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Well folks, the doc says it’s past time to make some changes. I went to the ER last Wednesday feeling weak and had my first heart attack. Spent a day & a half in CCU and the rest of the time in the coronary unit. One artery was 100% blocked so I now have a shiny new stent. Wink The damage is not fully known; hoping for minimal.

Any of my Q buddies out there do “heart-healthy”BBQ? Suggestions & comments would be appreciated.

I did tell the Mrs that if I had to go, I wanted to go happy – BBQ drizzling down one side of my mouth & chocolate down the other. I thought it was cute but all I got was “the stare!”

Anyway, if anyone has suggestion on reducing salt & fat in Q without loosing much flavor (seems like an oxymoron) please respond to this thread.

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A year ago I had a similar experience - found out that a virus had crippled the upper muscles of my heart and had to make some serious dietary changes to help get better and stay better. They also stuck an ICD in my chest just in case my heart decides to stop beating. Salt had to go, and for me that was not easy. I have eliminated all salts from my rubs and now do not miss it at all - even the folks who partake of my que admit that they don't miss the salt. I just made my rubs without salt and then tried adding different spices to get a taste I liked. Its all in experimenting to get where you want to be. And a salt free diet is a better alternative to being the featured guest at a wake.
Last edited by uncleduke
Make a few simple changes, and you'll be fine.

I've always reduced or eliminated salt in the rubs and sauce I make and buy. The brining worries me so I've cut back some on the salt content in the brine. I don't add salt to anything except the occasional popcorn. Hardly ever eat fries anymore. Switched to sweet potatoes, salads(balsamic vinegar & olive oil, Caesar dressing made from olive oil) and beans(smoked) for sides. Use olive oil or grape seed oil (even better) for sauteing, panini type sandwiches, or searing instead of butter.

Smoke a lot of very low salt almonds(reduces LDL and blood pressure, raises HDL), salmon, chicken (discard the skin and you won't have to worry about how crisp it is), turkey, pork loin (trimmed), pork tenderloin, beans. Very, very lean London broil for jerky. As a matter of fact, since we want as little fat as possible for jerky, I buy select. When smoking beef or pork, trim fat off the sides. When I smoke sausage, I smoke them to higher temp than recommended to render some of the fat. Whenever a recipe calls for salt, use less than recommended.

Daily I take krill or salmon oil capsules (omega raises HDL, lowers LDL) and niacin (lowers cholesterol). Use a lot of garlic in things and take garlic supplements(supposed to be healthy. If nothing else, it keeps the vampires away). I'm sure your doctor has put you on cholesterol lowering medication. Like I said, you'll be fine. And you can still enjoy these great smokers.
Last edited by pags
Two things to add:
1)Get well soon! I'm glad you got to the hospital in time.

2)Not to go against the grain here, but for a lot of people salt is what makes life worth living. For several years prior to his passing, my dad suffered through bland meal after bland meal until his failure to eat became an issue. I spoke to a specialist who informed me that "cut back on salt" was one leg of the physicians holy trinity; "stop smoking" and "lose weight" being the other two. He went on to say that unless you have a family history of blood pressure issues or severe kidney issues, that salt was not likely to be a contributing factor to any health problems outside the 2-3% of the population that has a genetic disorder that makes it difficult to process salt. These individuals are almost entirely of African American descent.

So if salt is important to your taste buds, ask your doctor directly. The doctor I spoke to said that is was such a long held belief in most people that salt is bad for you that it was easier to agree with them than to try and educate them. He said from a biological process perspective, the human body was designed to process salt more than anything else. It's basically the most important mineral in our bodies.

As far as fat goes though, Pags had some really good ideas. A little salt, if your doctor agrees, can make some low fat BBQ worth eating.
what is it about you boys from Arkansas and stents... first Bill now you Big Grin

Sorry to hear about it. Won't get into the whole salt debate, there seems to be a lot of discussion about that, but reducing is a good idea.

I think more importantly it's an issue of QUANTITY. I've lost 20 lbs in two months with reduced amounts and lots of exercise. Gotta get in shape for BBQ season.

Just do some portion control, take the advice above and you'll get there.

Best of luck. And maybe you can start a new tread... HHBBQ.
First of all, you aren't alone in this struggle. Lot's of us deal with this and you should be encouraged that there are lots of things you can do.

Salt is, IMHO, demonenized far beyond what is due. The thing to watch out for is the food you buy in boxes, cans or jars. Read the label. It's right there...the sodium content. Pay attention to that. The amount you add with your shaker at the table is not the problem.

And, as Smokin' says, "Moderation in portion size".

Lastly, I'll use the "E" in Exercise. No one want to hear it, but it is the key. The longer the better and the more aerobic the better. Start slow and you'll be surprised at you progress. Remember also that it's cumulative...over a day and over a lifetime.

And enjoy each day...
Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes, both here on the board & PM.

Smokin' -- Don't know what it is about Arkies & stents. Maybe, like ravens, we like shiny things! Roll Eyes

Have to agree with Todd on the salt issue. OMG I crave it. My issue was more with cholesterol than with blood pressure, but the two probably go hand-in-hand.

We'll see as time goes on how BBQ effects me. Right now just trying to regain some strength.

Thanks again friends! Big Grin

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