This is a great Meatless Monday topic. Most community hospitals offer a heart risk assessment for a nominal fee and publicize these "fairs" in the paper about every few weeks. Saturday, our Heart Hospital http://www.arheart.com/
offered one and for $10 here is what I found out: my total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, TC/HDL ratio, blood pressure, triglycerides, glucose, % body fat and BMI. My shoe size I am withholding. Just kidding. Well, no, I'm not.
What really interested me were the changes since January when I last had this done and also decided then to shift what I eat away from animal foods to whole, plant-based foods. I have been doing these assessments since 1998 and by far, the most beneficial changes occurred over the past few months. Since January, I have lost between 8-10 pounds (the hospital's and my scales differ), my total cholesterol has always been great but did drop about 38 points (55 points total since 1998) and my triglycerides about 10 (13 total since 1998). Interesting, because I am eating more than ever and having so much fun doing it.
This just confirms that although I am fairly slender, I had some sludge to clear out and now, it seems, my body has settled itself into a better place. The nurses were pretty amazed, too, and want me to come back and talk with them about what I have done. I wanted to share this today because these assessments are a very inexpensive and convenient way for everyone to keep tabs on their blood levels, and so keep your eyes peeled for these fairs in your community.
Meatless Monday is a fabulous "companion" campaign and Our Green Table is so happy to support heart healthy nutrition, today and every day.
Here is our Meatless Monday recipe for a "hearty" soup. The tortellini give it a nice "chew" which a lot of meat eaters will find comforting and this soup can go from summer to winter just by playing with the ingredients. Pretty close to a meal in itself, it is a nice starting recipe for those just jumping on board our veggie wagon. We welcome all aboard!
Summer Tortellini Soup
4 cups fresh spinach, torn into bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow sweet bell pepper, diced
1 15-ounce can white beans with liquid ( I use "no salt added" Eden Organic for safe, BPA-free cans)
4 cups (organic) vegetable broth
4 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid; fire-roasted are nice)
1 9-ounce package fresh tortellini of choice
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh black pepper
fresh basil sprigs
Parmesan cheese, optional
Saute garlic in a little olive oil until it just starts to turn golden brown. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in broth, beans with their liquid, tomatoes with their liquid and bell pepper. Bring to a boil. Add tortellini and simmer about 5-7 minutes or until pasta is "al dente". Taste for seasonings. I usually do not add any salt. Serve with basil sprig and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Note: I also add in any other summer vegetables on hand like zucchini and summer squash. I toss these in with the garlic and saute for a few minutes to heighten the flavor, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.