Friday, December 27, 2013

Heart Healty

There are a few of things that will practically guarantee a danger of heart disease.  Live in America...that is the big one!

The Mediterranean diet is fairly heart healthy.  Italians like my mother and her family are not heart disease free, but the odds are fairly low.  As we Americans export our food habits overseas, we tend to add a little gift of heart disease along with it.

Eat lots of fat to get a nasty heart condition. 
We can probably boast one of the healthiest fats there is in our Italian diet.  That is olive oil.  Most foods contain a bit of fat, even things as unlikely as onions.  Try to steam foods, boil them, or grill them on an open fire or a dry or lightly olive oil brushed, grill pan, instead of frying.  We need about a tablespoon of fat a day just to function, so do not be a fanatic. 
Choosing good, or at least better fats will go a long way toward remaining healthy.  Fish oils are pretty good as well.. Omega three oils are in a number of fish.  Before dropping all the bad meats, find out on the Internet, which fish have high, heavy metal content so you can avoid them.

Eat a lot of red meat for better chances of a heart problem. 
Our relatives did not eat all of this beef and pork or even chicken.  These were all very special treats and the meat was hard to get and hard to store.  Wild game would have been more likely in their know the ones that have little fat in them.  Fish would be more common too.  Eat meat on Sunday or on holidays and special when the priest visits...  Let him get heart disease!

If you must eat meat, make the portions more than three ounces a day and lean at that.  Lean meats, long cooked, tend to be tastier as well, though fat does add flavor, save the fat for the TV chefs and the restaurants.

Cook a few vegetables on a grill pan, then remove them and grill a bit of meat on the same pan without any more fat...lower the temperature as soon as you get color on the meat.
Stew meats after grilling in their own fat, then drain off the fat and add veggies.

Cook meats at about 185 degrees to make tough cuts tender.   Also, do not raise internal temperatures of meat above the recommended internal temperature to make them safe to eat.  They will stay moister and more tender that way.

Toss pasta in chopped Broccoli or Cauliflower instead of meat sauces.  Be especially vigilant, and remove the fat from tomato sauce before serving it, because you do not think of how bad it is in sauce because it is simmered in liquid.  We tend to think it will automatically be healthy.  Let the sauce cool, skim off fat, then reheat.  Frozen vegetables are a good and cheaper alternative to expensive fresh.

Eat plenty of sugar to end it all quickly. 
I have a sweet tooth, and I have to admit it. but you(and I) have to cut it out.  The old timers did not eat that much sugar.  European sweets are remarkably less sweet than here in general.  But sugar and honey, boiled down wine, etc. , were not cheap, and most of us were not wealthy.  Sugary sweets were, again, for special occasions.  Probably like the red meat.    Italians did not do sugary tea party treats like in England.  What sugars were common were the ones in dried fruits etc..
Sunday is also a good day for these sweets.
Have a little red wine...dilate your blood vessels a helps if not in excess.  People did not get big glasses of alcohol in most homes...We had thimble sized glasses of Anisette etc.. A skim on the bottom of a snifter is enough...Mmmm...Malvasia!  The rule in my house was:  Sip...just wet your lips and tongue...don't gulp it.

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