February 2013
Mediterranean Diet for a Healthy Heart

In honor of  American Heart Health Month, I am featuring the Mediterranean Diet, which is the perfect blend of heart healthy food full of flavor, easy to prepare, and has been prescribed as the "diet" to live a long and healthy life.

For years the Mediterranean culture has been studied and the verdict is out!  Not only does the Mediterranean diet contribute to a decreased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease; but the Mediterranean lifestyle also plays a major role in one's quality of life and longevity. The Mediterranean lifestyle includes slowing down to enjoy and savor the food that is served, sharing meals as a family in both the preparation and while eating, and engaging in regular physical activity.

Check out these simple tips on how to incorporate the Mediterranean Diet into your daily life!  Contact me for more information or to schedule a private consultation.

- Elizabeth

10 Principles from the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle That Are Good for Your Heart:

Increase physical activity. Walk more. Take the stairs. Sign up for a walk or run. The point is the more you move the better for your heart. This is one key principle that people living the Mediterranean life do on a regular basis.

Eat mostly plant based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Focus on consuming more foods that are grown from the earth and reduce intake of process and packaged foods.

Use olive oil and canola oil for cooking and flavoring instead of butter and other foods high in saturated fats.

Flavor foods with fresh herbs and spices instead of salt.

Eat fish and seafood at least twice a week.

Get additional protein needs from poultry, eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts and legumes.

Limit intake of red meat to once a week or less.

Consume red wine in moderation (2 drinks per day for men, 1 drink per day for women)

Cook as a family and eat meals together.

Slow down and enjoy the flavors of the food you eat.

The Mediterranean Diet is not about deprivation. It's about  eating foods that nourish the body while providing pleasure at meal time.  
Heart-Healthy Cooking Tips

Adapted and reproduced with permission of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org)

To lower risk of heart disease or to manage existing disease, try these tips:

Limit Fat, Especially Saturated and Trans Fat

Select lean cuts of beef and pork, especially cuts with "loin" or "round" in their name.

Remove all visible fat from meat before cooking. Take the skin off chicken or turkey before eating.

Cut back on processed meats high in saturated fat, such as hot dogs, salami and bacon.

Bake, broil, roast, stew or stir-fry lean meats, fish or poultry.

Drain the fat off cooked, ground meat.

When you make a stew, soup or gravy, refrigerate leftovers and skim the fat with a spoon before reheating and serving.

Eat fish regularly. Try different ways of cooking like baking, broiling, grilling and poaching for variety.

Eat plant foods as sources of protein including soybeans, pinto beans, lentils and nuts.

Replace higher-fat cheeses with lower-fat options like reduced-fat feta and part-skim mozzarella.

Thicken sauces with evaporated non-fat milk instead of whole milk.

Move toward using lower-fat milk and yogurt. Start with 2 percent products, then move to 1 percent and finally to fat-free to adjust to the new taste.

Use liquid vegetables oils and soft margarine instead of stick margarine or shortening.

Limit cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pies, muffins, doughnuts and French fries. These foods tend to be the biggest sources of trans fats. Many food manufacturers have removed trans fats from their foods. Check ingredient lists on food packages and avoid products containing partially hydrogenated oils.

Use non-stick spray or a nonstick pan for cooking. Try low sodium broth as a substitute for oil when sautéing

Use oils such as canola and olive oil in recipes.

Make salad dressings with olive, walnut or pecan oil.

Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Fish or Supplements
Eat two 4-ounce portions of fatty fish each week, like salmon, albacore tuna (in water, if canned), mackerel and sardines.

Fish oil supplements are acceptable for those that don't eat fish. The recommended dose is 1000mg of omega-3 fatty acids from a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day.

Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are flax, walnuts and canola oil. Although excellent and healthy fats, they do not have the EPA and DHA that fish do.

Reduce Salt (Sodium)
The majority (75%) of sodium comes from foods eaten away from home and processed foods. First priority is to limit those.

Prepare foods at home so you can control the amount of salt in your meals.

Use as little salt in cooking as possible. You can cut at least half the salt from most recipes.

Do not salt food at the table.

Do not use mixes or "instant" products that already contain salt or additives with sodium.

Select no-sodium or low-sodium canned foods, such as vegetables or tuna.

Season foods with herbs, spices, garlic, onions, peppers and lemon or lime juice to add flavor versus added salt.

Make Healthier Carbohydrate Choices
When baking, use recipes that call for whole grains and flours made from whole grains.

Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes. It can often be cut in half.

Instead of sugar, use noncaloric sweeteners in drinks and sucralose when baking.

Stir-fry fiber-rich vegetables, such as peppers, cabbage, broccoli and carrots.

Add dried beans and lentils to homemade soup to boost fiber.

Sprinkle fish with thyme, marjoram and lemon juice. Place frozen vegetables next to fish on each foil sheet. Sprinkle fish and vegetables with green onions, salt and pepper. Top with margarine.

Scripture of the Month


Psalms 104: 1, 14-16 (NIV)

Praise the Lord, my soul


Lord, my God, you are very great;


    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

Lord, my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

He makes grass grow for the cattle,
    and plants for people to cultivate-
    bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
    oil to make their faces shine,
    and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

In This Issue
Recipe of the Month: Special Heart Healthy Meal

All Recipes are from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies by Meri Rafetto, RD and Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD.

Appetizer: Tomato and Mozzarella Bites

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time:  5 min
16 servings

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Sea salt to taste
16 fresh basil leaves
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil

1.  In a small saucepan, cook the vinegar and pomegranate juice over medium heat until it reduces by half, about 5 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, layer the sliced tomatoes on a serving platter and sprinkle each with sea salt.  Layer a basil leaf over each tomato and top with a mozzarella slice.  Drizzle the olive oil and the balsamic pomegranate reduction over the tomato and mozzarella bites.
3.  Pierce each mozzarella bite with a toothpick and serve.

Nutrition per serving:  133 Calories; 10 g Fat (4g Sat); 22 mg Cholesterol; 182 mg Sodium; 4 g Carbohydrates; 7 g Protein

Entree: Baked Salmon with Fresh Vegetables
Prep time: 5 min  
Cook time:  35 min
4 servings

1 lemon, cut into 1/4 inch slices
11/2 pounds skin on salmon fillets
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Roma or plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium onion, 1/4 inch slices
1/2 pound mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup white wine

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F
2.  Place a large piece of foil onto a baking sheet.  Lay half of the lemon slices in the center of the foil and center of the salmon (skin side down) on top.  Sprinkle the surface of the salmon with sea salt.
3.  Layer the tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, parsley, and remaining lemon slices on top of the fish.  Drizzle with the wine and fold over the edges of the foil to seal the salmon in the packet.
4.  Bake the salmon for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, discard the top layers of lemons and serve, watching out for steam as you open the packet.

Nutrition per serving:  271 Calories; 6 g Fat (1 g Sat); 88 mg Cholesterol; 422 mg Sodium; 11 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Dietary Fiber; Protein 37 g.

Side Dish: Wild Rice Pilaf
Prep Time: 12 minutes  Yield: 8 servings

2 cups wild rice, cooked
2 cups orzo, cooked
2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1.  In a large bowl combine the rice, orzo, spinach, olives, dill, and olive oil.  Toss to coat.
2.  Add the lemon juice and gently stir in the tomatoes and parsley  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with cheese and serve.

Nutrition per serving: 186 Calories; 9 g Fat (2 g Sat); 6 mg Cholesterol; 211 mg Sodium; 21 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Dietary Fiber; 5 g Protein

Dessert: Date and Walnut Drops
Prep time: 10 minutes  
24 servings

24 dates
24 almonds or walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange

1.  Cut each date lengthwise and remove and discard the seed. Stuff each date with 1 almond or walnut.
2.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest.  Gently roll the stuffed dates in the sugar and serve.

Nutrition per serving:  109 Calories; 3 g Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 0 mg Sodium; 23 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Dietary Fiber; 1 g Protein.. Avoid eating while standing up or multi-tasking.

Quote of the Month

"Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart."

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About Elizabeth

Registered Dietitian


Elizabeth has a passion for helping people achieve permanent weight loss  and optimal health. Having struggled for over twenty years with her weight, Elizabeth used a faith-based approach to lose 115lbs. which she has kept off for almost 10 years. She uses the same strategies, along with her twenty-year background in counseling, to provide a faith-based, whole person approach to her nutrition and wellness services that include:

  • Online & Onsite Weight Loss Programs
  • Individual Nutritional Consultation & Coaching
  • Emotional Eating Support Groups
  • Nutrition & Wellness Seminars
  • Shopping Smart Supermarket Tours

Elizabeth maintains a full-time private practice and consults for supermarkets. She has a Master's Degree from New York University, and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach.

Elizabeth M. Madison, ElizabethMadisonNutrition | 718-276-6037 | elizabeth@weightlosstransformation.com | http://www.weightlosstransformation.com
219-10 South Conduit Avenue - Lower Level
Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

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