So, what has changed? Most notably, in keeping with the latest research findings I’ve increased my recommendations for the percentage of healthy fats in the diet and further reduced the amount of carbohydrates. So, those of you who visit my recipe center regularly may notice that the “Desserts and Snacks” section is a bit leaner—since most of the recipes with too many carbohydrates have been eliminated.
When it comes to desserts, I usually pass. However, if someone offers me a small piece of dark chocolate that’s 70–80 percent cocoa, I won’t refuse since this is a heart-healthy option. Also, you’ll notice the dessert recipes I’ve given you are a bit higher in carbohydrates than other recipes—but some are high in fiber, and others include fruits which I highly endorse. That’s because when it comes to desserts, I follow the 80/20 rule—meaning if 80–90 percent of your meals are very healthy, you can eat a bit more carbohydrates and a little more sugars in the remaining meals.
Another consideration with desserts is it's important to balance carbohydrates with fiber. You want to make sure you get 40–50 grams of fiber in the diet a day, including both soluble and insoluble fibers. That’s because higher fiber meals result in less absorption of sugars and carbohydrates which allows for a slower insulin response.
You may also notice that I’ve completely removed the "Pasta" section—which are foods I encourage you to limit as much as possible. Plus, if weight loss is on your agenda, I suggest completely eliminating pasta and rice dishes—and instead put more emphasis on healthy fats, including organic extra virgin olive oil. I’ve also adapted some of the recipes to allow for short-grain brown rice in small portions—since this type of rice, as well as amaranth and quinoa, are good grain substitutions.
These changes were inspired by my colleagues, Dr. David Perlmutter (author of The Grain Brain) and Dr. Bill Davis (author Wheat Belly), who have both said that the key to preventing inflammation is avoidance of gluten and overly hybridized types of grains.
Another big change to my heart-healthy recipe center is that I’ve increased the fats.
So, instead of using nonfat dairy items, I’ve substituted low-fat and regular fat dairy products. You will also notice that many of the recipes include organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
—which the latest research has shown to have incredible health properties.
I also want to point out that while the latest findings report the nutritional value of organic foods to be equivalent to their non-organic counterparts, I continue to recommend that whenever possible you choose organic produce and food products in order to avoid the pesticides, insecticides, hormones, food additives, GMOs, and other chemicals they contain. The healthiest meats and dairy products will be similarly labeled.
Grass fed, free-range, and other conscientious labeling (such as hormone-free, cage-free) on meat and dairy products also indicate a higher quality food. But terms like “all natural” can be somewhat misleading, so check the ingredient list to be sure they don’t contain unwanted chemicals. I also recommend Kosher selections as well since those standards are so high. As for fish, local or wild-caught is preferable
. Farm-raised fish may be contaminated with polluted run-off and other chemicals.
Finally, for motivation in the kitchen I invite you to visit my Cooking Video Library.
You will get to see how I cook simple and delicious health-promoting dishes in my own kitchen.