Blog Archives

Healthy Pizza? Damn Straight!

Thanks to my boy Soulveggie, pizza no longer needs to be the pariah that it deserves to be. Mark Sutton’s new book Heart Healthy Pizza  is out and it is slammin’! It’s no secret that pizza is one of America’s favorite junk foods, of the top three foods ordered in restaurants, it is just as you would imagine, burgers, fries, and pizza. Pizza is typically made with a ridiculous amount of artery clogging cheese, but does it have to be that way? If you can sidestep the addictive nature of the opiate like casomorphins, can you build a satisfying pie that won’t tighten up your chest?

The answer is a resounding yes!

I made this pizza using a garbanzo, oat, pimiento sauce that was fantastic. I topped it Greek style with spniach, red onion, kalamata olive, mushroom, and tofu feta from the Happy Herbivore. Bomb!

It was also fun to try out the pizza baking stone I got for Christmas. So give your heart a break and cook up some Heart Healthy Pizza.

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Choose Your Poison Wisely

What’s the healthiest cigarette?

The healthiest liquor?

Arsenic?

Ridiculous questions, right? But right there on my Yahoo! homepage an article titled:

The 5 Healthiest Cheeses

 Seriously?! Cheese is little more than saturated fat, cholesterol, animal protein and salt. All are unhealthy and strongly linked to heart disease and cancer. But it gets better (worse.) The article goes on to call it a lean protein! At 70% fat, cheese is NOT lean, instead it is the biggest contributor of saturated fat in the American diet.

Now I’m a recovering cheese addict, so I have nothing agains the taste, but to make health claims about it is just plain wrong.

Heart Attack Grill Serves a Real Heart Attack: Ironic?

The sign on the door clearly states that the food is unhealthy. With names of burgers based on real cardiac procedures, no one pretends that The Heart Attack Grill is safe. But that doesn’t stop the customers, not in the former Arizona location or the current Las Vegas location.

Is it ironic when a customer experiences a heart attack in the restaurant of the same name?

It is,

when one customer says what most people are thinking, that you don’t think it would really happen. It’s just a joke right? All fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or a coronary artery.

It is,

when the owner and perpetrator of this says that anyone “with an ounce of compassion” would feel for the victim. Apparently we need more than an ounce not to serve up this dangerous food, take the money to the bank, and fall back on customer responsibility as an excuse. Maybe a metric ton of compassion is needed.

It is,

when other customers, after the show has ended, go back to destroying their own cardiovascular systems without a bat of the proverbial eyelash. Out of sight, out of mind.

It is ,

when the owner criticizes other patrons for taking pictures “like it was a stunt” and that even “their morbid sense of humor” would never go so far. His marketing plan appears to rely on quite a bit of spectacle.

It is ironic because the many customers of this or similar restaurants don’t expect such a tragic event to actually happen right there. But studies of “holiday heart” show that it should actually be more common after such large fatty meals.

Like The Smiths once sang, “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.”

Super Bowl Survival

According to my top secret research elves, tomorrow’s Super Bowl partying could add up to the following:

26 million avocados (mostly as guacamole, mmm)

8 million pounds of popcorn

1 billion chicken wings

4.4 million pizzas (from the top three deliverers)

50 million cases of beer

Wow.

No wonder heart disease hasn’t budged out of its place as the top killer of Americans. That’s an insane amount of fat. And not for a significant holiday. Just a football game. But one day can’t hurt that much, right? I mean, if you worked hard all week you deserve a day on the couch with a case of beer and a hundred wings, right? Well, such a sporting party can actually kill. “Holiday heart” is a well known, but not wholly understood phenomenon where binge drinking and eating can lead to life threatening heartbeat irregularities. Ouch.  But throughout the holidays there are more heart attacks too. Clearly the rich, fatty, salty food and festive cheer in a glass is killing us. But it gets worse party professionals, not only can a festive day or night put you in the emergency room,just one meal can demonstrably damage your arteries. How do those wings look now?

Is there any way to survive the Super Bowl with your arteries intact? Here is what I’ll do:

Two Dips Good for Your Arteries:

Spicy Bean Dip

1 can black beans

1/2 to 1 C Medium Spicy  fresh salsa (store bought)

Lime

Cilantro

Hot sauce

Blend beans and salsa in a food processor, adding the salsa a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Taste and correct seasoning by adding hot sauce, cilantro and lime juice.

Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans

2-3 cloves garlic

Lemon

Roasted red peppers (jarred)

Cumin

Tabasco

Blend all ingredients in food processor and adjust seasonings

I stay away from nearly all chips and crackers due to the calorie density and the oil used. So I will make my own. Simply bake corn tortillas and split pits breads until crispy. No oil needed. Plus the beans will help clear out cholesterol, what a deal.

So that’s my plan to keep my arteries and watch a good game.

And the beer? Why not? A little juice goes good for the heart, right? (well, not so much, but…)

Do you minimize the damage? Take an indulgence day? Hide under the covers or watch lacrosse?

Diet, Not Genetics Controls Heart Disease

Happy Healthy Long Life: The Big 9p21 Cardiovascular Gene Turn-Off! Vegetables & Fruits – Q & A with Dr. Sonia Anand, the McMaster University Researcher Who Helped Discover the Interaction Between Heart Disease, Genes and Diet.

This new study and great commentary fits in well with the medical myths article I posted earlier this week. Genetics are not your destiny. Instead, they are fluid and changing and react very strongly to what your lifestyle throws at it. I’ve long believed that we ALL have heart disease and cancer in our genes. It doesn’t just run in only some families. The gene that has the strngest link to heart disease has been extensively studied. And guess what? According to this study those genes are in 75% of us! But the really good news is that with just a few servings of fruits and veggies, those nasty genes can be turned off. We are not helpless victims to our genes, but active creators of our own health. Go cook up some kale. Do it now.

GO!