Dancemax Letter #33, Thursday, Jan 11, 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
How I did it?

I underwent bypass surgery on my heart (5 blocked arteries) in 1995. When I went back to the Studio, my friend Tom wanted to help me. He gave me advice that really changed my life. First, he asked me how many grams of fat I was eating? I did not know. I learned how to count fat grams and since then on his advice I have restricted my fat intake to no more than 25 gms. a day, with very little saturated fat. I have brought my cholesterol down to about 150 and raised my HDL to about 35. I feel fine and I can dance for hours everyday.

There are 2 kinds of diet fort Heart.

1. Reversal Diet: It is for those who have had a heart attack, who have active coronary disease such as Angina (chest pains) on medical therapy or awaiting surgery, or those who have a very high coronary risk such as Diabetics with strong Family History with high cholesterol and low HDL values.

2. Preventive Diet, for any one who is at moderate or low risk or anyone who wants to reduce the risk of heart disease to minimum.

The objective of both groups is reduction of Fat. In the first group (Reversal diet) the saturated fat consumption is to be strict almost 0 gms. Once the disease is reversed there can be some compromise and a small amount of saturated fat (say like 3 to 5 gms) along with 20 gms of unsaturated fat may be allowed.

In previous letters we discussed fat grams and how to count them Let's review a little and then we will close this chapter.

1 gm of Fat yields 9 calories and 1 gm of Carbs and Protein have 4 cals each. So what dot do you want to eat to fill your stomach and take less calories? Obviously the answer is less fat and more carbs and proteins. That way you can loose weight and still be satisfied with your appetite. More than that, this low fat diet will reduce your cholesterol in blood and cure or prevent heart disease.

How much Fat? My recommendation is only 10% of your calories required, could be from fat. This is in line with Dr. Dean Ornish's guidelines who has scientifically proved and published data on reversal of heart disease. So Let's say an average person requires 2000 cals in 24 hrs. 10% of that is 200 cals. We know that 1 gm of fat has 9 cals, so let's divide 200 by 9. The answer is 22 to 23 gms of fat. That is what I have done to change my life. This not only cleaned out my coronary artereis but also controlled my Diabetes. Yes, you can let yourself go once in a while (once a week) as in a party or dine out but if you follow these guidelines can live a hearty life and dance, dance and dance.

No red meat, No Cheese or Whole milk products, it is as simple as that. So, How should you eat?..let me count the ways...
  • Become a Vegetarian for health reasons
  • Use 1 tablespoon oil (olive is ok) for cooking 4 to 6 servings when preparing meals
  • No Butter or margarine's, I do use small amount of low fat butter with 5 gms fat in 1 TBLSpoon.
  • Check the label, any product that has more than 3 gms of Fat per serving, don't touch
  • 1/2% milk or skim and low fat milk products are good, there are millions
  • Lentils, Beans and Grains including moderate amount of Rice is fine Carbohydrates are not as bad as Dr Adkins will make you believe.
  • Dancers and Athletes need quick energy release fuel (carbohydrates)
  • Research your grocery store for Soya products, I recently discovered meatless meat which is wonderful
  • Eat a lot of Fish and moderate amounts Turkey
  • No fried foods. Broiled Chicken, skinless dry white meat is perhaps OK but I dont even eat that much chicken anymore.
  • Learn Indian or other Oriental Cooking. Saute your onions in a little olive oil, throw some curry powder and mix it with your assortment of veggies, takes 15 mts.
  • 5 eggwhites a day to compensate for Proteins (yes, throw the yolks)
  • Devour Fruits and Vegetables, Dried fruits for snacks is a good idea. Alcohol?....... Moderate drinking and keeping your alcohol intake within limits can be beneficial. 1 1/2 oz of hard liquor or a glass of wine a day is good for you but if you dont drink, do not start. You must discipline yourself and if you can discipline your body to Dance, believe me discipline of your mind is easier. If you were in a party and had more than fair share, abstain for a couple of days and balance your weekly intake according to above recommendation. Doctors dont know yet how it helps but it is now openly prescribed. I have heared this in many medical meetings. Red is better than White or Scotch is better than Smirnoff? a myth and they seem to be the same.
Golden Rules to prevent heart disease:
  1. Low Fat diet (25 gms/day)
  2. Aerobic Exercise 15 minutes a day minimum
  3. One Aspirin a day (adult or baby)
  4. Stop Smoking
  5. Control your Blood Pressure
  6. Control your Diabetes
  7. Consume alcohol only in moderation, read above guidelines.
  8. Cholesterol lowering drugs (only if diet doesn't work, I take Lipitor 10 mg daily)
  9. Antioxidants, Vit C, Vit E, Niacin, B-Carotene, fish and fish oils are good.
  10. Positive thinking, active social life and often Sex, yes I am not kidding
Bottom Line: You must know what is your total Cholesterol and HDL Ratio, Keep it below 4 if you can or as close to it as possible.

Thank you for your patince and next time "Shell we Jive?"...Best wishes, Sincerly...Max

Questions and comments to, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits