I never gave a lot of thought to healthy eating (yep, lotsa fat and lotsa sugar, lotsa food, lotsa alcohol), a healthy heart (hey, I felt just fine!) Never worried too much about my weight (yep, I was over!) One day in 2006 God gave me a double-whammy wake-up call---I first had a minor stroke and two days later I suffered a major heart attack.

Needless to say, a week in the hospital on liquids and hospital food and I lost about 12 pounds. Which was good. The cigarettes went in the trash and I went on heart medications. After one week, the pounds came coming back---food smelled and tasted SO wonderful without smoking. Not only did I gain my 12 pounds back but gained about 10 more!! "Not good!" I said.

So I said to myself, "Self! We MUST DO SOMETHING about this!" I can't fit into my favorite jeans! I can't afford new clothes. GOT TO LOSE IT! But got to stay healthy for my heart's sake." (I want to stick around awhile). What's more, my problem was---I can't do without good foods with good flavor (something so-called "diet foods" were not well-known for).

A lot of research resulted in carefully disecting and culling through TV, newspaper and magazine ads. What were they saying that they shouldn't and what were they not saying that they should? I studied them all and discounted almost all of them. TIME FOR COMMON SENSE HERE!!! I surfed all over the internet to find various excellent resources and considered all the alternatives and expensive "amazing remedies" that were offered. I immediately decided I could figure this out for myself.

I am trying here to share with you what I've learned and what is working for me---how I am eating healthy while cutting sugar, fat and calories. What you find here in this section is my compilation of facts, tips and hints that you would have to look all over for, and still wind up more confused than when you began. I hope to ease some or all of your confusion.

First of all, I am not a physician, I am not diagnosing your problems, I am not dishing out prescriptions for anything, and I am not trying to tell you what to do. I am just sharing with you what I've learned and what is working for me since I started on on this quest with average blood levels, no food allergies, and no serious food aversions---that is, for a valuable antique! *LOL*

Principle #1---You cannot totally eliminate any specific nutrient from your diet; i.e., carbohydrates, fats, sugars, protein. Your body needs a little bit of everything and you are fooling yourself if you think differently, and don't let Atkins, South Beach, or any other wild diet plan try to convince you differently. Th goal is slow-but-sure weight loss while improving the overall body health, espeically the heart. The key to success is "Everything in proportion and moderation." Below are some short lists of a few helpful items, tips and hints that helped me and I know will help you. Included is a group of self-help lists and charts that can help[ you make up your own mind regarding the foods you should eat, the foods you can eat, and foods you forgot about. So stick around and rowse through it all, and I promise it will make sense to you and help you decide that YOU CAN DO IT TOO!). Remember---You are going to war, and you need to be properly armed with all the weapons you can get! If I can do it, so can you!

(If you don't already have it)

A good set of measruing spoons
- Important especially for measuring fats
A good set of measuring cups for dry ingredients
- Important especially for measuring cereals & proteins
A good set of measuring cups for liquid ingredients
- Eyeballing it doesn't always work
Scales to weight foods
- Not absolutely necessary, but a great help
Inexpensive wrist-mount blood pressure kit
- Allows you to track it one or twice daily
"Complete Book of Food Counts" (
- This gives you fat, carbs, sodium, calories, more
Inexpensive calulcator to calculate daily intake
- I use a computer spreadsheet

(If you don't have one, get one.)

Inform the Dr. up front what your goal is
Have thorough blood screening tests
- Hemoglobin (Blood Count)
- Blood Sugar level
- LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
- CDL Chelesterol (good cholesterol)
Obtain Blood Pressure numbers
Request orders for any required x-rays
Request orders for Bone Density Tests
Request Doctor's specific nutrition recommendations
Request Doctor's exercise recommendations
Write down and keep a record of test results
Ask for and record all "normal" levels for everything

So far, you have invested the minimum $$$ in discovering what your body is really like, what your really body needs, and all it takes to figure out what to eat. how much to eat, and what you've eaten---daily. It sounds like a lot of trouble and a lot of expense---but when you consider the alternative (I won't mention that!), it's a small price to pay. In other words, don't screw around and try to fix something that you have no clear idea of how that "something" (your body) is constructed and needs fixing in the first place.
Set a firm goal of the actual weight you should be
Daily chart of blood pressure, pulse and weight
Daily list of all food and liquid intake
Time of day to walk and other exercise, and for how long
Other type of exercises needed or desired
Get rid of all fattening foods in the pantry and fridge
- Donate it if you can
Finally----JUST DO IT!
How to read and interpret nutrition labels for your benefit
Maximum daily sugar grams = Normally is 40 g
Maximum daily fat grams = Normally is 40 g
Maximum daily sodium intake = Normally is 3,600 mg
Minimum daily fiber = 20 g (arguably)
Minimum daily protein = 20 g (arguably

Yeah, I KNOW it sounds like a lot of trouble, a lot of effort, maybe more than the few $$ you want to spend, but your alternative is go out and spend much more money an a completely new wardrobe of much larger clothes! Every decision you make, every maximum or minimum of sugars, fats, etc. you select depends on the results of your physical. In other words, poeple with other than normal blood levels have to adjust their totals according to the firm orders of the physician---and DON'T FORGET THAT! And here's another thing to keep in the front of your mind while getting through these preliminaries is---YOU'RE GOING TO FEEL SO MUCH HEALTHIER.

Author unknown; Originally published in November, 2008

Following all or at least some of these suggestions can only result in generally better health. They're especially important if you have children, and even more important if the children are showing a tendancy to being overweight.

    * Use smaller plates for dinner. This helps you eat less,
    * Eat energy-sustaining whole grains instead of simple and refined carbbohydrates.
    * Plate food in the kitchen instead of putting piled-up platters and dishes on the table to avoid taking seconds.
    * Choose full-flavored hard cheeses like Parmesan, and just use less.
    * Use better preparation tools like a grill pan, steamer, etc. to serve more healthful foods.
    * One night a week, go vegetarian
    * Buy and use "lite", low-fat, low-sodium, low-carb foods
    * Prepare more extra lean meats and poultry.
    * Use olive oil or canola oil instead and less oil, especially in salad dressings
    * Individually wrap and freeze tempting sweets.
    * Keep sugary, fat, high=sodium foods out of the house.
    * Stock up on healthful snacks such as fruits and nuts.

Copyright 2009 Carol Stevens
Shaboom's Kitchen
All Rights Reserved