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Heart healthy eating

FresserGuy | Nov 20, 2014 10:01 AM

Hello fellow chowhounders,

I would like to survey the community, to see if I can get some suggestions around eating out in a healthy way. I am following a low fat, healthy diet, but have found it means big adjustments to eating in restaurants.

A few months ago, I had a heart attack, and since I am only 51 and otherwise healthy, I want to improve my odds as much as possible. I read Essylstein's book where he claims heart disease can be reversed, but his plan is a low fat vegan diet, with no oil and no nuts. I guess I could do it, but it is so restrictive that it would be very difficult, and I'm not convinced I have to go that extreme. I've been following a plan in a book called "How to Prevent a 2nd Heart Attack", by a US dietician, who essentially advocates a Mediterranean diet. She advises no red meat, no cheese or butter, and no whole eggs. For animal protein, she suggests mainly fish, with some seafood, and I am ok with having white meat poultry once in a while. For oil, she advises sticking to mainly olive oil (or some other healthy oils, like avocado oil). And for carbs, the idea is to stick to whole grain, so I've been having whole wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, etc. Of course lots of veggies and fruits and legumes as well. Red wine, some walnuts, and some dark chocolate is also allowed, but sugar is avoided. I don't have to limit salt, as my blood pressure is low.

This is a big change for me: I was eating awfully before, with lots of pizzas, muffins, cookies, cakes, ice cream, chips, and fatty meals like ribs or cheeseburgers with fries, or bacon and eggs with homefries. Unfortunately, I like a lot of 'bad' things, from poutine to cheesecake ;) So, I'm really trying to make a big lifestyle change.

I was in the hospital 2 months ago, and since being home, have eaten out, but my hope is to get suggestions of specific restaurants. I have gone several times to our favourite sushi place, Ichiban (on Spring Garden) where they have a fantastic brown rice mixture. I've gone a couple of times to 7 Numbers, where I had grilled fish, grilled veggies, brown bread with olive oil, etc. I also like some of the salads and bowls at Fresh. I had a vegan chili at Freshii, but when I looked up nutritional info for their menu, a lot of stuff is high fat. I've also had take out Greek and Middle eastern food, for example from Sofra (grilled white meat chicken kebabs, whole wheat pita, potatoes, salad, veggies).

I know there are some vegan and vegetarian restaurants in town, but I find often dishes are quite high fat, eg. using fatty cheeses or deep frying, or using a lot of oil. I'm looking for suggestions, not only of restaurants, but even specific dishes you've had that would fit my diet. Of course anywhere I can get grilled fish, or good salads would be on the list. I can go anywhere in the GTA, but live central (near Yonge and 401), so I don't get downtown that often. I am not aiming to become a vegetarian, but maybe a 'pescetarian', eating mainly vegetarian, with some fish.

2 kinds of foods I find myself craving are dim sum and Indian food, but I worry about how that stuff is made. For example, are there Indian places that make stuff without lots of oil or ghee? I read about a vegetarian Chinese place that has dim sum, Wutai, by Hwy 7 and Woodbine - anyone been there? Stonebowl, on Eglinton near Bathurst, has bibimbap with brown rice and lots of veggies - I was there a few years ago, and will try them again. Overall, I'm looking for yummy ethnic food, or reasonably priced places with lots of healthy choices - more casual dining. At the very expensive fine dining places, I assume they'd be willing to accommodate, and make things grilled or without butter, but I don't eat out at high end places very often.

thanks for any tips :)

Freshii - Forest Hill Village,
Freshii
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