Does this describe you or someone you know? Are you thin or of average weight, exercise and try to eat healthy “most of the time”? Have you ever known, heard or read about someone  else who fits this description? Only to find out that this supposedly “healthy” person just suffered a heart attack? Even more disturbing is to learn that this person did not survive the heart attack?

This is an all too common reality. T.O.F.I.s’ appear to be healthy – because they fit into one or two metrics for health – average weight and exercise. The “eating healthy most of the time” – if it is the standard american diet – that becomes highly suspect. Why? Because the standard american diet aka S.A.D. is often full of processed products manufactured with the first priority of extending its shelf life rather than human life. It is often loaded with chemicals, oils, fat, sugar and salt as well.

For example, Marketplace aired a broadcast last week examining the what is really in those fast food restaurant chicken sandwiches. Their findings revealed most are seasoned with 8-10x more salt and DNA analysis determined that most are highly processed with added fillers and not so much chicken. Unfortunately “protein” packaged in these meat products offers us a lot of fat – up to 70-80 percent fat, no fibre, risk of contamination and an overload of protein which is hard on our organs – especially our heart, liver and kidneys.

So while someone might appear thin on the outside – it is their insides that are worrisome! Their insides are full of fat in the form of plaque. This plaque damages the endothelium that forms the inner lining of all our blood vessels and arteries. This causes a thickening of our blood vessels which in turn narrows the passageways of our vessels. This ‘narrowing’ makes it harder for blood to flow easily – try partially pinching your drinking straw as you are trying to suck up some liquid through it. It becomes difficult to get much fluid from your glass to your mouth – notice all the energy you are expending? Your heart has the same problem – high blood pressure makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it?

Ideally we want our blood to flow like water and not be slowed down by narrowing blood vessels or the stickiness of plaque build-up. So T.O.F.I.s need to take care of their insides and consider the evidence-based science of consuming an oil-free whole plant-based diet. Then to achieve a really synergistic effect – add exercise – any form of regular movement/activity, get sufficient sleep and build-in stress relievers like meditation or pursue an enjoyable hobby. Food and these other activities blended with the connection to supportive people in your life make this a prescription for optimizing your whole health – both outside and inside!

Oil-free Whole Plant-based Recipe:

Muligatawny Soup: Kate McGoey-Smith of Fork Smart

This is a delicately seasoned blend of vegetables in a creamy soup passionately entices your taste buds – perfect for this time of year!

Gather and Prep: An Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or stovetop soup pot works well.

  1. Medium Red Onion – diced
  2. Red Pepper – diced
  3. 2 Medium Carrots – sliced
  4. 2 Celery Sticks – sliced
  5. 2 Medium White Potatoes – diced
  6. 3 Tomatoes – sliced
  7. 1 tSp Kitchen King spice*
  8. 1 tBsp Garam Masala*
  9. 1 tSp Chili Powder
  10. 2 tBsp Lemon Juice
  11. 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (Silk) with 1 tSp Coconut extract
  12. 4 cups of water                                                        *These are M D H brands of East Indian spices found  at Super Store.                                                     Directions: Place all prepped ingredients in pot and stir so liquid and spices are fully blended. Then set Instant Pot on Manual for 4 minutes or if stove top cook at high until boiling and turn to medium heat until all vegetables are fork-tender. Then use a submersible blender to thoroughly reduce to a creamy soup texture.

Nutritional information for total soup contents:  Fat: 2.5 g; Sodium 239 mg

Forksmart.org offers community-based nutrition and cooking educational events. We offer a free monthly e-newsletter and have an upcoming event: Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr MD will be speaking in Alberta for the first time on the “Prevention and Reversal of Heart Disease”, Friday, April 28th at 7:00pm John Dutton Library Theatre, Calgary. AB. Tickets at heartcalgary.com – all net proceeds going to charity.