Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Poison Apple

You know the story, right?  The apple looked so good, Snow White had to take a bite.  Little did she know that what looked so good, so healthy, was going to be sooooo bad for her.  Luckily, fairytales have a "happily ever after" and all Snow needed was a smooch from Prince Charming and the healthy glow returned to her cheeks.  Can you imagine living in a world where making out made you healthier?!  Bring it on, I say :)  Alas, in the real world, sometimes it's hard to figure what healthy is and if you're doing it right.  Most, despite the best intentioned efforts, are tricked by a poison apple fairly regularly.

Before we talk food, I have a digression.  I was FLOORED by the love and support that came my way on Wear Red Day.  Even my grouchiest, grumpiest of friends managed to sport a red tie.  Far away friends in Chicago, Iowa, New York, and Boston slipped on red shoes, wrapped up in red scarves, or donned red hats.  Facebook friends advocated for heart disease awareness using my blog, to make sure that women know that I'm what heart disease looks like.  Brian and Cameron both wore red when they took me out to dinner on Friday evening. A grade school friend, who I haven't see in about 16 years, used her role as chief resident for University of Miami to educated her 50 medical residents on SCAD and heart disease in women.  My three little cousins in Texas each wore red on their day off from school.   Thank you for celebrating my survival and raising awareness. 

Getting back on track - the poison apple.  It's that restaurant chain the flaunts a healthy menu or the great finds you stumble upon at the grocery store that you feel so good about purchasing as a substitute for less healthy fare. How can you really know what you're eating if you aren't growing it in your backyard?!  And sodium, oh sodium..... in pretty much everything we eat.  Sodium does get a bad rap - after all, when we get the right amount, it helps keep a fluid balance in our body, transmits nerve impulses and assists with muscle contraction/relaxation.  But if you're not paying attention, it's very easy to overdo it on sodium intake.  The average person in the U.S. gets 3400 miligrams a day; the FDA recommends 2300 and under 1500 for people on a heart healthy diet.  Even if your food doesn't taste salty, it's still laced with sodium - in bagels, lunch meat, bread, pasta, soup and cheese.  Even vegetables have sodium, which really does make tracking sodium intake challenging.  But if you made a new year's resolution regarding weight in any way, you're probably at the point where you've given up OR can't figure out why you feel bloated all the time..... blame it on the sodium.

The best thing you can do is check the nutrition label (or give the myfitnesspal app a shot!).  And don't be fooled by "low" or "reduced" sodium product.  I have taken to purchasing my lunch meat at the deli counter so I can control how much meat we have in the house and because each selection carried the American Heart Association seal of approval.  That being said, I was shocked to peruse the nutritional fact brochure and find that the 42% less sodium items weren't even the lowest sodium items available - they just had less sodium than a like counterpart (oven roasted turkey vs. 42% less sodium oven roasted turkey - both had more sodium than a chicken option).  This may seem a bit silly, but when you're trying to stick to a heart healthy diet and still enjoy/savor the foods you eat, you don't like being fooled by lunch meat!  I feel the same way about St. Louis Bread Co/Panera.  Do yourself a favor - hop on their website and use their nutrition calculator.  You may think what you're eating there is better than a fast food option - you would be wrong.  And at that restaurant, low fat = sky high sodium.

All this being said, you can find good-food-made-fast..... which is very helpful on the evenings when you are running in heels to fetch your baby from daycare.  San Sei, Noodles, The Green Bean (new in the CWE), and Starbucks all have healthy option that you can pick up quickly and not feel bad about.  I would even feel comfortable letting Cameron try something off my plate (or really, let him put in his mouth what he grabs off my plate!)  One of my latest faves is the Giddy Up Breakfast Bar at Atomic Cowboy in the Grove.  If you haven't yet, pop in M-F between 7:30a & 11:30a and visit with Kate.  I won't claim that her baked goods are heart healthy (but I've munched a sample here and there and they are GOOD) but she's kind enough to make my breakfast to order.  Yogurt parfaits with honey, oats and fruit or scrambled egg whites with veggies sans cheese with wheat toast.... the woman even makes her own hot chocolate and marshmallows.  So - you can find heart healthy food fast - you just have to know where (and be willing) to look!

And, by the way, a small apple only has between 1-2 mg of sodium - classified as a sodium free food.  So eat up.... :)

“If there is one single secret to long life, that secret is moderation.”
― George Gallop

“As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.”
― Joan Gussow

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