Prairie Moon: a long-time favorite comes through with a low-salt tasty treat

Prairie Moon is a long-time Evanston, Il., standby when it comes to casual, fun restaurants. But because it’s menu skews a bit Cajun and barbeque, I haven’t been to eat there since my angioplasty two years go.

My wife recently decided we should go there with friends for dinner, though, so I braced for maybe at most a salad. But I was pleasantly surprised that the chefs there were able to modify a menu offering and still keep it tasty and hearty. Kudos to you, Prairie Moon.

Trout, potatoes and broccoli at PRairie Moon, no salt and no crust but wonderful in taste and simplicity.

Trout, potatoes and broccoli at PRairie Moon, no salt and no crust but wonderful in taste and simplicity.

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Which fats should you be eating? A guest post

Despite recent headlines like “Butter is Back” and “Eat Butter” and “Don’t Blame Fat,” dietary guidelines still tell us to limit our saturated fat intake to less than 10% of our calories and even 7% to further reduce the risk of heart disease. Total fat intake recommendations remain between 20-35% of the total diet.

I meet Ginger Hultin MS, RD, LDN, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and dietitian, whle on a recent TV show to discuss diet, fat and health and was impressed by what she had to say.

I met Ginger Hultin MS, RD, LDN, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and dietitian, whle on a recent TV show to discuss diet, fat and health and was impressed by what she had to say.

The very low fat diet by Dr. Dean Ornish at about 10% total fat continues to be awarded “Best Heart Healthy Diet” each year and success stories like John Frank’s inspire people to eat healthy and stick to a diet relatively low in fat for optimal health.

All diets consist of three major food types, or macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Even a very low-fat diet will have some percentage of fat included, so which are the best choices?

Recommendations show that unsaturated fats are healthful; you may hear the words omega-3, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated. These are all types of healthy fat in the diet found in plant-based foods. If you’re going to eat fat-containing foods, opt for types including fatty fish (salmon, herring), nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, hemp and chia), healthy oils (flax, olive oil), and fatty fruits (avocado, olives). Choosing more highly processed, low-fat foods has been debunked (think low fat cookies!), so be sure to choose whole, unprocessed foods that have healthy fats in them naturally like the ones I listed above. Continue reading

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Healthy Thursday: Healthy on a Budget

John N. Frank:

I love eggplant, either grilled or cut into strips and cooked with olive oil to form a mock spaghetti:

Originally posted on Brick ONeil:

veggie vendor

Eating healthy on a budget, while having health issues-ie: diabetes, heart disease, organ transplant, etc, can be difficult but attainable.  A few hints and tips I’ve followed throughout my “Simple Healthy Fresh” cookbook series are, in fact, simple.

Increase low-carb and low-starch vegetables. Increase your intake of ‘free foods for diabetics':

Eggplant is one. Now, don’t wrinkle that nose, eggplant is what I call a neutral vegetable, meaning it can take on any flavor and be in any dish you can think of.

Soups and salads are your friend. These can be made out of anything-especially those ‘free foods’ I mentioned earlier (including eggplant) like celery, onion, all cabbages, greens, cucumber, mushroom, radish, zucchini. With small additions of other items you can have ratatouille, gazpacho, spring/fall/winter/summer soups.

Salads for lunch, snack or dinner: Be creative with salads and ingredients. Make a slaw out of green and red cabbage-grate or use…

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Dumping junk food: two years and counting for me

This blog began after I had angioplasty done to open a severely blocked artery to my heart. I recent passed the two-year mark since that surgery, passing a physical with flying colors.

You are not what you eat: Is fat as bad as we thought? from Eva Voinigescu on Vimeo.

To reach this point, I have completely changed how I eat, walking away from all the high-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar foods I once loved and lived for. It’s been extremely tough, but there are rewards. One came recently when I was invited to be a guest on a TV show dealing with health, fat and eating habits. Continue reading

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Fish tacos: here’s how to make them healthier

I recently came across this video on the Boston Globe site for what’s dubbed healthy fish tacos. You’ll have to watch to get the recipe and leave out the salt, but other than that, it sounds very simple.

Use some spray-on canola oil to cook your tilapia

Tilapia such as these would work for fish tacos.

To make it healthy, the recipe substitutes Swiss chard for a taco shell or soft taco, either of which is loaded with salt. It’s a variation of the lettuce wraps many places sell these days. Rather than Swiss chard, I’d try romaine lettuce or maybe radicchio leaves.

Fish that would work include tilapia, flounder or just about any white fish. Grill the fish, inside or out, following her instructions here. Enjoy!



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Hearty Chicken Soup

John N. Frank:

I’d substitute fresh chicken and sodium-free chicken stock to eliminate even more salt.

Originally posted on simplyfitandfabulous:

Serves 4
1 can (10 oz) White Amish Chicken
1 Small Onion
10 large Carrots
10 Celery Stalks
5 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stalk
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Bay Leaf
1 Tbs Coconut Oil

Chop Onions
Heat Coconut Oil
Sauté Onions
Turn heat down to medium
Add Chicken Stalk
Add Seasonings
Chop Carrots and Celery
Add chopped Carrots and Celery and cover
Cook for 10 minutes
Add Chicken (with stalk chicken is canned with)
Breast up the chicken
Cook for 25 more minutes, stirring occasionally


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What’s Cooking?! Low-sodium, low-fat salad dressing

John N. Frank:

Making your own salad dressing can save you tons of salt and fat that comes in pre-made ones. This one sounds tasty.

Originally posted on kellynreeser:


I love a good salad, and no dinner is easier than throwing leftovers on a bed of greens and chopping up whatever spare vegetables you have in the fridge. It sounds healthy, too; but, be careful because pre-made dressings and dressing packets where you add your own oil and vinegar can be loaded with sugar and salt! Check out this quick and easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe I found from Joy Bauer with ingredients you likely have stocked in your kitchen.

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What’s Cooking?! Mini-Spinach-Meatloaf

John N. Frank:

Sounds tasty, instead of the Worcestershire, I’d put in a bit of salt-free Mrs. Dash teriyaki marinade.

Originally posted on kellynreeser:

I love mini-food and using different kitchen items in unique ways! So, I tried mini-meatloaf in a cupcake sheet this week. Low fat ground beef and salt free herbs and spices make this another heart-healthy dish; and, I skipped the sugary ketchup and used oatmeal instead of white bread crumbs, for a diabetes-friendly option!

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5 foods that are hiding all the salt

John N. Frank:

A good primer on where to look for the hidden salt in your diet. To eliminate it, look for low-salt breads, low-salt ketchup and alt-free marinades, all of which I’ve written about here:

Originally posted on kellynreeser:

Limiting salt is a daunting task. Fast food, restaurants, and convenience foods are FULL of the stuff, making it difficult to decrease salt when we are on the run; and, what’s worse is that when we do commit to limiting salt, it’s not always the obvious culprits that jack-up sodium intake. For your reference, when limiting sodium intake, it is recommended to keep sodium to less than 700 mg per meal and less than 140 mg per snack. Here is a list of 5 surprising items that may be pushing your sodium intake over the limit!

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Stella D’oro: an old friend offers a low-fat baked good

Growing up in an Italian-American household, Italian pastries and butter cookies were regular Sunday treats for me. In between those, we also regularly bought baked goods with Italian flair to them, such as Stella D’oro cookies.

Loved these as a kid and now, and they're low-fat.

Loved these as a kid and now, and they’re low-fat.

I crave anything baked these days since most baked goods don’t fit into my low-fat, low-salt needs. So I was wonderfully surprised recently to see old friend Stella D’oro come to my rescue with its anisette toast cookies. Continue reading

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