A new DASH Mediterranean Lifestyle is something I’ll be occasionally writing about on Back Road Journal. If you aren’t familiar with DASH, it is the most recommended diet in America. The diet is not a weight loss diet but rather a healthy way of eating that promotes overall health. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was originally designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure.
The diet can help you live a longer and healthier life by eating foods that are rich in protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium and calcium but low in saturated fats, sugar and salt. The easy diet includes lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, poultry, fish, lean meat, beans, nuts and low fat dairy and concentrates on the size of the portions not calories.
Now if you are a foodie like myself, you are probably thinking that loosing a few pounds is always a good thing to do from time to time. I will be happy if this new lifestyle results in that. It is, however, not the reason I’m sharing this new way of eating with you. Over the last few years, my husband has had several serious heart issues and during a recent hospital stay, tests indicated heart failure. If you are not familiar with the term, it sounds worse than it is, thank goodness for that. His medications have been updated and he was advised to restrict sodium, watch fluid intake and eat a healthy diet for improved health.
We have decided to combine the DASH diet and the similar Mediterranean diet, to achieve a healthier lifestyle. As you know from all the recipes that I have shared, we do for the most part, eat healthy meals of freshly prepared food instead of ordering takeout, preparing something from a store-bought mix or buying an already prepared meal from our market.
We do however, have a very busy social life and go to restaurants several times a week with friends. From now on, my husband will only be having the occasional hot dog or deli sandwich piled high with smoked meats at lunch. Dining at our favorite restaurants shouldn’t be too difficult with DASH. We will make sure to select the healthier items on menus, order sauces on the side and ask for extra veggies instead of salty fries.
I’ll be modifying what I cook at home to include as many fresh ingredients as possible as most of the sodium in a typical meal comes from processed foods and cheese and baked goods. When buying condiments, I’m going to compare similar items then pick the ones that are the lowest in sodium, fat and have the fewest calories. When I find a product that I think is really good, I’ll be happy to pass on the information to you. If I discover a way to increase the flavor in dish without adding as much salt, I’ll be passing that along as well.
The recipes that I have shared in the past usually say “salt to taste” and that won’t change as each of us have different dietary needs. If I decide to update one of our favorite meals to make it a healthier dish, I will share the recipe in a new post.
While this change in eating habits is a necessity, I’m hoping that by us making heart smart lifestyle changes and eating a Dash “Mediterranean” style diet, we will both enjoy a longer and healthier life. If you happen to be cooking sodium restricted meals and have a favorite recipe that you think my husband will enjoy or have a trick to make a meal more flavorful without using a lot of salt, I hope you will pass it along.