Healthy eating hacks from a heart attack survivor


TV chef Sally Bee suffered three heart attacks when she was 36 before being diagnosed with spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). She tells Benenden that her survival against the odds was down to a diet crammed with healthy food

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Here, the creator of healthy-eating plans on the ITV daytime show Lorraine reveals how to put the bite back into your diet and pack your plate with goodness — while breaking those bad habits.

Downsize… not supersize
Here’s how not to fill up on excess protein or carbs. Hover your hand over your plate with your fingers together. Your hand size is the portion size for both protein and carbs. The rest of your plate should be full of vegetables and salad 
in a variety of colours. 

Balance is important
There is no such thing as a demon food — look at your diet as a whole. Among the tricks to ensuring you eat what you need is keeping an eye on portion size, as plates in restaurants can be huge.

Coconuts are beautiful
However, I am not super into the coconut oil cooking trend, as it is extremely high in saturated fat and I trust my own body. It’s too heavy for me to use in the kitchen.

Go deep
The vegetables and fruits with the deepest colours reflect the nutrients inside them, so go big on kale, broccoli, beets, tomatoes and rich-coloured berries. 

Meat-free Mondays
Red meat is essential for some who need the mix of iron and protein. Twice a week is fine, but cut off excess fat, and enjoy chicken and fish. I’m a fan of meat-free Mondays, which focus on upping your veg intake. Ensure you eat plenty of legumes, beans and leafy greens.

Smoothies are super
I love a smoothie, but only drink a small glass, using half veg, half fruit. The rest is water rather than fruit juice. I make smoothies with half kale and courgette, half pineapple and mango. The rest is sparkling water. Sometimes these replace my breakfast and I’ll eat a handful of almonds to fill me up.

Herbs and spices
I call these the flavour saviour. They make healthy food delicious, and replace fat, sugar and salt as the perfect taste-enhancing additions.

Burst that bubble
Processed food and fizzy drinks are empty calories. It’s fine to indulge occasionally, but keep these as a treat and avoid consuming them every day. Eating ‘clean’ is the purest way to great health. A healthy body is a gift. 

Be gluten aware
Carbs are fine, but balance them depending on your output. If you are exercising 
a lot, you will need them for energy. They also aid sleep as they have a soporific effect. I love potatoes and rice, but tend to be gluten aware as bread makes me feel bloated. The wheat we use these days can ferment in your gut. Listen to your body: if it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t good for you. 

This article was written for Benenden — for more healthy tips, visit benenden.co.uk/healthier-you/