Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What I'm eating...

I'm living proof that you don't have to starve yourself or give up food that tastes good to lose weight or get back in shape. I'm very fortunate to be married to a woman who is probably the best cook I've ever known. Anything my little heart desires, she can whip up in no time. This has particularly come in handy since my recent scare has forced me to drastically change my diet. I spend a lot of time online researching which foods are best for losing fat and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and such and the wife dutifully incorporates them into dishes that are delicious and healthy. Mainly I have to increase my intake of fiber - especially fruits and vegetables - so salads have become a big part of my diet. But these are not your mother's salads; the salads my wife makes are impressive meals unto themselves. Another thing that is working very well is eschewing red meat in favor of fish.

Here is a small sampling of some of the typical meals that make up my diet (click image to enlarge)...

Spinach salad with black beans, red peppers, red onions and avocado slices. Black beans have become a staple in all my salads as they are very high in what I call the holy trinity of BP-lowering nutrients: potassium, magnesium and fiber. And high in protein as well. I buy organic vegetarian black beans which are much lower in sodium than the regular kind and only cost a few cents more.

Grilled cuttlefish and a green salad with peppers, tomatoes, black beans, zucchini and red onion.

Here is my typical breakfast on the weekends or on my days off: 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg, scrambled. The wife then adds red and yellow peppers, red onions, garlic, olive oil and parsley and serves it in a whole wheat fajita. Very tasty.

Two of my favorites: grilled tuna and grilled eggplant. I've always loved eggplant so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it has been effective in treating high cholesterol. Also a good source of folic acid and potassium.

Grilled swordfish and whole wheat pasta with broccoli, parsley and garlic. Whole wheat pasta is a lot healthier than the regular stuff and the wife is so adept at cooking in the Mediterranean style - garlic, olive oil, basil, etc. - that it still tastes delicious. Parsley is another wonder food; many herbologists recommend it for lowering high blood pressure. One of the main reasons why is that it helps the body rid itself of excess sodium while also helping it absorb more potassium.

Smoked salmon. The heart-healthy benefits of salmon are well documented. It's loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are the healthy fats that help lower blood pressure. It's also credited with everything from building lean muscle to combating depression. Smoked salmon is pretty cheap here so we eat it once or twice a week with lemon. Salmon is one of my favorite foods.

Grilled salmon and a green salad with tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, the ubiquitous black beans, carrots and walnuts. As I said, salmon is one of my favorite foods and since it's so healthy, I usually buy it at least once a week. The wife has several recipes for salmon and they're all great. Walnuts have a lot of health benefits too; they're high in omega-3's and also help keep the blood vessels elastic. I try to eat a small handful each day.

Poached tilapia with green beans, tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, thyme, black pepper and garlic. I had never tried tilapia before this but it really is quite tasty. Like most fish, it's also very low in fat and high in protein. The way she served this dish was quite inventive, she spooned the vegetables and broth into a separate dish with a few other ingredients to make this:
Black bean salad with tomatoes, green beans, red peppers, walnuts and red onions.

Sometimes the wife doesn't feel like cooking. When this happens, she usually prepares this salad which is quick, easy, tasty and very healthy. It's just the basic salad with the usual suspects; spinach, red peppers, carrots, black beans and a handful of walnuts with tuna on top. For the tuna, we use Chicken of the Sea brand, packed in water because it's the lowest in sodium.

As I said earlier, that's just a small sampling of the kinds of dishes that the wife prepares for me. My new diet is paying dividends too; not only is my weight dropping, but tonight I had one of my lowest BP readings yet. The most important thing is to make the change permanent. I still enjoy wine with my meals sometimes and occasionally we go to our favorite Italian restaurant and enjoy some cucina Italiana. I even enjoy a couple pints at the pub while I'm watching the matches sometimes. The difference is that these things are now more than canceled out by my newfound healthy lifestyle.

Now wait til you hear about my adventures in juicing...


Eric said...

Try making some Black Bean soup, heavy on the veggies and heay on the Cilantro. One of my favorites!


Anonymous said...

The grub looks delicious! BTW, I may stop in for a visit during the last week of April. I will let you know my plans when I know more. Later,