The diagnosis of heart failure is/was shocking but additional information and research revealed that :
- it is not a death sentence
- it can be lived with and
- it can be overcome with diet and exercise
Now when I arrived at the hospital I could not walk 20 meters without being out of breath, the diagnosis was actually a relief before it was a shock. I now knew why I felt so bad. AND the medical team made it clear that I could overcome and even thrive.
A lifestyle change that includes adjustments in diet and an increase in exercise. The diet will be a lifestyle change “forever” not just temporarily reducing calories and weight for now. It has been fun, learning some new foods and recipes.
There are 2 authors/physicians and cardiac experts that i have read about before and have read A LOT about recently. Drs. Dean Ornish and John McDougall have been proponents of very low fat, plant-based/plant focused diets.
Dr.Ornish published a great book, EAT MORE, WEIGH LESS and it is loaded with great recipes as well as tremendous common sense information with evidence that such a diet improves and even heals heart damage.
Dr.McDougall has 2 “cornerstone books” , MCDOUGALL PROGRAM FOR MAXIMUM WEIGHT LOSS and THE STARCH SOLUTION. Both focus on plant-based, low/no fat diet choices much like Dr.Ornish.
Where to find these guys? search the web or go to:
BUT WHAT CAN WE EAT?
- Beans- dried or canned (choose salt-free) – loaded with fiber and protein
- Garlic – eat, add to foods and take as supplement
- Spinach and Dark,leafy greens
- nuts and seeds – good fats and loaded with minerals and protein (almonds,walnuts, brazils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
- salmon- great omega fats as well as protein
- soy protein- organic tofu, tempeh, miso , edamame beans
- whole grains
- fresh fruits and vegetables
A future post may include information on specific nutrients required for heart failure patients( magnesium, potassium, good fats).