Olive oil and restricted diets: which type is best for you?

You’ve been told olive oil has good fats not the bad fats in everything else you once loved to eat but no longer can. So are all olive oils created equal?

I recently visited an olive oil processing plant in southern Italy while on a 10-day vacation with family there. The owner, the fourth generation of her family to run the place, explained to us that extra virgin olive oil is best when watching your cholesterol and diet overall.

some of the amazing olive oil we brought back from Italy.
some of the amazing olive oil we brought back from Italy.

We sampled a wonderful array of oils there. I have always loved olive oil. Tasting it in my ancestral homeland was even more special.

While I can’t eat plain Italian bread any longer, I can always buy some type of whole wheat bread to dip in my wonderful olive oil. And putting it on vegetables and fish adds a wonderful flavor.

I also use it exclusively on salads now, having walked away from any type of prepared – read high-fat, high-salt – dressings. Interestingly, in Italy no restaurant offered any type of prepared dressing. Oil and vinegar were routinely placed on our tables instead. I wish American restaurants would copy that practice as well.

Did James Gandolfini Die of a Heart Attack?

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?”

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”

Can you enjoy vacationing on a restricted diet?

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.

Do You Have a Binge Eating Problem?

Do you have a problem with binge eating? Do you rush for bags of junk food to munch on mindlessly when you feel the world closing in on you? Do you open that ice cream in your freezer to protect you from what the world has been throwing at you?

Answer yes to the above and you’re a binge eater. I know first-hand the seduction of binge eating, the feeling that you’re somehow in a protected cocoon of food where the troubles that had been hounding you can’t touch you.

Cooking, and eating, trays of Italian favorites like this are out for me now that I'm on a restricted diet. If you're binge eating, seek help as I'm doing.
Cooking, and eating, trays of Italian favorites like this are out for me now that I’m on a restricted diet. If you’re binge eating, seek help as I’m doing.

But when you’re thinking clearer, you know binge eating is only hurting you. How do you stop? It’s extremely difficult. I’m trying again now to leave it behind after having angioplasty in August, with the stakes considerably higher because of that surgery. The stress of it all have made my cravings stronger than ever yet I have avoided my former junk food favorites and as a result lost 23 pounds in four months. Continue reading “Do You Have a Binge Eating Problem?”

Welcome to Living on a Restricted Diet

Hello everyone, welcome to my new food blog, Living on a Restricted Diet. If that title sounds grim, I apologize, it’s meant to simply sound like the reality many of us Baby Boomers face as we get older and deal with more health-related issues that impact how we eat.

In August, 2012, I had an angioplasty done to open an 80% blocked artery to my heart, for example. Since that event, I have completely changed my eating routine, giving up scores of foods I truly loved. I was one of those people who lived to eat rather than simply ate to live. So it’s been a painful process for me.

Trays fo stuffed shells were once my Super Bowl party main course. No more though.
Trays fo stuffed shells were once my Super Bowl party main course. No more though.

But I’ve learned valuable lessons along the way, along with creating my own no-salt, no-sugar, no-fat recipes, and want to share them with you. I also want to hear what you’ve done because I have no illusion that my approach is the only correct one. I leave that kind of hubris to those writing other food blogs, including one I founded and left after it adopted an incredibly self-righteous tone that included repeatedly insulting me and what I was going through. Continue reading “Welcome to Living on a Restricted Diet”

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