The American Heart Association is using National Nutrition Month to help spread the word about the important role your diet plays in reducing your risk for a heart attack or stroke. In my new book, Optimize Your Heart, I spend a fair amount of time explaining caloric intake, macronutrients, micronutrients, fiber, water, etc, etc. I even point to the DASH diet as a great guide for anyone who needs structure and discipline in their diet. That said, even just a small change can be all you need to start eating more healthy. Here’s an extract from my book:
When I first changed my diet, I didn’t just go on a diet. I found them too overwhelming and quite tasteless. My tongue and brain had been used to delicious comfort foods for the better part of 40 years. Switching to a DASH diet overnight was going to set me up for failure, not success. Instead, I started with small changes to my diet. Whole wheat wraps instead of white bread. Veggies instead of fries. I even—dare I admit this as someone who lives in the South?—switched from sweet tea to unsweet tea. Mercy!
When I asked Lindsey Pine about this, I was thankful to hear that I had taken the best approach for switching to a heart-healthy diet. “You’re not destined to eat a boring, bland diet if you’re eating for heart health,” says Pine. “Make one change, conquer it, then move on to the next change to add on to your new healthier lifestyle.” She suggests slowly adding more vegetables, berries, and omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, nuts, and seeds. The good news is you don’t have to completely eliminate the tasty indulgences from your diet. “You can still eat treats. It’s about balancing those healthy foods with treats,” encourages Pine.
I could have posted this on March 1st and placed an entire month of healthy eating pressure in front of you, but I didn’t. Instead, use the remainder of March to make small changes to your diet and see what sticks.
Need an example of how you can still eat delicious food while making manageable changes? Take look at what I ate this week. Instead of a BLT dripping in mayo and accompanied by french fries, I ate this delicious Turkey BLT with spring onion aioli and a side salad. An easy and healthy switch!