Chat and Chew group meets to address heart health and diet

Cookbook authors offer wisdom to attendees over Skype at this free event

IF YOU THINK olive oil is the healthiest way to add flavor when cooking healthy meals, you might want to expand your culinary tool belt and attend the upcoming Chat and Chew session. Even olive oil is technically processed — meaning it is not whole plant or whole food material.

Chat and Chew, a local health study group, will hold their next meeting on Friday, March 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Winter Haven Library, 325 Avenue A NW. This Chat and Chew session will focus on developing flavor in healthy foods, specifically heart-healthy foods. Leader of the Chat and Chew group, Cathy Thornhill, explains, “Plants and herbs can be used, without adding high fat or high salt content, to season heart-healthy foods that you never thought could actually taste so good!”

The free session will feature an interactive Skype session with Ann and Jane Esselstyn, a mother-daughter team who co-authored a book titled Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook. Ann Esselstyn is the wife of the renowned Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic. “What is so amazing about Dr. Esselstyn’s experience is that he began working to implement a heart-healthy diet for his patients in the 1980s, during a time no one was really eating this way,” Thornhill observes. Dr. Esselstyn has used a special diet for his heart patients, some of whom received a truly grim prognosis from other doctors, and has seen great success with his patients over the decades. The most favorable heart-healthy diet, according to Dr. Esselstyn, includes a high intake of oatmeal and other whole grains, no meat, and no dairy.

One example of adding flavor to healthy foods without adding non-whole food ingredients would be choosing the proper salad dressing. When most people eat salad, they usually drown the healthy lettuce in high-fat, high-salt, processed dressing. However, there are several alternatives. Thornhill’s favorite recipe for salad dressing is three parts vinegar, two parts mustard, and one-part maple syrup! Nutritional yeast can be used as a cheese substitute as well.

Members will first watch a demo recipe preparation on DVD featuring Dr. Esselstyn’s diet. Then, during the Skype session, Ann and Jane will review recipes from their cookbook, and interact with members who may have questions or comments. “The recipes are plant perfect and match exactly what the doctor did with his patients,” explains Thornhill. Both the cookbook and DVD will be for sale at the end of the Chat and Chew session.

Olive Tap, a West Palm Beach company, will also be present at the meeting to host a vinegar tasting. In fact, they even have infused chocolate vinegar, which many people enjoy on top of bananas. Space is limited, so interested attendees should arrive early before the doors are closed. For more information, please contact Cathy Thornhill at



Posted on February 22, 2016

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