Good Fat, Bad Fat
Blood cholesterol levels are influenced more by the amount and type of fat in your diet than the amount of cholesterol you eat. For heart health, emphasize monounsaturated and omega 3 fats and limit saturated and trans-fatty acids.
Healthy fats are found in olive oil, canola oil, flax oil, hemp oil, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, fish, free range and organic meats and poultry and wild game. To ensure high quality oils, choose those that are cold pressed and organic and avoid frying foods at high temperatures.
Saturated fats are found, to some degree, in all animal foods including conventionally raised meat and poultry and dairy, as well as in tropical oils like palm and coconut. Limit your exposure to these fats by trimming visible fat, removing the skin from chicken and turkey and buying lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Trans-fatty acids should be avoided completely. They are found in vegetable shortening, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and processed foods like cookies, pastries, hard margarines, doughnuts and crackers.
Whole grains, fruits and vegetables â the more the merrier
Incorporating more whole foods into your diet benefits all aspects of your health â including your heart.
Fiber, found in whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, rye, spelt, millet, kamut, buckwheat, brown rice and amaranth can help lower total blood cholesterol. Whole grains also retain their natural vitamins and minerals, so substituting these foods for products made from refined flours (white bread, rice and pasta) is a good move!
Fruits and vegetables contain both fiber and a wealth of valuable vitamins and minerals that protect our bodies and boost our ability to fight disease. Brightly colored produce gives you the most bang for your bite.
Putting it all together â nutritious and delicious
The goal is to eat the right fats, protein and whole grains with plenty of fruits and vegetables. How you eat is as important as what you eat â enjoy your meals in a relaxed, calm setting whenever you can.
Some ideas to get you startedâ¦
â¢ Grilled salmon with quinoa pilaf, a colorful salad and salad dressing made with olive and flax oil
â¢ Almond butter on rye crackers
â¢ Roast free-range chicken, baked yams and steamed greens with miso gravy
â¢ Avocado and tuna sandwiches
â¢ Tofu and vegetable stir fry with buckwheat noodles
â¢ Lentil dahl with brown rice
â¢ Hummus and whole wheat pita
â¢ Roasted vegetable pizza with a spelt crust
â¢ Tofu bites and dipping sauce
1 block extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce, tamari or Bragg's sauce
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
Marinate at least one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the marinated tofu on oiled baking pan. Bake until browned (15-30 minutes) and serve with your favorite dipping sauce (sweet chili sauce, chutney, miso gravy all work well).
Optional: bread tofu bites with sesame seeds, rice flour and cornmeal prior to baking for a crispy coating.
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 tsp sea salt or 2 tsp tamari/soy sauce
Fresh-ground pepper to taste
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/3 cup well washed quinoa
Combine the water, salt or soy sauce, pepper and garlic and bring to a rapid boil. Add the quinoa, cover and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for 12 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
1/4 cup olive oil (may add flax oil)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp rosemary, oregano or another favorite herb
Lime juice to taste
Steamed quinoa cooking instructions:
Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove a bitter coating called saponin. The presence of saponin can be seen by the production of soapy-looking "suds" upon rinsing. Rinsing the quinoa thoroughly in a strainer with water easily washes the saponin from the seeds.
Quinoa should be stored in glass jars in the refrigerator, due to its high oil content, and used within one year (3 months for quinoa flour).