Graduates of the cardiac rehab program have been educated on dietary habits that promote good health overall in addition to cardiovascular health. This type of education was provided during the rehab program. To assist in staying on track with healthy eating this section of the website reviews dietary strategies and also is a library for recipes found by, or created by the alumni group or available from public websites.
The DASH Diet to lower high blood pressure
There has been considerable research on how blood pressure can be modified through diet and control of sodium intake. The link below will take you to the Heart & Stroke Society pages that discuss the research and provide nutritional guidelines.
Philosophically speaking we all probably agree that avoiding highly processed foods, whether they be packaged or from fast food restaurants, is better for our health. Where we may differ in our opinions is on the role of animal based foods in our diet. There is considerable evidence that suggests a whole foods, plant based diet can help us to avoid a variety of diseases. To get a rich understanding of this you may choose to view “Forks over Knives” on Netflix or you can order a download or DVD. The link below will take you to a trailer about the film.
The basic message delivered is that eating more plant based whole foods and less meat and dairy products will improve your health. How far you choose to go in avoiding meat and dairy products is a personal choice. One dietary strategy the Mediterranean Diet is discussed below. This is followed by the fully Vegan option found at the Forks over Knives website.
The Mediterranean Diet
Cardiac research has shown that populations who follow the Mediterranean Diet appear to live longer healthier lives with less incidence of cardiovascular disease. As always consult your healthcare team for specific advice but this diet may be a good option. You can view details of this diet as presented by the renowned Mayo Clinic by clicking the Mediterranean Diet link above. Below is a link to the pyramid that summarizes the diet.
Here are 21 meals along with a shopping list of ingredients for each of three weeks. These meals are based on the Mediterranean Diet. When you arrive at the page you need to click on Download the tool Kit
The Plant Based Whole Foods Diet
The Forks Over Knives whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.
We know that’s a mouthful! Rest assured, though, that you’ll be eating in a way that people have thrived on for thousands of years. We believe that you will find—as we do—that the diet and foods are very tasty and satisfying. Following are the food categories from which you’ll eat, along with a few examples from each. These include the ingredients you’ll be using to make familiar dishes, such as pizza, mashed potatoes, lasagna, and burritos:
- Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, etc.
- Vegetables: lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, etc.
- Tubers and starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, winter squash, corn, green peas, etc.
- Whole grains: millet, quinoa, barley, rice, whole wheat, oats, etc.
- Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, cannellini beans, black beans, etc.
The link below takes you to the website “Forks over Knives”. At the website you will find more details on the diet as well as recipes and even a weekly meal planner. Warning they do charge for the meal plans but is a minimal amount and some people will see it as enormous value.
Consult a Dietitian
What ever dietary strategy you choose you may wish to seek professional health advice from a dietitian. Fortunately that help is available through Eat Right Ontario. Dietician resources are provided by Eat Right Ontario. You can call them or e-mail them using the link below;