On a normal day to day basis I tend to eat 3 meals a day and 3 snacks a day. On clinical days this usually changes and I’m lucky if I eat 3 meals at all. I decided to evaluate my food intake using MyFitnessPal food diary from this past clinical day on 2/5. My food intake was the following:
Breakfast: Coffee with milk and honey
Lunch: Grilled chicken and Peruvian beans with soy chorizo
Snack: 1 Apple and about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
Dinner: 1.5 cups of oatmeal, 1/2 a banana, 1/2 a cup of almond milk
The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle recommendations indicate that sodium should be 1,500 mg and saturated fat should be no more than 5-6% of total calories so about 13 g of saturated fat.
According to MyFitnessPal, my sodium intake was 1,051 mg and my fat intake was 38 g (Trans fat could not be calculated). Considering this was a non-typical day, I would say I did pretty well in both sodium and fat intake. I have been more conscious of what I eat since December so I am already accustomed to not eating high fat foods and looking at food labels. Though, this process was a lot more difficult when I first started. Especially when I live at home and my mom makes awesome homemade Mexican food!
I can imagine the difficulties a patient goes through to adjust to a new way of eating. It’s another stressor that they have to manage on top of new medications that may have been prescribed to them or a new medical health diagnosis. In order to help a patient I would definitely first educate them on why this lifestyle change is important and then help them find alternatives to their favorite foods. Also, The American Heart association is a great resource. I would recommend a food tracking diary such as MyFitnessPal. Another important tool that they could benefit from is knowing the correct portion sizes and how to visualize it.
In 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson declared February to be American Heart Month. Ourhearts need to be protected from heart diseases and stroke–The #2 world killer in the world. Preventing rather than treating heart diseases is important and our diet is one thing we all have more control of. We all need to be a little more connected to our hearts, raise awareness, and reduce risks to have healthy hearts!