The Mediterranean Diet PlanMake The Lifestyle Change This Summer
The Diet for Heart Patients
Earlier this month during a taping of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates, Dr. James O’Brien mentioned the Mediterranean diet. He said it was a diet that he strongly recommend for patients with heart disease. Now, being a health and fitness enthusiast and a 40-year old man with a family history of diabetes and heart disease, I am always open to ways to improve my heart health.
The Mediterranean Diet
Dr. O’Brien proclaimed that the benefits of the Mediterranean diet as a push away from using animals as a protein source, introducing more fruits and vegetables in meals, while also cutting out butter in favor of using oils cooking. It seemed simple which made me skeptical. I know that in dieting nothing good is easy. When I got back to office I started my research and was surprised to learn that the Mediterranean diet was endorsed by the American Heart Association and Mayo Clinic.
And this before that I discovered that you could have a glass or two of wine with dinner on the Mediterranean diet! We’ll get into why wine is good for you a little later in the article.
Discover The Health Benefits
What Makes The Summer The Best Time To Make The Switch
Tell me the last time you ever ate like that.
The wine part, that’s my favorite too.
Why Is This Diet Right For Heart Patients?
You start each day with a heart healthy breakfast. Your vegetable intake is increased. You find yourself making trips to the farmers market to get a better variety of fresh fruits and veggies. You stop eating processed food. And that’s a big one. Let’s talk about bread for example. Besides price and taste, what is the difference between white and whole grain bread?
Susan answered, “White bread is so refined that the nutrients are stripped down, again it’s a simple carbohydrate where when a diabetic eats something, there blood sugar will rise and you get a boost of energy. This is the difference between a whole grain and a white-refined bread, once you consume that bread your blood sugar will rise for a little while and you’ll feel energized but the whole grain has better effect on your blood sugar, sustaining that energy over a longer period of time, avoiding the ‘crash and burn’ some feel when eating white bread. Keep in mind that in white bread all of the nutrients have been processed out of the food.” The other difference, you can literally, “Taste the difference when you eat one over the other.”
This diet also works for every type of eater who wants variety in their meals. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had Pistachio-Crusted Sole much less would I know how to make it. But in the “Mediterranean Diet Plan,” everything I need to know is on page 175 along with substitution tips in case I can’t find pistachios or want to try pecans or cashews instead. I also can see the health breakdown too. “The Mediterranean diet incorporates as lot of nuts, like walnuts, pistachios, and cashews which have a lot of fiber,” adds Zogheib. “Also tuna fish, king mackerel, salmon, all have omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. There’s are whole grains, bananas, and one of the best oils to bake with — canola and olive oils. You can replace fatty butter with these oils when baking.”
Putting The Focus Back On Food
She recommends eating outdoors, using our lunch hour to incorporate a half-hour walk with a friend, turning off electronics at meals, and stepping outside for walk after meals. I have to tell you, I felt like I was 12 when we put the “no electronics” rule back into play at my home. Dessert used to be my thing after dinner, now it’s taking a walk around the neighborhood with my son or girlfriend.
Meal planning also causes you to look at your calendar and consider everyones schedule. Grocery shopping can again become part of the family routine with everyone contributing to the meal. You’ll also notice a change in your weekly food budget. Susan pointed out that she had, “Given a presentation on the cost of buying food and cooking meals at home saved $1,200 a year versus eating out. Eating out on average costs people about $2,000 a year. Yes, there are some up front costs when buying the spices or equipment you may need but the second time you go to use them, you are saving instead of spending.”
In my food shopping we save about $40 a week even though we eat seafood twice a week. A fillet of salmon or swordfish that feeds two is about the same price of the cut of steak that I would grill for myself. Preparing snacks on Sunday night also means no more trips to the office vending machine for that late-day snack. “I joked around with a couple of colleagues last week in my presentation,” Susan mentioned. “I said, ‘You know, we’re paying for diabetes, we’re paying for high blood pressure. Why not invest your money and diet in food sources that are good for you body?'”
Written by: Michael Arce, Host of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates
Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.