Did James Gandolfini Die of a Heart Attack?

I have no idea if Gandolfini knew he had heart problems nor do I know what his eating and drinking routine was like. But his loss brings home to me the need for constant vigilance.

I was shocked this evening to hear news of Soprano’s star James Gandolfini dying in Rome, apparently from a heart attack.

If the early reports prove to be true, his loss is just another indication of how deadly a silent killer heart disease can be. And it’s a reminder to people like me, who already survived one blocked artery or similar heart incidents, that we can’t stray from our new restricted diets for fear of having still more heart problems in the future.jg Continue reading “Did James Gandolfini Die of a Heart Attack?”

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Worst Flight Ever – Do Not Fly Air France, Delta

While I normally blog about food, diet and job hunting, I have to dep­art from those topics today to warn you against flying on Air France, ever, under any circumstances. A recent Air France flight I took from Paris to Chicago was the worst, I repeat the worst, flight I have experienced in 42 years of commercial air travel.

My wife and I sat in row 29 of an Air France A 330 Airbus, across from an exit door but not next to it with the added leg room that would have provided. Instead, we were up against a wall which meant zero leg room and constant cramps in both my legs. But the discomfort only began with that. The temperature in our seats easily approached the freezing point and there was no way to control the airflow around us, no knobs to adjust the air conditioning.

A low-salt airline meal on Delta...cheese, salad dressing, white rice? Really?
A low-salt airline meal on Delta…cheese, salad dressing, white rice? Really?
Continue reading “Worst Flight Ever – Do Not Fly Air France, Delta”

Why aren’t grilled vegetable plates common in America?

Why can’t restaurants in the U.S., including those saying they offer healthy food while they load their so-called healthy choices with unhealthy levels of salt (I’m talking about you Protein Bar) offer this wonderful, healthy simple dish?

While it’s been impossible for me to maintain my restricted diet while on vacation in Italy this past week and a half, one pleasant menu surprise here is that nearly every restaurant, large and small, has a plate of grilled vegetables on its menu.

On Thursday, we stopped at a tiny, nondescript place that likely would be thought of as a greasy spoon in the States, only to find a menu full of salads and sporting the ubiquitous grilled veggies, which I ordered. What I received was delightful, including eggplant, squash and even some spinach along with mushrooms and carrots, all grilled without any harmful sauces and what seemed like very little salt.

Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can't U.S. places offer the same?
Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can’t U.S. places offer the same?
Continue reading “Why aren’t grilled vegetable plates common in America?”

Can you stay on a restricted diet in the land of pasta and seafood?

Does this all fit in my diet? Probably not. Family I’m traveling with keep telling me it’s ok to splurge a bit but no one really knows that. What will cause my other artery to clog and the blood to stop flowing? I just need to take it on faith, given all the medications I’m on, that hopefully won’t happen on this trip.

I’ve been doing my best since I arrived in southern Italy to eat the way I’m supposed to on my restricted diet but doing that is proving impossible. I cannot avoid pasta here and I can’t find whole wheat pasta which is the only type I am supposed to eat these days.

What I am doing is eating smaller portions of pasta than would be served in American restaurants. Portions are smaller here because places serve the traditional Italian multi-course dinners. In those the pasta course is just a prelude to the fish or meat course and so not massive in size.

My first course, pasta with tomatoes and eggplants
My first course, pasta with tomatoes and eggplants
Continue reading “Can you stay on a restricted diet in the land of pasta and seafood?”

What’s an airline no-salt/low-salt meal like?

What greeted me on the plane reminded me why I don’t miss airline food on domestic flights.

As I began my vacation, I was trying to stay on my restricted diet by ordering a special meal for my flight to Italy. Delta, as do most airlines I think, allows you to special order all sorts of meals ahead of your flight. I visited its website a few days before our departure and asked for a no-salt/low-salt meal.

What greeted me on the plane reminded me why I don’t miss airline food on domestic flights.

A low-salt airline meal on Delta...cheese, salad dressing, white rice? Really?
A low-salt airline meal on Delta…cheese, salad dressing, white rice? Really?

The meal I received included a bland chicken breast and white rice (which I’m not supposed to eat, only brown rice is allowed by my nutritionist). The small salad came with a dressing that likely had salt so I left it. A piece of cheese, something else I can’t eat because of fat and salt, also was included. Really? Cheese on a low-salt diet? Salad dressing on a low-salt diet?

If this was any indication what was ahead for me, I was in for a long trip. Luckily, since we have arrived in Italy, the food choices have been much more varied, and enjoyable for me. Keep reading to see what I’ve been eating in the land of my ancestor’s birth.
John

Can you enjoy vacationing on a restricted diet?

In the 10 months since, I have rebuilt what I eat and become relatively adept at making meals at home, plus at searching out the usually one thing on any restaurant menu I can safely eat (like buckwheat pancakes without butter at a pancake house today). How do I transition to eating every meal out every day in a foreign country?

I’m about to take the dream trip of my life — journeying to my ancestral homelands in Italy with my wife and six cousins. It’s exciting but all I can focus on right now is how will I be able to keep to my restricted diet while there? How much gelato, pasta, cheeses and other treats will I have to pas up while everyone around me eats to their heart’s content?

We'll be visiting Amalfi and Salerno, towns my grandmothers were born in, among other places on this trip.
We’ll be visiting Amalfi and Salerno, towns my grandmothers were born in, among other places on this trip.

In the 10 months since my angioplasty, I have rebuilt what I eat and become relatively adept at making meals at home, plus at searching out the usually one thing on any restaurant menu I can safely eat (like buckwheat pancakes without butter at a pancake house today). How do I transition to eating every meal out every day in a foreign country?

See how I do, or don’t do, here. I’ll be blogging whenever I can get Web access.
John

Challenges: those extra little devils!

Some good advice, especially the part about leaving behind people who cause you to eat or drink to unhealthy levels. My social habits have changed completely since I was put on a restricted diet following my angioplasty last August

Carbs and Barbs

It goes without saying that it isn’t all going to be plain sailing once you have made the decision to lose weight. If it were easy then everyone would be thin, fit and healthy. It takes work but along the way there are extra trials and tribulations set in your way. I thought that I would highlight some of those that I have come across and how I have got round them. This list is by no means exhaustive but it aims to just show that any challenge has a solution but it is just keep the mental focus to make sure you overcome them rather than let them overcome you.

Meals out

This is certainly more applicable to the early stages of my ‘dieting’. I found this incredibly complicated as I still wanted to be able to socialise by going out, especially as it was so ingrained in my…

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