Come hear me, other heart disease survivors talk about changing our lives

The major artery blockage I had in 2012 that nearly ended my life led to the creation of this blog. And that in turn has hopefully led to me helping otter people who find they need to completely change how they eat, either out of medical necessity or simply out of a desire to cut the massive amounts of salt, fat and sugar in most foods Americans routinely eat today.

The handouts I'll be bringing to a Mended Heart Group meeting this week.
The handouts I’ll be bringing to a Mended Heart Group meeting this week.

The blog has been a labor of love for me, as well as a great motivator to find and try new recipes that fit in my new low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar lifestyle. So I’m very excited to have a chance to talk about it this week with other heart disease survivors. I invite anyone in the Chicago area with an interest in such topics to stop by. Continue reading “Come hear me, other heart disease survivors talk about changing our lives”

Here’s how to fillet a trout

Trout is wonderful dinner choice, not too fishy, but with more taste and flavor that bland cod or other whitefish Americans seem to favor. I’ve written about making steelhead trout, but rainbow trout is more common, especially in the Midwest, and can be a great main course too.

But many home cooks are intimidated by the idea of buying a whole trout and taking the bones out of it before cooking, filleting it.

So for all of you in fear, take heart. Here’s my handy guide to filleting a trout, a skill I picked up from my parents and Julia Child.

I buy whole trout at Costco because then tend to be cheaper per pound than elsewhere plus Costco has larger trout. They come whole though. So start by cutting off the heads and tails. Be sure you’re using a very, very sharp knife for all these steps to make them easier. Cutting through a trout’s skin with a dull knife can be a no-win proposition. Continue reading “Here’s how to fillet a trout”

Smuckers Fruit and Honey fruit spread — a tasty lower-sugar option

Low-sugar jams and jellies can be a tasty topping for the multigrain Thomas’s English muffins I’ve been enjoying lately. But I’m finding the world of jelly and jam can be a sugar mindfield. There’s regular jams and jellies, which have sugar added. Then there are no-sugar-added varieties and low-sugar varieties, meaning, as always, read the labels if you have concerns about eating sugar.

Smuckers new fruit and honey spread.
Smuckers new fruit and honey spread.
Nutrition information shows 8 grams of sugar per tablespoon.
Nutrition information shows 8 grams of sugar per tablespoon.

Smuckers has a new variety out that further muddies the waters by using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. Honey is in vogue these days but the reality is it’s all sugar to your body, nutritionists have told me. So even with Smuckers new Fruit and Honey spread, look at the nutrition label. The news there isn’t half bad. Continue reading “Smuckers Fruit and Honey fruit spread — a tasty lower-sugar option”

Panera dropping ingredients; how about cutting the salt?

Panera is joining a growing list of food companies and restaurant chains that are dropping ingredients consumers are increasingly uneasy about eating. But the St. Louis-based chain’s announcement didn’t mention cutting salt, as far as I could tell from published reports.

Miss you Panera, get the salt out of your menu please!
Miss you Panera, get the salt out of your menu please!

Panera positions itself as being healthier than fast food, but like others who do the same, Subway, Chipotle, or Chicago’s Protein Bar, that positioning largely ignores the massive amounts of salt their offerings still contain. Continue reading “Panera dropping ingredients; how about cutting the salt?”

VitaTops — a quick snack but don’t believe the picture

Baked goods like cakes and even snack cakes (i.e. HoHos) have been largely off my diet since having angioplasty in 2012. And I miss them terribly.

So I’m always looking for something baked that I can eat without too much presumed damage to my arteries. That means looking for low-fat, low-salt baked items, almost an impossibility. But there are some. Normally they’re smaller than anything I once ate, but at least they satisfy my cravings a bit.

Look at all those chocolate chips on each top...
Look at all those chocolate chips on each top…
Here's what they really look like on a  small plate.Find the chips?
Here’s what they really look like on a small plate.Find the chips?

One such product is VitaTops. They’re essentially muffin tops with chocolate chips in them so I can taste a bit of chocolate. Each is only 100 calories and has only 3 grams of fat and 170 mgs of sodium. So eating two means 340 mgs of sodium, about a fifth of my daily 1,500 mg limit. Continue reading “VitaTops — a quick snack but don’t believe the picture”

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