Valentine Recipes


February is well known for hearts, roses, cupids, and chocolates. However, less known is that February has been the American Heart Month since 1963. The focus of this month has been to highlight cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. All through the month of January I have been highlighting low fat and low calorie recipes. This collection of recipes is also healthy, but geared towards one of our most loved holidays.

Valentine’s Day is ripe with symbolism…from red roses to hearts and from cupid to paper valentines, there are many traditional items associated with Valentine’s Day. Perhaps the most incredible is the amount of chocolate and candy consumed on Valentine’s Day. In 1995 alone, 35 million heart shaped boxes of candy and 10 billion conversation hearts were sold in the United States. Americans on average consume over twelve pounds of chocolate a year.

Holidays are the perfect time to enjoy a little extra sweetness and romance, but not at the cost of your health. However, it seems that to make up for the lack of the quintessential box of chocolates that something really special is required. That is what these recipes are. They are all healthy, but at the same time will offer a special touch of romance perfect for Valentine’s Day. Make sure to save a few of these recipes and brush them off all the year round. Make them for other special occasions, or just when you would like to bring a little romance into your life. Or make them for the best reason of all…make them for someone you love.

Vanilla Angel Food Cake with Red Raspberry Sauce

We’ll start off with my Valentine’s favorite dessert…angel food cake. This tempting vanilla cake has a tender flavor and rich vanilla-ness that is sure to please. It is great plain, with fresh fruit, whipped cream, frozen yogurt, or the luscious red raspberry sauce I have included. Vanilla sugar works really well in this recipe. I always have several pounds on hand. To make vanilla sugar, store a vanilla bean in a tightly sealed container of sugar and shake once a day. Within a few days you have a richly scented sugar that is excellent to use in recipes, to dust sugar cookies, to serve over cereal, and makes a great addition to tea or coffee. It is necessary to sift the dry ingredients three times to get them finely blended. Do not skip this step as it is essential. You will need 11-12 eggs for this recipe. When whipping egg whites it is absolutely essential not to use a plastic bowl and to make sure that your beaters, spatula, spoon, and bowl are totally clean. Even a smidgen of fat will cause the eggs not to whip correctly.

  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, salt, and ½ cup sugar into a small bowl three times. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until broken and foamy. Add the water and cream of tarter. Beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff, but not dry. (A spatula cut through the egg white mixture will leave a permanent path.) Sifting small amounts of the flour mixture over the egg whites at a time, slowly fold in the flour mixture until combined, folding until incorporated before adding more. Scrape the batter into an ungreased angel food pan with removable bottom. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove the cake from the oven, turn upside down and place the center hole over the neck of a bottle to cool. Once completely cooled, loosen the sides of the cake with a knife or spatula. Carefully remove the cake from the pan. Serve as desired.

Red Raspberry Sauce

This is my general purpose raspberry sauce. I use it on everything and in everything. It makes a great sauce to add to pies with a little cornstarch or gelatin. It is a great filling for cakes, pastries, and other dishes. It is also marvelous on roast turkey sandwiches for a change of pace from cranberry sauce. Use as much sugar as desired, depending on taste. The fabulous flavor comes from the fact that the berries are never cooked, just tossed in a flavorful reduced syrup. Frozen raspberries actually work better in this recipe than fresh.

  • 12 ounces frozen raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon – 3 tablespoons sugar

Thaw and drain the raspberries, reserving the juice. Gently squeeze the berries to remove as much juice as possible. Place the berry juice in a small heavy saucepan or microwave dish along with the lemon juice and sugar. Cook over medium heat until the amount of liquid is reduced by half. You can also microwave on medium to medium-high until the amount of liquid is reduced by half. While the syrup is cooking, press the berries through a fine sieve to remove the majority of the seeds. Toss the raspberry pulp with the syrup and serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled.

Chocolate Raspberry Fluff in Phyllo Cups

This decadent little treat is one of my favorite ways to make low fat, low calorie, and very tasty treats perfect for entertaining. They are simple, yet elegant and make the perfect finale for a romantic dinner or an upscale dinner party. I have also used them as desserts for wedding showers and the delicateness of the dessert combined with the “let the bride fit into her wedding dress” fat and calorie count are always a big hit. Serve these little treats with fat free whipped topping, fresh raspberries, and mint leaves for a garnish. This recipe is also smashing with fat free white chocolate pudding. Yum! For real decadence (and more fat and calories) add a small sprinkling of grated chocolate or chocolate curls.

  • 4 sheets thawed frozen phyllo dough
  • spray butter substitute or butter flavored cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package fat free chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons seedless all fruit raspberry jam
  • 1 ½ cups fat free whipped topping
  • Whole raspberries (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heavily grease 6 ramekins or large muffin cups. Unfold the phyllo and lay out one sheet flat, keeping the remaining sheets covered with a damp towel. Liberally coat the phyllo with the butter spray. Add the second sheet and liberally spray with the butter. Sprinkle the sugar over top. Add the last two sheets, spraying with the butter each time. Cut the phyllo into six squares. Gently press into the greased cups and ruffle the edges. Spray the edges that extend over the sides liberally with butter. Bake for ten minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the cups and let cool on a wire rack. In a medium bowl mix together the pudding mix and the milk until smooth. Stir in the jam and mix well. Fold in the whipped cream. Chill. Spoon the pudding mixture into the shells before serving. Top with additional whipped cream if desired, raspberries, and mint leaves. If desired, the shells can be filled immediately after making the pudding. Just chill for ten minutes and serve.

Sesame-Crusted Kabocha Squash Cakes

Kabocha winter squash has a sweet and creamy deep orange flesh. Its water content varies, so adjust the amount of bread crumbs accordingly to produce firm cakes. Butternut or acorn squash can be used in place of kabocha. Serve with Plum-Ginger Relish and Japanese-Style Kimchee.

1 kabocha squash (about 2-1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon tahini paste
5 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon to 2 cups bread crumbs, as needed
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, or more
Cooking spray or oil

1. Preheat oven to 500°. Cut squash into large sections of uniform size and roast on a cookie sheet until squash can be pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2. Scrape cooled pulp from squash into a large bowl. (Discard skin or save for another use, such as stock.) Add tahini, scallions, cardamom, ginger, and salt, mixing thoroughly.

3. Add enough bread crumbs to stiffen squash mixture. (It must be firm in order to form cakes.) On waxed paper or plastic wrap, form 1/4-cup portions into 3-inch cakes and coat with sesame seeds.

4. Lightly spray or oil a large nonstick skillet and set over medium heat. Sauté cakes, a few at a time, until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

5. Allow two cakes per person for an appetizer. Serve with 1 to 2 tablespoons of Plum-Ginger Relish and about 1 tablespoon of Japanese-Style Kimchee.

Makes about 12 3-inch cakes.

PER 2 CAKE SERVING: 106 CAL (34% from fat), 4g PROT, 4g FAT, 16g CARB, 226mg SOD, 1mg CHOL, 4g FIBER

Citrus Scented Champagne Sorbet

This is one of the simplest, most elegant desserts you will ever find. The combination of champagne and citrusy flavors makes for a marvelous light dessert, palate cleanser between courses, or even breakfast treat. By using a whole orange instead of the mixture of fruit, the taste resembles a mimosa and is delightful. I normally use vanilla sugar in the recipe, rather than the sugar and the vanilla extract. To make vanilla sugar, store a vanilla bean in a tightly sealed container of sugar and shake once a day. Within a few days you have a richly scented sugar that is excellent in this recipe. I like to serve this in champagne flutes with slices of lemons, oranges, and limes attached to the rim of the glasses. Fresh berries or grapes make a wonderful accompaniment. Another excellent, but not quite so heart healthy, go along are rich French butter cookies.

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 thin slices lime
  • 2 thin slices lemon
  • 4 thin slices orange
  • 2 cups champagne

Place the water, sugar, vanilla, and fruit slices in a medium heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is all dissolved. Once the mixture is boiling and the sugar dissolved, reduce the heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove the fruit slices from the mixture and set aside. Let the fruit cool so that they can be handled and squeeze any remaining juice into the sugar mixture. Pour the syrup through a sieve into a large bowl. Add the champagne and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions until the sorbet thickens. Spoon into serving dishes and serve immediately, or else place in a tightly sealed container and store for up to 24 hours.

Plum-Ginger Relish

Increasing the oil and vinegar will produce a tasty salad dressing for greens or roasted vegetables.

3 red or black plums, pitted, finely diced
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely diced red onions
2 tablespoons finely diced scallions
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon pickled ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve at room temperature with kabocha cakes.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

PER TABLESPOON: 12 CAL (50% from fat), 1g PROT, 1g FAT, 2g CARB, 45mg SOD, 0mg CHOL, 0.2g FIBER

Japanese-Style Kimchee

A fresh take on the traditional Korean condiment. This is hot!

1/2 medium red onion, peeled and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon oil
2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons ground annatto (see glossary) or paprika
1/4 head napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 scallions, chopped
Salt to taste

1. In a large saucepan over high heat sauté onion and garlic in oil until onions just begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, stirring to remove any browned bits from the pan. Add cayenne and annatto, boiling until liquid is reduced by half. Add cabbage and remove from heat. When cool, add lemon juice, scallions, and salt. Kimchee should be very spicy and sour.

2. To serve, allow kimchee to come to room temperature. Kimchee will keep refrigerated about five to six days.

Makes about 2 cups.

PER TABLESPOON: 7 CAL (25% from fat), 1g PROT, 1g FAT, 2g CARB, 35mg SOD, 0mg CHOL, 0.3g FIBER

Chocolate-Raspberry Love Bombes :JAPANESE-STYLE KIMCHEE

Raspberries are one of the most romantic of fruits, but of course the perfume-y, tart berries are not in season as winter howls. Too bad. The frozen berries are a nice solution. You can also substitute any other berry preferably red.

Chocolate-Raspberry Love Bombes

Don’t be intimidated by the many steps of this recipe; it’s actually quite easy and can all be done ahead of time. The reward is a visually stunning and sophisticated dessert that will leave a dazzling final impression at a dinner party or at an intimate Valentine’s supper for two.

Raspberry layer:
1 12-ounce package frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon arrowroot (see glossary) or cornstarch
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons agar flakes (see glossary)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Chocolate layer:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)
1/2 stick vegetable margarine
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash black pepper
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rum (optional)
Cooking spray

1. To make the raspberry layer: Lightly spray 12 2-ounce or 6 4-ounce timbale molds or muffin tins. In a colander set over a bowl, thaw raspberries, reserving juice. Set raspberries aside and dissolve arrowroot powder in raspberry juice.

2. In a medium pan over low heat, combine coconut milk, sugar, and agar. Stir until sugar and agar are dissolved. Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Add vanilla, cayenne, and black pepper. Slowly add arrowroot mixture, stirring constantly until mixture starts to thicken.

3. Gently fold in raspberries and remove from heat. Spoon mixture into prepared molds, filling halfway.

4. To make the chocolate layer: In a double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate and margarine.

5. In a small bowl, combine soy milk, sugar, instant coffee, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, and rum, if desired. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Add to chocolate mixture, stirring constantly until mixture warms and becomes smooth.

6. Remove from heat and spoon chocolate mixture over raspberry layer, dividing evenly between molds. Chill until set, 4 to 5 hours.

7. To unmold bombes, dip molds in hot water and run a hot paring knife around inner rim. Unmold onto serving plates. Surround with Hot Cinnamon Syrup, and garnish with Spice Cookies, if desired.

Makes 12 2-ounce bombes.

PER BOMBE: 217 CAL (46% from fat), 1g PROT, 11g FAT, 29g CARB, 34mg SOD, 0mg CHOL, 2g FIBER


Hot Cinnamon Syrup

Spicy hot…the clear tea-like color is deceiving. The flavor is pure cinnamon lollipop!

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cranberry juice concentrate

Combine all ingredients in saucepan over high heat until sugar completely dissolves. Will keep, refrigerated, indefinitely.

Makes about 1 cup.

PER TABLESPOON: 26 CAL (tr% from fat), less than 1g PROT, less than 1g FAT, 7g CARB, less than 1mg SOD, 0mg CHOL, less than 1g FIBER

Cinnamon-Espresso Cream

A silky, spicy topping for Valentine Cobbler (recipe follows) or your dessert of choice.

6 ounces silken tofu
2 tablespoons vegetable margarine
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon arrowroot (see glossary) or cornstarch
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

1. In a food processor or blender, puree tofu, margarine, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth. In a small bowl, dissolve arrowroot in 1/4 cup soy milk.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine remaining soy milk, sugar, and coffee. Heat until boiling. Slowly add arrowroot mixture, stirring constantly, as mixture thickens.

3. Remove from heat and whisk in tofu mixture. Mixture will seem very thick, but will relax a bit as it cools. Chill before serving. (Will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week.)

Makes 1-1/2 cups.

PER 1/4 CUP SERVING: 125 CAL (35% from fat), 2g PROT, 5g FAT, 18g CARB, 44mg SOD, 0mg CHOL, 1g FIBER

Valentine Cobbler

Serve the biscuits hot from the oven with Cinnamon-Espresso Cream and warm raspberry compote, for a romantic update on classic comfort food-just the thing to share with your sweetheart on a cold February night. This is delicious with hot chocolate or mulled cider.

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon soy milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable margarine, very cold
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Raspberry Compote:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon framboise (see glossary) or orange juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot (see glossary) or cornstarch
1 12-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar

1. To make biscuits: Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment. In a small bowl or cup, combine 1/2 cup soy milk and lemon juice and let stand until mixture looks curdled.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.

3. Cut margarine into 1/4-inch cubes. Using a fork, pastry blender, or mixer on high speed, blend margarine into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Make a well in the center and slowly add curdled soy milk. Mix just enough to make the dough hold together-it will be crumbly.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness and cut with a heart-shaped cutter. Re-roll scraps and cut more hearts; you should have 12. Lay half of the hearts on prepared baking sheet, brush with soy milk and sprinkle with half of the brown sugar. Top with remaining hearts to make 6 double biscuits. Brush tops with soy milk and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top but no longer wet in center. These are best on the day they are made.

5. To make compote: In a small dish, combine lemon juice and framboise with arrowroot, stirring to dissolve. Combine berries and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil. Slowly add arrowroot mixture to berries, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and serve warm. (Will keep refrigerated for a week.)

6. On each plate, place bottom half of a split biscuit. Top generously with raspberry compote and a dollop of Cinnamon-Espresso Cream. Place top half of the biscuit slightly off-center, so that compote and cream are visible.

Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 370 CAL (21% from fat), 5g PROT, 8g FAT, 71g CARB, 595mg SOD, 0mg CHOL, 4g FIBER

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“Lifestyle” is a very contemporary word. It has unique shades of meaning for different individu­als, but for all of us it says much about the way in which we live and about what is important to us. How we live often dictates how we eat. Diet pat­tern is frequently a product of custom, habit, convenience, economics and social standing. Some families enjoy a certain special meal on Sundays or on holidays. Modern wives often utilize convenience foods to save time. Young people congregate at fast food restaurants. Those who can afford it dine on haute cuisine. And children, often responding to television advertis­ing, beg for certain breakfast cereals.

The body, however, has no concept of life­style. It is a machine which needs to be fueled in order to perform. The food which is eaten pro­vides that fuel. The body does not care about the appeasement of psychological, social and culinary appetites. It is concerned exclusively with the nu­tritional value of what is consumed. It is like an automobile which needs gasoline to run. It cares not whether the pump is in Beverly Hills or Tortilla Flats, just so long as it produces usable fuel.

I had not understood this in the past and consequently the food choices on my diet had been made for other than nutritive reasons. After my surgery, I began to realize that the decisions concerning food choices had to be based upon the result s generated, rather than upon taste, prepare-lion time or the endorsement of a super jock.

Along with this realization came an understanding of the word “diet.” In my pre-surgery 1 ill-style, diet had a singular connotation. It was a weight reduction program, a means of shedding excess pounds rapidly by controlling the intake of calories. Only fat people were concerned with diet. Periodically they went on and off a diet, much like Toynbee’s cyclical theory of history, until either the on, or more likely the off, would eventually dominate. In this context, there was no relationship between diet and health.

After researching diet as a risk factor, I understood that a diet could be a long-term manner of eating and a diet pattern could generate negative or positive results. In analyzing my diet, it was obvious that it was a “negative diet,” that indeed it had produced a negative impact upon my cardiac health. What was needed, I reasoned, was a “positive diet,” a diet which would be a permanent program of healthful eating.
Using the knowledge gained, I determined the important elements of such a “Positive Diet”:

>It must be in tune with the contemporary American lifestyle.

>In order to be achievable, it must be realistic.

>It must meet psychological needs as well as physical needs.

>It must be motivated by an understanding of the importance of healthful eating.

>It must maximize the heart-healthy foods and minimize the harmful foods.

It was easy to understand and to accept the “why” of the Positive Diet. Much information testified to the fact that such a diet could be instrumental in the prevention and perhaps the reversal of coronary heart disease. The difficulty would be in the “how.”

When I left the hospital after surgery I was issued a standard low-cholesterol diet, really nothing more than a listing of good and bad foods. It was based on the premise that some foods were healthful and should be eaten, while others were harmful and should be avoided.

The missing link was that the standard diet did not explain how to apply the premise, how to change the eating habits of a lifetime, or how to make it work. It just said, “You better do it!” Granted, with the surgery fresh in my mind, my motivation to stay on a new diet was great. But how long, I asked myself, could I survive on carrot sticks — approach to cardiac health — before saying, “The hell with it!” and reverting to my tasty, old, comfortable diet? Without the “how,” the new diet was meaningless.

We can only make general dietary recommendations for you,-We can’t design a diet to specifically suit your needs and your tastes, and we can’t make it work for you. Many of my patients have had a strong motivation to modify their diet. Yet, the vast majority have been unable to do so with any degree of success.

A number have returned to their original diet — the same diet which had contributed to their cardiac problem in the first place. Why? Because without a realistic, step-by-step program to follow the patient never understands how a new diet can be accomplished. Generally, after a few months of trying, the cardiac patient gives up in frustration.

As I experimented over the months to develop a new diet, his words became even more meaningful to me. Frustration plagued me. Progress was elusive. Without a tested plan to follow, I was never quite sure whether or not my new diet was working. I had once said that there was no black and white but only shades or gray And that was how the Positive Diet Initially appeared to me: in elusive, chiaroscuro torn).

Gradually however, it emerged from the gray and took on clarity in the light. After more than a year of work, it existed not just in theory, but in reality, and in the process it became an integral, permanent part of my lifestyle. I finally understood not only why I had made the dietary change, but how I made it as well.

Before the Positive Diet can be successful, one needs to understand its basic principles and tools. He also needs to recognize the underlying premise for the practice of the diet:

>That each individual is responsible for his own health.

>That a decision to eat “positively” must include an understanding of diet as a cardiac risk factor.

>That a firm commitment must be made to make the Positive Diet a permanent diet pattern.

The fundamental cardiac risk involved with the contemporary American diet concerns excesses. While dietary deficiencies are still the major problem in many other areas of the world, in the United States the biggest problem is the inordinate amount of fat, cholesterol, sugar, salt and total calories consumed. Recognizing this fact, the basic principles of the Positive Diet are designed to reduce or to eliminate certain harmful foods. The four basic principles are as follows:

1. Reduce the intake of animal fat and cholesterol. As has been illustrated in numerous medical studies and field tests, a direct and causal relationship exists between the intake of animal fat and cholesterol, the elevation of blood cholesterol levels, and the development of coronary heart disease. While a diet high in fat and cholesterol may only be one of a number of factors which ultimately cause the disease, it clearly is a factor.

2. Reduce the intake of butterfat. Butterfat, which is a saturated fat, contributes to cardiac problems in the same way as does animal fat by promoting high blood cholesterol.

3. Reduce the intake of salt. Salt consumption in the United States has risen over 600% since the turn of the century, today averaging about 15 pounds annually per person. Excess salt in the diet contributes to the development of hypertension, hardening of the arteries, and coronary heart disease.

4. Reduce the intake of refined sugar. The annual average per capita consumption of refined sugar by Americans is 128 pounds, or about one-third pound a day. Not only has sugar displaced needed nutritive foods in the diet, but it has contributed to obesity and to high blood fat levels, both of which constitute significant risks for coronary heart disease.

The tour basic principles, concerned with reduction, must be combined with meal planning and creative substitution for permanent change to take place. Meal planning and creative substitution — called the basic tools of the Positive Diet — allow for the creation of new healthful meals. They are dedicated to the belief that if satisfaction can be found in the foods which should be eaten, then there will not be the inclination for the foods which should not be eaten.
Meal Planning

The meal plan is the first step to success and is critical to the practice of the Positive Diet. In a number of ways, the meal plan is like the game plan in football. It provides advance direction for what to do to be successful. In football, the quarterback relies heavily on the game plan. Although he may have a strong arm and sturdy legs, without a game plan his physical talent can be wasted and the team effort can be dissipated.

It is the game plan which defines for the quarterback how he can best move his team against the opposition; it is the game plan which allows him to know in advance what plays he must run. Without such a game plan, even an All-Pro quarterback could find himself approaching the line of scrimmage only to ask, “What do I do now?”

It is the same in establishing the Positive Diet. Instead of a game plan, a meal plan defines in advance how to successfully stay on the diet. The Positive Diet meal plan is the selection of which foods to eat over a designated period of time, usually one to three weeks. By listing the1 foods for each meal ahead of time, the meal plan can insure the inclusion of nutritious foods and the exclusion of harmful foods. The meal plan minimizes the meals which are left to chance. As with the quarterback, it prevents an individual from approaching a mealtime only to ask himself, “What do I do now?”

Meal planning was essential to my success with the Positive Diet. I began the planning process by dividing the week into 21 meals. Using the basic principles as a guide, I began to plan a meal schedule which either reduced or eliminated harmful foods. On my pre-surgery diet, for example, I frequently ate red meat. To insure that the fat and cholesterol content of my meals would be drastically reduced, I charted a meal plan for the Positive Diet that reduced red meat to just four meals per week.

Another advantage to using a meal plan is that it allows for certain favorite, but not-so-healthy foods to be phased out gradually, rather than eliminated abruptly. Abrupt elimination can cause a feeling of being unjustly deprived and result in resentment.

For example, abruptly giving up a daily breakfast of bacon and eggs could be very discouraging. All of the fat and cholesterol arguments in the world might not work. With meal planning, however, one could begin to practice the Positive Diet by reducing the number of times bacon and eggs were eaten for breakfast.

Further reductions and possible elimination could come in future meal plans. The result not only would be an immediate reduction in fat and cholesterol, but also a more ready acceptance of the Positive Diet as a permanent diet pattern.
Additional reason for using a meal plan

An additional reason for using a meal plan is to involve all members of the family in the act of planning. Eating is a family affair, and good earth, u health is the business of the entire family – Everyone in the family understands why the Positive Diet is necessary and provides input as to what should be eaten, there generally is more cooperation.

In our family, we decided together what meals to eat during the coming week. Even our youngest child had his say. Total family participation reduced the number of surprises at meals and led to a firmer commitment by each person to practice the Positive Diet. It resulted in a sharing of responsibility, pride and support which helped to keep everyone eating healthfully. Even the children could understand that we were eating right not just for Daddy’s heart, but for their own hearts as well.

Meal planning does take some work to be successful. In the beginning I found our meal plans to be restrictive and repetitive. This was to be expected — after all, I was attempting to change the dietary habits of a lifetime. After a while we developed a larger selection of tested menus and recipes, which gave me more culinary choices.

Today, with the Positive Diet an integral part of our family lifestyle, meal planning has become more a guideline and less a rigid plan. It has become second nature to the extent that a formal meal plan is no longer necessary. However, had meal planning not been used at the beginning of the diet, I do not believe that success would have been possible.

I will provide the sample recipes here in hub and updated it in this hub.It is not necessary to use my meal plans to practice the Positive Diet successfully; but it is necessary to use a meal plan.

After I understood why adherence to the Positive Diet was critical for me, I began to deal with the real question: how to make it work? Could I produce meals which were tasty and healthful? Would too much time be spent in cooking? Would the meals be expensive?

Was the Positive Diet a practical one?

My decision was to disregard the “woulds” and the “shoulds,” and to direct my attention to just getting started, but to do so in an orderly fashion. I did not believe that even with an understanding of diet and motivation to change, I could totally reverse a 32-year-old behavior pattern instantly
Instead of attempting complete dietary control by
simultaneously adopting all four basic principles, I decided to work with one at a time. Start with the first basic principle,
I reasoned, get it firmly established in my diet pattern, then move on to the second. When that one was in place, go to the third, and so on. By taking the time to concentrate on specific pieces of the program, I could make steady progress. This method would be far preferable to the quick, but potentially short-lived adoption of all the basic principles simultaneously.

Creative Substitution

Creative substitution is the process of substituting healthful foods and ingredients for harmful ones while still preserving the appeal and the taste of the food. It is one thing to remove harmful foods from the diet. It is quite another to fill the void with alternative foods which are nutritive, tasty, easily prepared, and acceptable to the American palate.

The long term challenge is to produce satisfying meals made up of healthful foods, so that harmful foods will not be missed. Creative substitution is a necessary tool to effect permanent dietary change. Fortunately, it is easily done. It is an art, and like any other art it can be perfected over time.

I knew when I began the Positive Diet that creative substitution would be essential to its success. While there was a legitimate place in my diet for raw carrots and unmilled grain, without the creative use of these foods in acceptable recipes such a diet was doomed. For that reason, I spent time during the development period talking with physicians, nutritionists and, most importantly, other cardiac patients about the problem of permanent acceptability of a heart-healthy diet.

Their comments coincided with my own experience and led to this conclusion: in order for a healthy diet to become permanent, it must offer foods which are acceptable to the American palate. This meant that “American-type” meals had to be made more healthy, rather than eliminated. And it meant that creative substitution was of extreme importance in accomplishing such a change.

For example, saturated animal fats, often used in American cooking, are unhealthy. Fish oil is a healthy alternative, but is not familiar to American t.islrs. For that reason, it is an unrealistic substitution despite its healthful qualities. Safflower oil would be a more acceptable substitute. Thus, In creating the menus and the recipes for the Positive Diet we paid as much attention to Ameri-can taste as to healthfulness.

The process of creative substitution took two forms. The first was a simple “one-for-one” exchange of heart-healthy food for less healthful food. Barbecued or broiled salmon, for example, replaced beefsteak. Since salmon is lower in fat and cholesterol, it is a good one-for-one substitution.

Many other harmful foods were easy to replace: skim milk for whole milk; egg substitute for whole eggs; chicken sandwiches for pastrami sandwiches; unsalted peanuts for salted peanuts; and fruit juice for soft drinks. Even for those new to the Positive Diet, this form of creative substitution is an easy one to learn, especially when used in conjunction with a meal plan.

The second form of creative substitution was more difficult to master, but was also fundamental to the success of the diet. This form involves the substitution of healthful ingredients for harmful items in a recipe. It allows a meal normally unacceptable to a heart-healthy diet to become acceptable by removing the harmful ingredients and substituting more healthful ingredients.

For example, in beef stroganoff, fat-rich sour cream and commercially prepared cream of chicken soup were replaced by non-fat yogurt and homemade chicken broth. In effect, the form and the taste of the American diet pattern can be preserved, while the quality can be drastically changed for the better.

Another form of creative substitution is to alter the cooking method. For example, commercially prepared, fat-laden French fries are artery blockers. But heart-healthy French fries can be made by substituting unsaturated liquid vegetable oil for animal fat and by using oven-baking in place of deep fat frying. And chocolate cake can include safflower oil in place of butter and shortening and cocoa powder in place of baking chocolate.

Creative substitution with ingredients takes time and practice to develop, but with proficiency comes an increasing ability to turn negative diet meals into Positive Diet meals. When that happens, the best of both worlds is gained.

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