Why do you completely eliminate all oil in your nutrition guidelines?
ALL oil is processed, even very high quality oil. Olive, coconut, avocado, and expeller pressed oils are popularly advised as so-called good fats. The reality is that oils are extremely low in terms of nutritive value. They contain no fiber, no minerals and are 100% fat calories. Both the mono unsaturated and saturated fat contained in oils is harmful to the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery, and that injury is the gateway to vascular disease. If you want to get the good fats from these oils, consume them while still intact in the foods they originate in. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and so on.
What about protein? How will I get enough protein?
Contrary to popular belief an excessive amount of protein, especially animal protein, is not necessary for weight loss, increased muscle mass and good health. Many people are not aware that protein is contained in all foods, not just animal products. Vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are all great protein sources. Actually, many foods like peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat.
Hundreds of studies have documented that as the amount of protein in the diet increases, so does the incidence of chronic disease. Animal products do not provide antioxidants or phytochemicals, but they do contain other components that can be harmful.
In fact, excess unneeded protein that is consumed is not stored by the body as protein; it is converted to fat or eliminated through the kidneys, which then contributes to kidney stones and osteoporosis. When animal protein intake is reduced or eliminated and vegetable protein intake is increased, reductions in cholesterol, obesity, cancer, and other major illnesses take place.
Will I get enough calcium without dairy?
You will not need to supplement calcium on a whole food plant based nutrition plan. There is more than enough calcium in whole grains, legumes, and especially the green leafy vegetables.
Can I drink coffee on this lifestyle?
HOWEVER, the biggest concern are the effects of caffeine on your appetite and sleep patterns. People who drink caffeinated beverages are likely to eat more often than necessary because they mistake caffeine withdrawal symptoms—such as shakiness, headaches, lightheadedness–for hunger. A good compromise is having one cup of unsweetened coffee daily with a non-dairy milk.
Additionally, you should also consult your doctor to be sure the coffee isn't affecting your blood pressure or any other medical issue unique to you.
Are there any healthy sweeteners, or should I avoid them all?
Realistically you should avoid all processed sugar and sweeteners. They are all processed, even honey and date syrup. Mostly because they are high glycemic, at that point, due to the lack of fiber from the food and added empty calories. Don’t use “natural” sweeteners like sugar (white, raw or otherwise), honey, date syrup, maple syrup, stevia or agave.
If you want to sweeten your foods use whole dates (you can blend them with water) or fruit to sweeten it. Your palate will actually change after a couple weeks and EVERYTHING will begin to taste sweet so it will become less and less necessary.
*Date-sweetened desserts and sauces should be used sparingly with no more than 1 ½ medjool dates used per serving.
Will all the food I eat now be bland?
The short answer is NO. It takes a couple of weeks.
When you are detoxing your body of salt and sugar it will seem like things don't have as much flavor at first. This can be counteracted by adding in other spices and flavorful combinations. After about 2 weeks your palate adjusts and most foods you ate before will actually taste too salty or sweet.
Are there any supplements I should consider?
B12, Iron, Omegas, Iodine and Vitamin D3 are all beneficial.
Vitamin B12 is required for important biological functions like red blood cell production, nervous system function, and DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12, however, is not made by plants; it’s made by microbes that blanket the earth. Of course, we now chlorinate the water supply to kill off any bacteria. While we don’t get much B12 in the water anymore, we don’t get sick much either!
Similarly, we make all the vitamin D we need from the sun, but most of us are no longer running around outside all day. You may be covered up, inside, and therefore need to supplement your diet with Vitamin D3.
Iodine is required by the body to make thyroid hormones. Salt is the main source of iodine normally, and since we are avoiding that for good health, it is necessary to supplement it.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are associated with many aspects of brain health and cognitive function.
I highly recommend you get baseline blood work done and ask your doctor to test your vitamin levels. This is helpful to see if you have a preexisting deficiency before starting any new lifestyle.
Do I need to count calories or portion out my food?
NO and NO. If you follow this lifestyle and get as many micronutrient rich foods in as you can, you will find that you will be lower on calories and portion size will not matter. In fact, INCREASE your portions of the greens and veggies! Just enjoy the food! Eat the foods you need to get in, avoid the foods you shouldn't consume.
Will I feel like I'm starving eating this way?
No you will be getting more than enough food to stay full all day. HOWEVER, you will experience toxic hunger while detoxing for the first week or two.
I'll explain: A diet low in micronutrients and phytochemicals and high in calories is associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, and the accumulation of toxins. A few hours after eating, as the body begins to eliminate these waste products, hunger-like symptoms arise, such as headaches, light-headedness, irritability, and fatigue; symptoms I refer to as “toxic hunger.” Many people recognize these symptoms as hunger (or they'll falsely identify themselves as having low blood sugar), because eating ceases the detoxification process, diminishing the uncomfortable symptoms. Misinterpreting these symptoms as hunger leads people to chronically consume more calories than necessary.
Actually, true hunger occurs in your throat and jaw area, not in your stomach.
What are the benefits of exercise for heart disease?
There are many benefits! Endorphins are released into your body when you exercise. This is sometimes referred to as the brain's "Feel-Good” hormones and are the body’s natural painkiller. The pituitary gland releases them during periods of exercise. Endorphins interact with the brain receptors that reduce your perception of pain. And exercise directly affects cardiovascular disease in many other ways, for example:
Increase in exercise tolerance
Reduction in body weight
Reduction in blood pressure
Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol
Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
Increase in insulin sensitivity
Increase in blood flow to arteries and heart
How does exercise help with stress management?
Endorphin hormones help to counteract the effects of the stress hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is nature's built-in alarm system. It’s best known for our body’s “fight-or-flight” instinct. It works with the part of the brain that controls mood, motivation and fear. Therefore, plays an important role with what the body does, for example:
How our body uses micro and macronutrients
Keeps inflammation down
Regulates blood pressure
Increases blood sugar (glucose)
Controls our sleep/wake cycle
Boosts energy when under stress and restores balance afterward.
Can I follow your guidelines while also in a Cardiac Rehab Program?
Absolutely! However, we recommend you consult your doctor and cardiac rehabilitation specialists about any exercise or nutrition changes you are making to be sure that they are appropriate for your unique situation and progression of disease.