Eating well is a great way to maintain a healthy heart

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A recent diagnosis of high LDL (bad cholesterol) while living with high blood pressure required an abrupt change in my eating and lifestyle habits.

The goal was to reduce my LDLs by 50 percent. This is definitely easier to do in the summer. Winter is a different story. I crave savory and spicy foods, which often contain ingredients I should avoid. And being active is more fun in the summer.

Eating good for your heart means following an eating pattern that is low in saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugars. It means eating foods high in whole grains, fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats.

I immediately reduced my animal fats by switching from butter to olive and canola oils. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, so it wasn’t a big change. I’m trying to eat more oily fish now. Lake Diefenbaker Steelhead Trout is easily accessible and hits the spot.

I have reduced my coffee because I really love it with whole cream. Now it’s a treat a few times a week. In the morning, when I’m not drinking coffee, I like to drink a few glasses of water. More nuts and seeds were added to my diet, as was low-fat milk.

Losing weight can also be recommended. I’ve found that eating until I’m not hungry makes a huge difference rather than eating until I feel full.

With these changes, I lost weight in the spring, summer and fall. Now it’s winter and I’m happy if I can keep my achievements.

My next step is another blood test to see if I’ve met my goal of reducing bad cholesterol.

Crunchy chickpea snack

  • 1 15 fl. oz. Canned chickpeas, drained 500 ml
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 2 ml
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 ml
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion powder 1 ml
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander 1 ml
  • 1/2 tsp. sea ​​salt 2 ml
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground 1 ml
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp. Olive oil 7-15ml

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Put aside.

Rinse the chickpeas and dry thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, paprika powder, garlic powder, sea salt, onion powder, and pepper. Put aside.

Bake the dried chickpeas in the preheated oven on a prepared baking sheet for 15 minutes. Don’t add any of the other ingredients just yet.

Remove the chickpeas from the oven and drizzle 1/2 tablespoon (7mL) olive oil over the chickpeas and toss until evenly coated. If needed, slowly add more olive oil until all the chickpeas are lightly coated in olive oil. Add the spices to the chickpeas and stir until evenly coated.

Bake at 400 F (200 C) for a further 10 minutes, then stir. Return the stirred chickpeas to the oven and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until desired crispiness is achieved.

Switch off the oven and leave the door open. Allow the chickpeas to cool in the oven for maximum crispiness.

Black Bean Soup

  • 1 TBSP. olive oil 15 ml
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, not drained
  • 1 1/2 c. Vegetable or chicken stock 375 ml
  • 1 teaspoon. ground cumin 5 ml
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano 1 ml
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP. fresh lime juice 15 ml
  • 1/4 c. chopped coriander 60 ml
  • Garnish Options – Avocado, cilantro, shredded cheese, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, sliced ​​green onions, halved grape tomatoes, shredded cabbage or coleslaw, crumbled cotija cheese or feta, avocado, baked tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes.

Stir in the black beans, vegetable stock, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Turn the soup to low and simmer for 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. If you want to thicken the soup, use an immersion blender to puree part of the soup for a thicker consistency, but don’t puree completely, just a little to thicken. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can gently place 2-3 cups of the soup in a blender and puree until smooth. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot.

Stir in the coriander and fresh lime juice.

Pour the soup into bowls and serve warm with your choice of toppings.

Shepherd’s Pie with Chicken and Mushrooms

  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled if desired and cut into 1-inch pieces 1 kg, 2.5 cm
  • 1/2 c. low-fat milk 125 ml
  • 2 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil 30 ml
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 ml
  • 2 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil 30 ml
  • 8 ounces. Cremini mushrooms, halved and sliced ​​250 g
  • 1 c. chopped onion 250 ml
  • 1 teaspoon. chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried 5ml, 1ml
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided 2 ml
  • 1/2 c. Cooking sherry 125 ml
  • 1 1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken broth 375 ml
  • 3 TBSP. All-Purpose Flour 45 ml
  • 2 c. diced boiled chicken 500 ml
  • 1 c. frozen peas and carrots 250 ml
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper 1 ml

For the topping, place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with about two inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 12 to 14 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Add milk, 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt (2ml) and blend.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Coat a two-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

Make the filling by heating oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms begin to brown, 7 to 9 minutes.

Pour in the sherry and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk together the cold broth and flour in a bowl. Add to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes until thickened.

Stir in the chicken, peas and carrots, remaining 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top.

Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until potatoes are partially browned and filling is bubbling.

chickpea curry

  • 1 medium serrano pepper, cut in thirds
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 5 cm
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. Rapeseed oil or grapeseed oil 90 ml
  • 2 TEA SPOONS. ground coriander 10 ml
  • 2 TEA SPOONS. ground cumin 10 ml
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric 2 ml
  • 2 1/4 c. canned diced tomatoes without added salt with their juice 560 ml
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt 4 ml
  • 2 15 fl. oz canned chickpeas, rinsed 1 L
  • 2 TEA SPOONS. garam masala 10ml
  • fresh coriander for garnish

In a food processor, mince the serrano, garlic and ginger. Scrape down the sides and pulse again. Add the onion and pulse until finely chopped but not watery.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook, stirring, for two minutes.

Pulse tomatoes in food processor until finely chopped. Add to the pan along with the salt. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for four minutes. Add chickpeas and garam masala, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with coriander if desired.

fruit crumbs

  • 1/4 c. Flour, white or whole grain 60 ml
  • 3/4 c. Oatmeal 175 ml
  • 2 TEA SPOONS. Cinnamon, divided 10 ml
  • 4 tbsp. maple syrup, honey or sugar, divided into 60 ml
  • 1 TBSP. olive oil 15 ml
  • 6 c. frozen or fresh plums, quartered 1.5 L
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 2 ml

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In a bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, 1 teaspoon (5mL) cinnamon, 2 tablespoons (30mL) maple syrup and olive oil and mix well.

For the filling, combine the plums, remaining maple syrup, and the cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Place in a 1.5 liter ovenproof bowl and add water. Pour the crumble mixture over the plums.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and plum bubbly.

Sarah Galvin is a landlord, teacher and farmer’s market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of the Resources team. She blogs at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: [email protected]

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