Pizza on a restricted diet – make your own

But pizza is loaded with fat and salt, two no-nos on my new restricted diet. Rather than give it up, I’ve been tinkering with ways to make a healthier pizza.

Pizza has long been one of the great loves of my life. As a child, Friday lunch at the neighborhood pizzeria was a highlight of my late grade school years. Often my mother would make it from scratch at home as well.

In my early days in Chicago, I could easily eat half a large Chicago-style deep dish pizza, amazing waitresses every time.

But pizza is loaded with fat and salt, two no-nos on my new restricted diet. Rather than give it up, I’ve been tinkering with ways to make a healthier pizza. The result still has more salt than I would like, about half my days’ limit of around 1,200 mgs., but a good deal of that comes from the cheese, so if I cut that back it will get better.

I started by looking for a pre-made whole-wheat crust. There are several brands and store brands available, but the salt content in many is quite high. I settled on a Whole Foods store brand, 365, which has 300 mgs of sodium in a 12-inch whole wheat crust (no regular dough for me, I’ve been advised not to eat white bread, white flour, etc.).

To that, I add a salt-free tomato sauce that either I make or buy pre-made. There is 15 mgs of sodium per serving in that but a small eight-ounce can is considered 3.5-servings so that adds up to 53 mgs for the entire pizza.

The cheese is the big challenge. Cheese equals fat, unfortunately. Eight ounces of mozzarella has 50.7 grams of fat and 1,422 mgs of salt, according to my LoseIt! App. That’s obviously unacceptable on my new diet.

My homemade whole wheat pizza.
My homemade whole wheat pizza.

A cup of reduced fat mozzarella has 18 grams of fat and 840 mgs of salt, getting better but I wanted to get more of the fat out. So I found fat-free mozzarella at several stores in my area. The count for that is zero fat and 839.6 mgs of sodium. That brings the total pizza sodium to 1,292.6 mgs. That’s basically a day of salt for me, so I can eat only half a pizza, not enough to fill me up but enough to taste and enjoy it. Continue reading “Pizza on a restricted diet – make your own”

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Lobster — you can eat it on a restricted diet, AHA says

I recently bought some lobster tails at a local supermarket that were labeled four-ounce tails, three equaling 12 ounces in a package. After steaming them, I weighed the meat from one tail and found it was 2.5 ounces.

Lobster is one of the wonderful delicacies of our age. Yet the thinking once was that it contained high levels of cholesterol so it was not recommended for someone with heart disease who is watching cholesterol levels.

Three lobster tails that started as four ounces each; meat weight -- 2.5 ounces.
Three lobster tails that started as four ounces each; meat weight — 2.5 ounces.

Thankfully, that thinking has changed. Even the nutrition nazi I saw after my angioplasty in 2012 tells me it’s ok to eat shellfish like lobster. The American Heart Association website seems to agree. Continue reading “Lobster — you can eat it on a restricted diet, AHA says”

Loser’s Jillian Michaels – Shame on you for this recipe

Jillian usually pushes healthy eating but this salad has enough salt to meet my daily limit, along with that of others on a salt restricted diet. Even if you’re not on a low- or no-salt diet, it has way too much salt

Biggest Losers’ trainer Jillian Michaels has always been my favorite on that show. If I need to work out, I wouldn’t opt for Zen-man Bob or any of the other trainers who have come and gone on there, I’d pick drill sergeant Jillian to get things done as quickly as possible.

I’ve subscribed to an e-newsletter she does for years and often found useful advice there and on her website.

Salads can be minefields of salt if you're not careful.
Salads can be minefields of salt if you’re not careful.

But a recipe she sent out recently under the subject line “The easiest on-the-go lunch” shocked me. Jillian usually pushes healthy eating but this salad has enough salt to meet my daily limit, along with that of others on a salt restricted diet. Even if you’re not on a low- or no-salt diet, it has way too much salt, 1,397 mgs, more than half of the 2000 mgs recommended for the average person. Continue reading “Loser’s Jillian Michaels – Shame on you for this recipe”

Feeling lucky — try that burger, cake, ice cream, prime rib

Maybe if they had seen your artery blocked to where blood was barely reaching your heart they wouldn’t ask. Maybe if they heard a doctor tell them they had been five minutes from a fatal heart attack and possibly death, they might begin to grasp why this is not some fad diet you’re on.

One of the most difficult challenges about the new food regimen I’ve been following in the 11 months since my angioplasty is that so many people keep telling me it’s ok to cheat once and while by going off the diet to eat some of the foods I once enjoyed.

You’ve likely heard it too. It happens on away-from-home eating occasions, on holidays or at family gatherings where food, and often bad food, is the unifying factor of the event. “Oh it’s ok you can cheat once in a while,” they say. Or “how long do you have to eat that way,” they ask, somehow not fathoming the changes you are making are life-long and permanent.

Feeling lucky?
Feeling lucky?
Continue reading “Feeling lucky — try that burger, cake, ice cream, prime rib”

Wedding food — what can you eat?

If you get invited to a wedding that gives you menu choices in advance, by all means order what you need. If not, plan to eat when you get home.

Wedding celebrations are usually just that, celebrations with elaborate dinners and giant cakes, or basically all the types of foods you can’t eat on your low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet.

I recently attended a wedding where dinner was served family style, with food coming in large bowls to be shared by everyone at a given table. The meal included two entrees, roast beef — which I can’t eat — and chicken, which I can except that it was in some type of gravy. The family style serving meant chicken breasts were lined up in a bowl, though, and I grabbed one from the middle that had a minimum of gravy on it.

My wedding meal, thanks for leaving so few veggies everyone.
My wedding meal, thanks for leaving so few veggies everyone.
Continue reading “Wedding food — what can you eat?”

Low-salt, low-fat eating out — very diffcult, not impossible, we can help

so I’ve been looking through menu nutrition information and talking to chefs and restaurant manager’s trying to find dishes I can still enjoy away from home. I still want to socialize and eating out is a major part of that.

Eating in restaurants when you’re on a restricted diet can be maddeningly difficult if not impossible. Every restaurant dish is loaded with salt and/or fat and/or sugar or other sweeteners.

You could become a hermit, eating every meal at home, the same boring things over and over again, cutting yourself off from the larger world around you. But who wants to do that with their lives?

A recent steakhouse order for me, no sauces, no butter, no sour cream but a great filet mignon.
A recent steakhouse order for me, no sauces, no butter, no sour cream but a great filet mignon.

Not me, so I’ve been looking through menu nutrition information and talking to chefs and restaurant manager’s trying to find dishes I can still enjoy away from home. I still want to socialize and eating out is a major part of that. Continue reading “Low-salt, low-fat eating out — very diffcult, not impossible, we can help”

Low-salt, low-fat ingredients — we’ve found them for you

I’ve been walking up and down store aisles and searching online for low-salt, low-fat items such as sauces and the leanest possible red meats.

Before you can cook low-fat, low-salt recipes like we have on our recipe page, you have to find ingredients that also are low fat and low salt. Something as innocuous as bread crumbs can be loaded with salt, for example.

My special find at Menard's, low salt tomatoes
My special find at Menard’s, low salt tomatoes

So I’ve been walking up and down store aisles and searching online for low-salt, low-fat items such as sauces and the leanest possible red meats.

See what I’ve come up with on our new ingredients page. And let me know what you can find in your area of the country, or the world depending on where you read this.
John