Cover of Book

Title: Prevent a Second Heart Attack
Author: Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN
366 pages; Softcover $15.00 US / $17.00 CAN
Publisher: Three Rivers Press NY NY 2011
Reviewed by Chef John Vyhnanek, April, 2011

The review--- I hope I never need to have this book for anything other than review purposes. Prevent a Second Heart Attack...8 Foods, 8 Weeks...To Reverse Heart Disease. Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, the author of Cholesterol Down, has written a thought provoking book. It's not a cook book so to speak rather a guide to being a healthier person by eating correctly. I am fortunate to know about many things she talks about but I must admit that I learned more. Yeah, oatmeal and walnuts are good for you but olive oil? Well as it turns out not just any olive oil is good, only extra virgin oil. It's the polyphenols that stimulate endothelial cells' production of nitric oxide, the substance that causes arteries to relax and dilate, thereby reducing blood pressure and easing inflammationregular plain olive oil doesn't contain nearly as many polyphenols.

So what are the 8 foods? As just mentioned, extra virgin olive oil; then green and bright colored vegetables like beets, carrots, tomatoes; Fruits, especially figs; legumes especially lentils; seafood, especially salmon, mackerel and herring; nuts and seeds, like walnuts and flax seed; grains, especially oatmeal; and red wine especially pinot noir! Now to a suprise, there is nothing wrong with eating eggs! Well in a balance with what ever else you will be eating that day. No eggs for breakfast, cheese pizza with pepperoni for lunch and braised short ribs for dinner, but you could have eggs for breakfast, tuna salad sandwich for lunch and chicken and vegetable kabobs for dinner. The latter would place your daily cholesterol intake at a healthy and recommended level. You will have to buy the book and read to learn and understand this!

Nicely tucked into the back section are about 35 pages of recipes that utilize the 8 ingredients in the recipes. I found the Oatmeal Raisin Muffins to be tasty and moist, the Baba Ghanoush to be fantastic and because of the ingredients no different than it would regularly be made, and Chef Mario Spina's recipe for Mussels Marinara to be as good as any restaurant would make!

So don't wait for the second chance to get on track buy this book and be a better eater from the get-go! Just think, you can be satisfied with wonderful food flavors, eat good and satisfying food and probably be a slimmer you when you understand how to eat the 8 right foods and do so in a mere 8 weeks!

This is a good book!!!

Recipes tested---
Chef Keith Blauschild's Oatmeat Raisin Muffins
Serves 6

Mix the dry ingredients the night before, then finish the batter in the morning to start your day with a freshly baked muffin.

Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat six 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper baking cups and coat the insides of the cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Place the raisins and 2 tablespoons water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 25 seconds. Let sit for 2 minutes to plump the raisins.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the applesauce, milk, egg whites, flaxseed oil, and raisins. Add to the flour mixture; stir just until incorporated. Don't overmix. Spoon the batter into the pre-pared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly browned and firm in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve warm.

Dr. Janet's Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Dip)
Serves 6

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Using a fork, prick the eggplant in about eight places. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut the eggplant in half, drain any liquid, and scoop out the pulp into the container of a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, and cayenne. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

Chef Mario Spina's Mussels Marinara
Serves 4

Fresh mussels served in a garlicky broth makes an exquisite appetizer or entree.

2 pounds Prince Edward mussels
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
One 16-ounce can no-salt-added whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

With a stiff brush, wash the mussels in cool running water. Pull off and discard the dark strings attached to the mussel. Throw away any mussels that are not closed or do not close when tapped. In a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for several minutes until the garlic is golden. Add the mussels, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the lid. The mussels should be starting to open. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium high, and cook to slightly thicken the wine, about 5 more minutes. At this point all the mussels should be wide open. Add the tomatoes and their juice, crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you add them. Stir, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Garnish with the oregano and parsley.