Diet As a Way of Life

Your Personal Trainer
By Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM

Last Tuesday, I attended a cooking demonstration at Providence Hospital called “Cooking From the Heart, For the Heart.”  It was presented by a team of three:  a registered dietitian, a cardiologist who loves to cook, and the hospital’s own professional chef.  The aromas emanating from the simmering skillet blended garlic, olive oil, oregano, basil and tomatoes, and gave testament to the use of nature’s herbs and spices in heart healthy cooking.  We were all treated to a sample of the sauce and whole wheat pasta.  It was as delicious as it was quick, the perfect fast food!

As a cardiac rehabilitation nurse, I am no stranger to heart healthy cooking.  It’s how I cook at home and I’m always learning and sharing information.  That’s why I found this presentation so interesting.  I mentioned that the cardiologist who spoke enjoys cooking.  He also knows a lot about olive oil, from how it’s made to its many varieties.  He has been to Italy and has participated in the pressing and production process.  Olive oil is the foundation of heart healthy cooking in the Mediterranean region of the world, Italy, Greece and Spain.  It was fascinating to hear about it from someone who had been there.

The third member of the team, the registered dietitian, gave a book recommendation.  I’d like to share it with you and quote a few passages from it.  It is called Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.  I checked it out of the library the following day and have been devouring it ever since.  The title of my article came from his introduction:  “To those of us who love food, a diet is pretty much ‘die’ with a ‘t’ on the end. (In fact, ‘diet’ comes from a Latin word which means ‘a way of life.’)” 1   Most people on diets feel deprived.  This book will change the way you look at food and diets in general, especially when it comes to the feeling of deprivation and denial.  Wansink states “The foods we don’t bite can come back to bite us.”2   That’s why I eat a Hershey’s Kiss everyday, just one, and slowly.  He later states “Our bodies fight against deprivation, and our brains fight against deprivation.”3   There are numerous other quotes I could tease you with but I won’t.  I will just tell you that this is a tremendous resource for anyone wanting to lose weight without feeling the deprivation of a diet and to maintain a healthy weight over time.

The team of three presented a perfect blend of cardiac physiology and risk factors, heart healthy food choices and cooking tips, and a resource to help motivate you towards healthier habits.  February is “Heart Month.”  Treat yourself to this delightful, witty and informative book.  It will do your heart good!

1 Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.”  Brian Wansink, Ph.D., p.10
2 p. 27
3 p. 28

Yours in fitness,

Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM

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