Heart Smart Part 1

Author: Sarah Marshall, HBSc, CPT
Cardiovascular diseases are diseases affecting the cardiovascular system (the heart and blood vessels throughout the entire body). Heart disease and stroke are both examples of CV disease. It is estimated that 1 in 4 Canadians suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease. CV disease is the leading cause of death in Canada. In 1999, 35% and 37% of all male and female deaths, respectively, were due to CV disease.

Prevention of Heart Diseases includes a healthy diet and nutrition habits. The Canadian Food Guide presents nutrition and healthy lifestyle information as simple guidelines to healthy eating. The amount and content of food you’re body needs for optimum health is dependant an a number of factors including age, height, weight, gender, and level of activity. Your physician can suggest some appropriate and specific changes to your diet, including suggestions on sodium, fat, caloric intake. Here are some suggestions for altering the fat content of your food.

Altering the way food is prepared:
1. Trim all visible fat from meats before it is prepared
2. Cook with non-stick pans and cooking spray rather than using butter/oil
3. Add vegetables or extra pasta to meat dishes to decrease the amount of meat you consume.
4. Cook with sharp cheese and reduce the amount of cheese that you add (because the flavour is stronger, you
on’t have to use as much)
5. Cook with non-fat cheeses or mix non-fat with regular cheese. (Sometimes non-fat cheeses don’t melt very well, if you mix them with regular cheese, the texture is better when melted.
6. Make marinades with chicken stock rather oil.

Altering the cooking method:
1. Grill meat or roast it on a rack so the fat can drip away.
2. Steam vegetables.
3. Sauté using water, broth, wine or cooking spray.
4. Try stir-frying in chicken stock rather than oil.
5. Brown meats, drain the excess fat by tilting the pan and spooning it out (you can also use paper towels to soak up the fat. After the fat is removed, rinse the meat with water and then reheat it.
6. Microwave foods rather than fry – you don’t have to add any fat or liquid during the cooking process.

Steps to altering the recipe:
1. Use applesauce or fruit purees or plain yogurt in place of butter and oil in baked goods. (I’ve tried this in cookies and bread recipes – works great)
2. Use skim milk instead of whole milk.
3. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk or low fat plain yogurt.
4. Sour cream can be replaced by low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese. (try yogurt in beef stroganoff)
5. Substitute 2 egg whites for one whole egg (3 egg whites for 2 whole eggs).

Look out for heart smart part 2.