Thursday, July 31, 2014

More Info for Less Cholesterol - Refining Our Meals



These are few ways to refine our meals to reduce fat and cholesterol:


1.  Use fresh vegetables whenever possible.  If it is necessary to used canned or frozen, read the label to insure that the product does not contain saturated fat, such as lard, bacon fat, palm oil or coconut oil.  If the label lists "vegetable fat" without revealing the specific source, assume that it is palm oil or coconut oil and don't purchase the product.  (Now and then I can find fresh vegetables but we all know that during the winter months they aren't exactly fresh since they have to sometimes be shipped from other countries.  What I now do is buy frozen in the bags.  To me, they are better than canned and don't normally have anything added.)


2.  Use only those salad dressings made form olive oil or form an unsaturated vegetable oil (safflower, corn, cottonseed, sesame, soybean and sunflower).  Use homemade rather than commercial salad dressings for maximum control over the oil, salt, sugar and preservatives.  Avoid dressings made with cheese.  Serve dressings on the side as only 1 tablespoon can be 75 to 100 calories.  (This is a big one for me to change.  I simply love creamy dressings like Ranch or Onion or Poppyseed.  I've tried making these but they just don't taste the same so this is a gradual change that I'm trying to make.)


3.  Use soft tub-type margarine made form an unsaturated liquid vegetable oil in place of hydrogenated stick margarine.  Again, label reading is the key.  To be acceptable, the label must list liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient and show that the product contains twice the amount of unsaturated as saturated fat.  (Another tough one for me.  I love my butter and I love to cook with it.  Not sure how I'll handle this change.)


4.  Reduce the amount of margarine used on breads.  Even tub margarine made form an unsaturated vegetable oil is 99% fat and contains 95 calories per tablespoon.  Eliminate margarine as a sauce for vegetables, rice and potatoes; instead use herbs, spices, wine, lemon juice or flavored vinegars.  (I'm getting better at this one.  I cooked some frozen lima beans last week and where I would normally use either a piece of fat meat or butter to flavor them I used salt free bouillon.  They were delicious.  Gonna try this with my rice and potatoes too.  As for my bread, I've learned to enjoy spreading a little hummus over my toast.)


#5.  Avoid commercial bakery products and desserts that are high in saturated fat and calories. (No problem here.  If I eat desserts they are usually those that I make.  Now if I can just not cook them with too much fat I'll be ok.)


#6.  Increase the amount of complex carbohydrates (such as rice, beans, pasta) to satisfy in a low-fat manner and reduce the portion size of the entrée.  (I love my carbs so this is no problem as long as I season and smother them with the right sauces.)

So, on my quest to lower my cholesterol, I've found that I still need to make a few changes in not just my eating but also my cooking.  Some of these changes won't be easy but I'm getting there.
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