Staying on the right beat with your heart health

We often focus on how to eat better but forget to focus on the why. Everyone always hears about what we need to do to live a healthier life, but the ‘why’ is important because it is what empowers us to change! In “How Not to Die” by Michael Greger, MD, the founder of nutritionfacts.org, Dr. Greger provides the what, why and how to eat better and incorporate a plant-based, whole food diet.

After reading his book, we were inspired to come up with our own advice to guide you on how to eat to live.

How Not to Die from Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer in America. Not too shocking, right? There are three foods Dr. Greger advises us to avoid: trans-fat from added sugars in food, saturated fat from meat and dietary cholesterol from foods like eggs.

The first thing I did was throw away all of the processed food in the kitchen. That includes anything and everything prepackaged. Next, I headed to the grocery store on a quest for ground flaxseed, blackberries, blueberries and a ton of vegetables!

As a busy mom of a six-month-old, I’m not one who has the time to spend hours in the kitchen. I follow “Cooking Light” on Instagram because they always have easy, healthy recipes that don’t take long to make, and I buy pre-cut vegetables and fruit whenever I can — I don’t like complicated.

Living Not to Die

Here’s my typical day living not to die:

  • Before I eat anything in the mornings, I drink 1-2 ounces of water mixed with one teaspoon of ground flaxseed. This is a trick I learned from a registered dietitian at Baylor Scott & White Health.

  • I make overnight oats. I use plain Greek yogurt and add in old fashioned oats, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. I prefer fresh fruit, but frozen works just as well.

  • Whenever I cook, I add as many chopped vegetables as I can. I’ll mix them into a brown rice dish, pasta or have them as a side. I sneak a lot of healthy food by my husband this way!

  • Once a week, I have a meatless day, or a day where only one meal contains meat. I’m used to having meat at every meal so this lifestyle change was a big transition.

I can’t say I’m successful every day because I’m not perfect and it’s a constant struggle to stay on track. However, I can say I’m eating better and surprisingly feeling better. So, as long as I can say those things, I consider it a win.

About the author

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Stephanie Thompson, CPT, is a Wellness Coordinator for Baylor Scott and White Health. She graduated from Baylor University in 2008 and has worked toward providing health and wellness education for nearly eight years. She is passionate about helping others reach their full potential both physical and mentally through positive support and education.

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Staying on the right beat with your heart health