive oil, 0.8 or below, there’s actually quite a difference between a 0.7 and a 0.2. So you really wanna find the lowest possible content that you can find. And then above that, you have your virgin olive oil. That is actually much lighter.

A lot of times you’ll see your light olive oil, and it doesn’t really have a lot of taste to it. It’s a lot blander, which there’s definitely some uses for it. I mean, if you wanna make a mayo and it’s not as strong, that’s probably what you would wanna use after that. And then beyond that, you really…you have like your refined olive oil and your pomace olive oil, which is pretty much your lowest grade of olive oil.

It’s usually the oil that has been pressed after the initial press of the olives, so it’s a lower grade. It’s usually used for skincare products or, really, not something you’d really wanna consume. And then beyond that, you have a few other downgraded levels of the olive oil, but that’s pretty much used for lamp oil. But at the end of the day, really, all you’re really need to be concerned with as a consumer for food, though, is the extra virgin and actual virgin oil. And honestly, I’d stick with the extra virgin.

Katie: Got it. That makes sense. And you guys even have shirts, when I see you at conferences, that’s say that I love it.

Tony: That’s just conversation failure.

Katie: And to circle back to what you said, I’ve written a note earlier. And just to reiterate, so you said that in Greece, the average person consumes 26 liters per year, which is essentially a bottle a week, which is amazing because, I mean, I think it’s been largely debunked by now. But the idea that eating fat makes you fat because that’s a substantial amount of calories from fat. And yet Greece has much lower obesity rates and heart disease rates, like actually spectacular heart disease rates, are great. And they consume a lot of olive oil, which speaks, again, to the protective effects there.

Can you just delve a little bit more into the benefits of olive oil, even at that level of consumption? Because certainly the data I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be really an upper limit where it is not beneficial. But what do you see as some of the biggest benefits?

Tony: I mean, at the end of the day, we can always find studies in science that say fat is healthy, fat is not healthy. The same thing with you can pretty much do anything with that one when it comes to carbs or whatnot. But the consumption of the olive oil in Greece is… I mean, and again, I’m not a scientist, I go by off of what I know, and what I’ve seen, and how long my family members, on average, I’d say that right around the 100-year mark, all my dad’s aunts, and uncles, and my grandparents, they’re all still alive and kicking, and they live off this stuff. And they have been consuming it their entire lives, and they consume it in very large quantities.

And most of that is basically because that’s all they have. Even coconut oil, good luck trying to find coconut oil in southern Greece, or pretty much anywhere in Greece, or really, any other sources of fat. I mean, you’ll get butter here and there, but not really nearly to the amount that we use here in the States.

And at the end of the day, the olive oil outside of animal fat is basically your only source of fat over there. They’re really not eating too many other oils, that’s for sure, and not a lot of other things other than oil, or olive oil and some dairy here and there.

Katie: Yeah. I think that ratio is probably important because the latest research I’ve seen, at least, is not that any particular…not that saturated fat is inherently bad at all. But it does seem to depend on that ratio of monounsaturated fats that you’re also getting, things like green vegetables and all of the components in that that you’re getting, it’s not just kind of in a vacuum.

Another question I get a lot when it comes to olive oil, and it seems semi-controversial, I’m hoping you have a strong opinion on is, what about cooking with olive oil? Because there was all this kind of news while back that you shouldn’t heat it at a certain point where it’s dangerous when you heat it. But every time I’ve been in Europe, everybody cooks with olive oil. So what’s your take on that?

Tony: So, again, you have conflicting science and reports. And I’ve seen like so much conflicting information on this, because it’s things I’m interested in, obviously, it’s in my world. I can say, I personally don’t really cook with it a ton. But I will tell you in southern Europe, like Greece, Italy, Spain, and all the islands around the Mediterranean, everybody cooks with it, and they cook virtually everything in it.

We actually, surprisingly, eat a lot of fries in Greece. But fries are cooked in Greece, or with oil in Greece. Any sorts of meats, if you’re cooking any seafood, I mean, it’s all cooked in olive oil. I personally really don’t cook with it all that much just because, actually, I really like cooking my meats in ghee. But I do use it cold, it’s obviously my staple when it comes to vegetables.

And I do put it over certain meats after I’ve cooked it. But honestly, I get this question all the time from my customers. I’m like, it’s a personal choice. It’s like talking about religion or politics. All I can say is the people that live a lot healthier and longer than we do in America definitely use olive oil to cook with.

Katie: Yeah, it’s true. And I think I’ve definitely heard people kind of stress about should we cook with olive oil and not cook with it. But there’s still other aspects of diet that could…maybe get rid of the sugar, there’s a lot of other dietary things we could change in America that would make a bigger impact than if there is any potential danger of cooking with olive oil.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, a Finnish company bringing the everyday magic of mushrooms to our daily lives. If you visited my home, you’d notice my homemade coffee/tea bar in my kitchen. Above it hangs 8 wooden cups, called kuksas… one for each member of my family. These have become part of our family tradition as we often sip mushroom coffee or superfood elixers from them at breakfast or after dinner during family time. Wooden cup or not, I highly recommend all of the Four Sigmatic products and you’d also find every single one of them in my kitchen! Here’s how I incorporate them into my day: in the morning, I will drink one of their mushroom coffee blends, the matcha, the coffee latte or mushroom mocha with chaga. Throughout the day I sip their chaga, cordycepts or lions mane elixirs on their own since these are all caffeine free but have a host of benefits due including a major boost of antioxidants. Nighttime means their calming turmeric tea or Reishi elixir with a splash of macadamia milk. Mom tip: I also always keep their activated charcoal lemonade on hand for the first sign for a stomach bug… my kids love it and charcoal always seems to help. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% with the code wellnessmama at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama.

This episode is sponsored by Just Thrive probiotics. I found this company when searching for the most research backed and effective probiotic available and I was blown away at the difference in their products! They offer two cornerstone products that are both clinically studied and highly effective. The first is their probiotic, which has been clinically studied to help with leaky gut and to survive up to 1,000 times as much as other probiotics or the beneficial organisms in something like Greek yogurt for instance. The difference is, their spore-based strains work completely differently than other types of probiotics. Also, this probiotic is vegan, dairy free, histamine free, non-GMO, and is made without soy, dairy, sugar, salt, corn, tree nuts or gluten—so it’s safe for practically everyone. I even sprinkle it in my kids food and bake it in to products since it can survive at up to 400 degrees! Their probiotic contains a patented strain called Bacillus Indicus HU36®, which produces antioxidants in the digestive system – where they can be easily absorbed by body. Their other product is a K2-7, and this nutrient—you may have heard of it—is known as the “Activator X,” the super-nutrient that Weston A. Price—a dentist known primarily for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, good health, bone development and oral health. He found this prevalent in foods in the healthiest communities in the world. Their K2 is the only pharmaceutical grade, all-natural supplement with published safety studies. Like the probiotic, this is also, gluten, dairy, soy, nut and GMO free. Both are best taken with food so I keep both on the table. Here’s a tip: My dad has trouble remembering to take supplements so he taped them to the pepper shaker, which he uses daily, and they’re now on his daily list as well. Check them out at thriveprobiotic.com/wellnessmama and use the code wellnessmama15 to save 15%!

Katie: And I wanna make sure we reserve some time now to talk about because obviously, I love your olive oil. It’ll be linked in the show notes or it’s just at kasandrinos.com. But I also wanna hear from you selfishly how you manage your time and your stress. Because, like I said, I feel like I’m relatively busy and I have multiple full-time jobs, but I am not active duty military and an entrepreneur at the same time. So, kind of walk me through, how do you manage work-life balance?

Tony: Well, the one most important aspect, I think, and I know as a polar opposite with you is I don’t have children. Because I know that’s definitely adds to it. Because my sister Effie, who’s my business partner, she has three little ones that are one, three, and five, and that definitely adds to a lot less of your time. So I have that going for me when it comes to my time management.

But the Marine Corps does own me for a good majority of the day. I’m generally leaving for work at 6:00 in the morning, and I get home around 4:30 or 5:00. And that’s without any sort of deployments going on or whatnot. I generally wake up between 4:00 and 4:15 every day. But the number one thing, and I learned this back when I was a recruiter, is really to…I really account for almost every minute that I’m awake.

I have a daily Outlook scheduler that I have. And it starts at 4:00 in the morning and it usually ends at 9:00 at night. And the day before, I always go through and I schedule, “Okay, this is what I’m gonna be doing from… ” Even in the morning when it’s between 4:00 a.m. and 6 a.m, and then I have my work time scheduled, and then I’ll have my lunchtime scheduled.

And then even when I get home, I’m either going to the gym between this time of this time, and I’m gonna have…you know, I’m gonna eat dinner at 6:00 p.m. And then I’m gonna work on Kasandrinos from 7:00 to 8:30. And then I’m going bed. I’m like, I usually go to bed around, between 8:00 and 9:00 every night. But the biggest thing is really to maximize every minute.

We only get so many minutes and hours in a day. And I think a lot of it is often, especially nowadays with social media and the news on the internet 24/7, I think a lot of time is wasted, just to kind of doing things that aren’t really productive. So, biggest thing is just to really break down your day and account for your minutes and what you’re doing and when you’re doing them.

Katie: Yeah, I totally agree. You’re right, the kid thing is different. And a lot of people listening are moms and so I just wanna offer…like speak to that for a minute. Because kids are a different ball game, and they do take quite a bit of time and energy. But also, we do a little bit more flexibility sometimes then being active duty military, and I just have a lot of respect for everything you’ve accomplished while juggling that too.

And I share your focus on maximizing the hours that you have and the minutes that you have. And I do a similar thing in my own life of managing very carefully my time during the day. And for me, the biggest benefit I’ve found from that also is that it frees you up mentally. Because that was something I realized early on in motherhood was that I was stressed out all the time because I was trying to manage in my head all of the things that had to happen in a given day and all the appointments, and who needed what, and the meal planning, and everything.

And so I just had all these open loops constantly. And when you plan those things, and everything has a place at a time and a schedule, then you can at least let go of the mental stress of that because you know things are gonna happen when supposed to happen. And it sounds like that’s what you do as well as just by having that plan, you’re able to take away some of the stress.

Are there any other stress management tips that you would offer? Because I think you’re right, motherhood can be a stressful endeavor as well. But I would guess, being deployed is probably at least as stressful probably or much more so. So, how have you managed to manage your stress throughout all of that?

Tony: I think a lot of it, at first, will come out with your outlook on life and people. I always try and live as much of a stress-free life as possible. In basically every aspect of life, whether its finances, or minimalism, or relationships, I try and definitely keep stress out. But one thing that definitely helps is I go outside every day.

And I won’t even listen to music. I generally will go outside, even if it’s for 20 minutes or 30 minutes, and go for a walk or go in the woods, or I happen to live near really cool forest now. But I definitely find that that helps big. And I think it’s something where most people are severely lacking these days, is actually getting outside and being in nature, and unplugging from all the phone screens, and monitors, and TVs, and just busyness of everyday life. So, that’s definitely my number one thing.

Katie: Yeah, that’s awesome. And I love that because it’s something anybody can do and it’s not expensive. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s not like some crazy biohacking device that no one can actually afford. It’s like go in nature, which is almost like its own vitamin, I think. And, yeah, that’s such a great tip.

And to echo that, I think sometimes we wanna do all these complicated things to be healthy. And some of the most important things are sleep, and time outdoors, and just hydration, things that are largely completely free. And there’s some really cool studies, I’m sure you’ve seen them as well, about spending time outside, especially in the morning, has so many benefits for circadian rhythm and for sleep, and for melatonin, and for a lot of aspects of health and hormones.

And so, obviously, that makes total sense why it would be not just anecdotal, but a very statistically back stress relief. And most of us, statistically are not doing that. We’re spending way too much time inside in chairs. So you’re kind of tackling two things at once by walking and being outside, which I love.

So just on practical level, let people know where you guys are available. Because I know you have your own website. Are you guys available anywhere else that people might shop?

Tony: Yeah. We’re on two places right now. And that’s kasandrinos.com and we’re on Amazon. So those are two places. We spoke a little bit earlier about why, I mean, we really like to control, to have the quality control of how long our oil is actually in our fulfillment center. We actually send our oil to Amazon on a pretty much a bi-weekly basis just to ensure it’s not hanging around there too long.

And that we may go into stores in the future. It’s something we’ve kind of been hesitant on doing. But right now we’re at those two places. And we just got approved for walmart.com so we might be on there, here very shortly.

Katie: Awesome. Well, and like I said, before we hit record. I’m so excited to see what the next couple of years looks like for you guys when you actually have more than a few hours a week to devote to this, and to all the things that you guys are doing. You also are working on some related products like balsamic vinegars, is that right?

Tony: Yes. We actually brought over a few vinegars from Greece. And we actually have quite a few things in store for the future. Just again, we don’t have a lot of time right now. But the one we came out with last year, which we really love, and we’re gonna be promoting a lot more heavily is our little travel packets that are little single serving sizes of olive oil. But we actually have a line of spices that will be coming out in the next six months, as well as some skincare products. So definitely things coming out.

Katie: I love it. And I’ll make sure like links to the existing products are in the show notes. And definitely encourage people to follow you guys on Instagram too, to keep up with new products and the visits to Greece because those are super fun to watch. And the travel packets, I’m glad you mentioned those, because I keep a ton of those in stock at my house all the time for two reasons.

One is that, at restaurants, I don’t trust necessarily their olive oil that it’s actually olive oil, and it doesn’t taste as good. So I bring those in my purse when I eat anywhere and use it as salad dressing. But also, I use them at the beach or the pool as essentially like very low SPF oil on my skin. And they’re the perfect size for that. So I love that you guys have those little ones. They’re great to travel with.

Or another tip I found with those single serve ones, I don’t actually know what the mechanism is, but I know that essentially taking a shot of olive oil helps with headaches. So whenever I’m traveling and I get a headache, I will literally just shoot a packet of olive oil, and my headache almost always goes away. So I don’t know if it’s the antioxidants or what it is but I’ve never had that fail. So another tip for anybody listening.

Well, Tony, I am so appreciative of your time. I know that you’re actually on lunch break right now from being active duty military. So I’m honored that you are literally skipping lunch to talk to me. And I am so grateful for obviously your olive oil, which I love, but also for your service and all that you have done for all of us in the last decades. And so just thank you. I’m so grateful for you and for you sharing today.

Tony: Thank you for having me, greatly appreciate it.

Katie: And thanks to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable asset of your time with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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