My husband Roy had a heart procedure this last week, which has left us looking carefully at our food consumption and the way we prepare food. Everything “heart healthy” is attracting our interest.
Our research has produced a mind-boggling amount of information and for anyone who has looked into it, you will undoubtedly agree with me that some of it is contradictory.
Coffee with caffeine is very bad for you, but it’s also good to drink a cup every day. Alcohol is on a list of what’s good for you and what’s bad for you, depending on the amounts and type. It’s very difficult to sort out.
Of course, we are looking at low-cholesterol diets, but what we’ve so far discovered is that if we like it and eat it a lot, it’s probably bad for the heart. Anything processed, canned, ready-made or fast food is completely wrong for this kind of diet. This is bad news for a woman who considers McDonald fries the top of the Cordon Bleu menu.
We looked back over a week of our meals just to see what our habits are. We had fast-food twice, fried foods several times, and red meat nearly every day, so we have broken all the rules. Cutting out salt might be the toughest thing: we thought teriyaki sauce would be good—it’s high in sodium. We thought angel food cake would be good—it’s listed as high in sodium. So, you never know.
We have gone through a dizzying number of info-bites online talking about the benefits of clean eating, low cholesterol dieting, vegetarian eating, low sodium cooking, etc. I have looked at countless recipes that reduce flour, sugar, eggs, etc. In every case, I have to wonder: is this going to taste the same as it did with regular ingredients? And in most cases, I find a disclaimer on the recipe talking about differences in texture, spice, longevity, and so on�.
Roy and I are going to work at this new diet thing because it’s important to us to live longer, healthier lives. However, it is rapidly becoming clear to both of us that if we liked it in the past, there is probably a reason why we should not eat it. As Roy put it, “If we like it, there’s a health red-flag on it somewhere.”
It’s okay, though. I also know that if we lose interest in our Pepsi and McDonald’s, we will find other interests to replace them. And in doing so, we will be healthier, and we will probably not weigh as much as we did before, because eating is so much more boring. That may be the only upside to this whole “eating healthy” thing. That, and the fact that we may live longer.
Apparently, as scientists examine the remains of our caveman ancestors, they find little evidence of heart disease (don’t ask me how they can tell this) because these people wandered the earth at a steady pace, always on the move and they didn’t eat refined grains or sugar. So if we want to do it like the cavemen, we have to walk more, and eat berries and roots instead of Big Macs and lattes.
I do have one last observation, however, before I resign myself to the Flintstone lifestyle: the cavemen may have eaten in the most healthy fashion and they may not have died of a heart attack, but I feel compelled to point out that they had a life expectancy of about 30 years anyway!
Somebody hand me a heavily glazed, filled doughnut. Oh, I’m not going to eat it, I just want to look at it and remember the good old days before I went back to the cave!
So if you have no fat, salt, cholesterol or gluten, do you have something edible?