Fourth of July: why I went hungry while the country celebrated

I thought my grilling days were over after my angioplasty, but I’ve found these adjustments allow me to continue cooking out and enjoying it.

Fourth of July is a holiday everyone enjoys, isn’t it, a time for backyard barbeqcues and fireworks. But when you’re on a restricted diet, it becomes something different; it becomes a day when you can’t eat like other people.

We spent the day at a friend of my wife’s who traditionally makes all the usual Fourth favorites, none of which are on my low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat diet plan, unfortunately.

Let’s go through the list:
* Hamburgers – too much fat
* Hot dogs – too much salt and too much fat
* Corn – too much starch (i.e. sugar)
* Potato salad and cole slaw – too much fat and too much salt, depending on the variety made
* White bread buns – too much salt and too much starch
* barbecue sauce on anything – too much salt and too much sugar

And so I sat there watching everyone else eat and getting hungrier and hungrier. In the evening, rather than see our local fireworks display, I instead returned home and made myself some salmon and a green salad.album_pic.php

My advice if you know you may be in similar situation – bring a watermelon as your contribution to the party, you can eat plenty of that. Or bring along a chicken breast or low-fat burger you make at home and ask your host to cook it for you.

And if you want to celebrate at your house with a cookout, try these barbecue items I’m now making for myself:

• Salmon dressed with lemon or a low-salt marinade
• Chicken breasts in a low-salt marinade (Mrs. Dash or another brand)
• Hamburgers you make with the leanest possible beef; I have found 96% lean beef in my area.
• Low-fat hot dogs (Hebrew National makes them, look for those or similar brands).
• Grilled vegetables brushed with olive oil and Italian spices
• Tilapia made in aluminum foil to hold in the flavor, garnished with lemon slices and lemon juice.
• Whole wheat or Ezekiel bread and buns
• Home-made fruit salad for dessert or fat-free ices or sherbets

I thought my grilling days were over after my angioplasty, but I’ve found these adjustments allow me to continue cooking out and enjoying it.
John

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Food labels– read them and know what they mean

Good tips all, especially preparing more of your own foods to control salt, fat and sugar content.

You should be thoroughly reading the labels on all processed foods you buy. If you don’t understand the nutrition panels on food and beverages, learn to read them intelligently.

Learn how to read this on every food item you buy.
Learn how to read this on every food item you buy.

Also, learn what you can and cannot have in your diet. Labeling can be confusing, as a recent article I read points out. Labels often carry exaggerated claims about a product’s healthiness or benefits it may or may not give you. Look past all that and concentrate on the nutrition panels. And get a conversion app for your phone that can translate grams into weights you can understand. U.S. nutrition labels list portion size in grams, who exactly measures that way other than high school science lab students? Continue reading “Food labels– read them and know what they mean”

Eat nuts and you’ll be fine — baloney!!!

Nuts are often touted as the answer when someone on a restricted diet is seeking a new source of protein to replace the red meats we once ate. I’m sick of hearing about nuts, principally because I have never liked them, hate the taste, get chills from eating some of them and generally don’t like to think that the only way I can survive these days is by eating nuts and twigs all the time.

I also disagree with those who say the answer for our obesity epidemic is for everyone to stop eating meat and just eat things like ancient grains and sprouts.

No nuts for me, ever.
No nuts for me, ever.

So I was happy to see an article in The Atlantic recently saying basically the same thing. The author makes the point that not everyone can afford to shop only at Whole Foods (who can really) and that eating like some of the anti-packaged foods forces advocate is impossible for a large swatch of the country. Continue reading “Eat nuts and you’ll be fine — baloney!!!”

Movie popcorn: can you ever eat it again?

I have not eaten any popcorn at the movies since last August. But this past weekend, when we went to a Regal Theater and got a coupon for a free small popcorn when we purchased our tickets. I couldn’t resist, so we got a bag, put nothing additional on it, and split it.

Movie popcorn, loaded with fake butter and salt, was a staple of mine prior to my angioplasty in August 2012. Is it any wonder my arteries clogged? My wife and I tend to see movies every week, and in the past we routinely split a large AMC popcorn while doing so.

A large AMC popcorn has 1,030 calories and 580 mgs of sodium. And that’s before adding the fake butter which accounts for another 20 calories per cup of popcorn, or 320 calories more given that a large popcorn has 16 cups of popcorn. What’s worse is the saturated fat in that bag, about 60 grams before adding toppings.

Those were the days my friend...these days I stay away from movie popcorn.
Those were the days my friend…these days I stay away from movie popcorn.

I have not eaten any popcorn at the movies since last August. But this past weekend, when we went to a Regal Theater and got a coupon for a free small popcorn when we purchased our tickets. I couldn’t resist, so we got a bag, put nothing additional on it, and split it. A small bag has roughly 370 calories, 210 mgs of sodium and about 10 grams of saturated fat, or a days worth on my 40 grams of fat a day diet. So technically I could have that half bag.

But that said, I don’t plan to buy it any time soon. That little bit made me long for the topping we did not add, and the flavored salts we once used. So better to stay away entirely. A taste of something is more trouble than it’s worth to me these days.

If you’re facing similar diet restraints, know yourself. If you can have a bite now and then of foods you once loved without going off your diet, enjoy. If you’re like me though and need to go cold turkey on such offerings, by all means do so.
John

Build a routine

Some good advice here. I once had a college professor who said virtue was nothing more than good habit elevated to the level of instinct. Knowing what you can and can’t eat has to reach the level of instinct as well.
John

Middle aged cage fighter

I hear many people complain about their lack of self-discipline when it comes to their efforts to get healthy. One of the major obstacles to success is that healthy living has not become routine. Routine is what allows us to accomplish the everyday tasks in life without a lot of thought. How often do you have think about the process of brushing your teeth or taking a shower? How often do you find it difficult to stay consistent with brushing your teeth or showering? Hopefully, not often. They are routine and require no “self-discipline”. They are what we DO. We don’t think about them. We don’t pat ourselves on the back for doing them. It is part of our make-up.

What if healthy living was routine? What if that was just “what we do”? Our success rate for accomplishing our goals would skyrocket. I have a half-dozen people I work out with…

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