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The Heart of Cooking

The Heart of Cooking

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The Heart of Cooking

284 Seiten
1 Stunde
Jun 9, 2019


It is no secret that a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk for developing heart disease and can also help in the management of existing heart disease. Your doctor may ask you to limit your salt intake, cholesterol, and fat intake, or carbohydrate and sugar intake. These specific diets have been shown to improve your numbers as far as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and blood sugars. By managing these numbers, your risk for having heart attacks and strokes also reduces. Most cookbooks with heart-healthy recipes do not separate their recipes by these guidelines that your doctor may ask you to follow. This cookbook is written by a practicing cardiologist, who takes nutrition seriously for her patients and family members. The book is divided into chapters of types of dietary restrictions she refers her patients to every day. This makes following your doctor's orders easier. Not only will you benefit from these heart-healthy recipes, but your family members will also enjoy healthy hearts with recipes that are kid friendly. Vegetarian recipes are found throughout the book in addition to a dedicated chapter with only vegetarian recipes. Don't worry about your sweet tooth. Diabetics and those with heart disease can also enjoy the heart-healthy dessert recipes featured in this book.

Jun 9, 2019

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The Heart of Cooking - MD FACC Dwithiya K. Thomas





Dwithiya K. Thomas, MD, FACC

Copyright © 2019 Dwithiya K. Thomas, MD, FACC

All rights reserved

First Edition


New York, NY

First originally published by Page Publishing, Inc. 2019

ISBN 978-1-64462-406-7 (Paperback)

ISBN 978-1-64462-407-4 (Digital)

Printed in the United States of America

To my family, friends, and patients. My life has no meaning without each and every one of you.


Learning you have heart disease is not an easy burden to carry. Along with the medications, testing, procedures, and surgeries that are now a part of your daily life, instituting a heart-healthy lifestyle is also a critical part of managing your heart disease. This includes choosing the right foods and adding exercise to your day. Living a healthier life is a commitment that you must choose to make every day. While this book may not be all-encompassing, the recipes enclosed are examples of heart-healthy meals that can help you on the road to cardiovascular well-being.

As a physician, I know how important the conversation about nutrition is for my patients. As much as your doctors would like to sit with you and go over recipes that you can incorporate into your daily life, time constraints limit our ability to do that regularly. The medications we prescribe and the procedures, surgeries, and testing that we advise are only pieces of the puzzle that bring your heart to a healthier state. Combined with the right eating habits and activity, the benefits of these treatments are amplified. The purpose of this book is to give you examples of what a heart-healthy diet is all about. Although these recipes are nutritious, hopefully you will realize that taste does not have to be sacrificed.

This book is divided into sections related to the type of diet your doctor may recommend for you. There are recipes for a low-salt, low-fat, low-carbohydrate, kid-friendly, and vegetarian diets. The items vary between appetizers, salads, side dishes, and main courses. There is even a section for heart-healthy desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth. I have written a brief statement for each recipe, describing either what stands out in the recipe for me or why it is nutritious. You may notice that unlike traditional cookbooks, this book does not mention how many portions are made with each recipe. The reasoning is that portion size will vary between different people. Depending on your goals of heart health—whether that includes weight loss or simply the reduction of sugar, fat, or salt—the portion sizes will differ. Body composition and requirements will also vary the portion size that is right for you. Learning how much of each food to eat based on these goals and your individual needs is part of understanding how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

The commitment to a heart-healthy diet begins with yourself; however, by incorporating these recipes to your family’s dinner table, you are setting the right example for all members of your family. Your children will learn what healthy foods are and hopefully will incorporate what they eat into their daily food choices now and in the future. By setting this example, you are setting your beloved family members on the path to keep their hearts healthy.

St. Luke’s University Health Network is located in the Lehigh Valley region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. We are a rapidly growing hospital system that offers state-of-the-art facilities, procedures, and treatments across a wide spectrum of specialties. St. Luke’s is proud to be one of the leaders of cardiac care in the region and has been awarded the Top 100 Hospitals in the Nation Award by Truven Health Analytics on multiple occasions, a four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and a number of other awards designed to recognize top tier hospital systems.

Being that St. Luke’s is a major teaching hospital, with a thriving medical school in conjunction with Temple University Medical School, and residency and specialty fellowship programs across the spectrum of medicine, education is a top priority. This starts with the education of our employees, providers, and students, but the focus of education is on our patients. We believe that our patients should have the necessary knowledge about their disease states that gives them the confidence to cotackle the management of these illnesses with their doctors. Along the lines of this philosophy, nutrition and learning about a healthy lifestyle is a key tool in the toolbox to help manage ailments.

St. Luke’s University Health Network is proud to offer a dedicated Women’s Heart Center. This center’s principle physicians include myself, Dr. Dwithiya Thomas, and my two colleagues, Dr. Anne Mani and Dr. Lynn Moran. We work together on the comprehensive approach to attacking and preventing heart disease. Not only do we aspire to treat each patient with the appropriate testing, medications, and procedures or surgeries, we want to help our patients become the healthiest they can be. This means referring our patients to our fitness centers and consultations with our nutritionists, primary care physicians, psychologists, gynecologists, and other specialty physicians. We also work to encourage and support the cessation of smoking. By addressing how to live a healthy lifestyle, we are hoping to improve the overall health of our patients.

The recipes seen in this book are personally contributed from my kitchen, and I am excited to share the contents with all of you. The ideas for these recipes span from my searches for healthy and delicious meals to provide for my own family. Each of these recipes have been carefully selected and screened to ensure that they stay true to the principles of the section they are in. There is definite crossover of some of these recipes across sections. I have also included a commentary with each recipe to describe the principles to be learned from the combination of ingredients.

Although I am a specialist in women’s heart disease, my patient population spans across gender and age. The importance of nutrition in the management of heart disease is highlighted in a number of conversations I have daily with my patients. Many times I come across patients asking me, What can I eat? or Is this really bad for me? or even Doc, I have no idea what I’m doing, and I need some guidance on how I can eat better. These patient interactions were my inspiration to write this book. I have tried to give quick examples here and there of recipes or nutrition-packed foods, but a twenty-minute office visit does not provide the time to make decisions on their medical care and discuss nutrition in a meaningful way. The thought of being able to share a book full of potential recipes and advice made the most sense to me.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a board-certified noninvasive cardiologist who has been in practice for the past six years. I graduated from UMDNJ Rutgers Medical School (formerly known as Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) and completed all my residency and fellowship training there. I believe that this is an exciting and progressive time in medicine where the trend in management of disease is shifting. In the past, there was more of an authoritarian practice, where the doctor tells the patient what to do. The current practice of medicine is in many ways more of a team approach, including the patient, their caregivers, and the doctor in the decision-making process. I feel strongly that education on how to prevent heart disease and live a heart-healthy lifestyle is the most important tool a doctor can give a patient. True to practice, I spend time spreading this word with my active involvement with local organizations like the American Heart Association and participation in many community outreach projects and media appearances.

As a practicing cardiologist and director of the St. Luke’s Women’s Heart Center, I am dedicated to help bring the awareness of heart disease into the community. I feel that through this book, I can hopefully provide some delicious examples of how to eat healthy and keep on the road to maintaining heart health.

Introduction to Cardiovascular Health

What does it mean to have heart disease? The phrase heart disease is really a simplified statement encompassing all the many problems that can go wrong with the heart. The most common use of the phrase is to describe heart attacks and blockages that put a patient at risk for heart attacks. But what is a heart attack? What else can go wrong with the heart other than a heart attack?

We in the medical community like to divide the problems of the heart into three categories. There are structural problems, electrical problems, and there are plumbing problems—very similar to a house. And like a house, if there is a problem with one of these three things, the house becomes difficult to live in. Although it seems like an oversimplification, the analogy does stay true in many ways.

The structure and foundation of the heart could be faulty. This could mean

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