A low-sodium seafood cocktail sauce, wow, thank you Trader Joe’s

Shrimp is one great food I can still eat. The days of telling people with heart problems to avoid shell fish seem to be past, at least among the nutritionists I’ve seen.

But normally shrimp gets dipped in cocktail sauce to add some flavor. Cocktail sauce is, you guessed it, high in sodium, however.

Trader Joe's sells a seafood cocktail sauce that's low in sodium.

Trader Joe’s sells a seafood cocktail sauce that’s low in sodium.

A tablespoon of traditional Trader Joe’s Shrimp Cocktail Sauce has 155 mgs of sodium, for example. Others I’ve seen are much higher, too high for me to eat them. Continue reading

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A great option for eating at a friend’s house — cook your own

Eating at someone else’s home when you’re on a  low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar diet can be a bit excruciating. I’ve written about how I went hungry one July 4th at a cookout with traditional holiday fare, all of it high-fat, high-sodium. I actually dread being invited to friends now and prefer having them over to our house where I can control the menu.

Our host allowed me to cook alongside him, so the back tray has salmon marinated with Mrs Dash salt-free marinades, the front with his home-made, high-salt marinade.

Our host allowed me to cook alongside him, so the back tray has salmon marinated with Mrs Dash salt-free marinades, the front with his home-made, high-salt marinade.

But an acquaintance recently gave me a great alternative. After first asking me what I could eat, she invited me to simply cook my own at her house, working in the kitchen alongside her husband who was doing the cooking for everyone else there.  Continue reading

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Seafood and pasta, thank you Giada

Truth be told, if Giada DeLaurentiis suddenly showed up at my door and asked me to run away with her, I would, especially now that I know our families both come from the same region of southern Italy known for its food, song and limoncello.

Giada's seafood spaghetti.

Giada’s seafood spaghetti.

But since I don’t expect her to pop up here anytime soon, I’ll settle for this great-sounding recipe for seafood with pasta. I’d sub in whole wheat or Barilla Plus pasta for regular spaghetti, and leave out the salt (you don’t need it to cook spaghetti, that’s an old wives’ tale). The rest sounds delicious, I can’t wait to try it.

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Food coloring and what we eat — a real eye-opener

The food industry has been moving away from artificial colors, the Associated Press reported recently. The reason — consumers don’t want anything artificial in their foods these days.

Would you eat this?

Would you eat this?

I read the story first in the New York Post and then in the Chicago Tribune. What really gave me pause was a picture of what some familiar items like pork sausage and chips, look like without artificial color. It was pretty distasteful, another reason not to eat such processed food which remains high in fat and salt.

It will be interesting to see if the end of artificial color impacts consumer buying habits for many processed foods that won’t look the same with natural coloring added.

John

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Always hungry? Welcome to my world; this might help

Since my 2012 angioplasty and the complete change in my eating habits which followed, it’s fair to say that I am always hungry. It’s really not possible, I’ve found, to eat enough low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar food to fill me. The only exception is when I make whole wheat pasta and eat large portions of that.

Eating watermelon doesn't fill me up, although it's high in water content.

Eating watermelon doesn’t fill me up, although it’s high in water content.

A theory I heard years ago about feeling hungry had to do with over-consuming sugar. But my sugar consumption is way down since giving up cakes and chocolate candies of many kinds. Have you had the same experience with hunger since trying to eat healthier? Continue reading

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Going off my diet in the foothills of Austin — hello County Line

Austin, Texas, is known for music, the University of Texas, and, of course, Texas barbecue. Ribs, brisket and various sausages all are served as various barbecue spots in this beef-country city. That’s cold comfort for someone like me on a low-fat diet since my 2012 angioplasty.

My County Line Combo plate!

My County Line Combo plate!

So rather than torture myself every night I was there, I resolved to go off my diet one night to try some barbecue. My wife, who spends more time in Texas for work these days than at home, recommended a place she’d gone before, County Line. It’s nestled in the foothills on the edge of town and looks exactly like you’d want a roadhouse barbecue place to look. The one we went to apparently is the original location, there are others. Continue reading

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Roaring Fork in Austin, when you want just one great steak

Visiting Austin, Texas recently was tough for me, food-wise, because its the land of beef and I’m limited on how much beef I can eat on my low-salt, low-fat diet. I resolved that I would have a steak only one of my three nights in Austin. In the past, I likely would have had one every day.

My wondrous Roaring Fork Angus fillet.

My wondrous Roaring Fork Angus fillet.

A high school friend told me his daughter recommended we try Roaring Fork, so we walked there one night for dinner. It was much more upscale looking than I would expect a Millennial to recommend, but we were up for it and I really wanted a great fillet, the only steak I order these days because it is the leanest beef. Continue reading

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Eastside Cafe, a little Austin gem deep in the heart of Texas

Austin, Texas gets a lot of publicity as a great place to live but I had never had the opportunity to check it out until just recently. My first tip to Austin brought me to several food places where I was able to find some relatively low-salt, low-fat treats..and one place where I walked away from my diet for a night to enjoy a classic Texas barbecue. More on that in another post.

My Eastside Cafe tuna

My Eastside Cafe tuna

In this post, I’ll be talking about Eastside Cafe, a little unassuming place recommended to us by a staffer at the LBJ Library on the University of Texas campus.

After driving by it a few times, we found the place and were glad we did. I ordered a tuna steak sandwich for lunch, asking the mayo be served on the side and opting for whole wheat bread instead of white, although I only had a small taste of the bread. Continue reading

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Making fruit salad from old fruit can taste great

Fruit has become a bigger part of my diet sicne my 2012 angioplasty but the problem with fresh fruit is that it doesn’t last very long once you get it home. That amkes stocking up when there’s a sae rpoblematic. Cab you eat all the fruit you buy before it rots in your refrigerator?

Turning aging fruit...

Turning aging fruit…

One solution is to mae your own fruit salad form aging fruit. I recently did a frig cleanout at our hsoue and found aging pars, peaches and blueberries. I decided ot buy a small watermelon that was on sale at a local supermarket to ad to what I add and created my own fruit salad.

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Life three years after angioplasty

Three years ago today, I was having heart surgery and didn’t know if I’d survive the day.

And now, as I write this, I’m on a plane flying away for a long weekend get-away with my wife. The juxtaposition of those events is difficult for me to fathom many days.

Me, following angioplasty in 2012. I've since lost 23 pounds.

Me, following angioplasty in 2012.

Three years, honestly, is longer than I thought I would survive after my angioplasty. An artery that had been 80% blocked was opened bu Continue reading

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