The Portfolio Diet is a diet designed to lower cholesterol levels without pharmaceutical intervention. The diet includes eating a "portfolio" of foods that are all hypothesized to lower cholesterol. The diet is vegetarian (and is almost vegan), as cholesterol is only found in animal products, and thus when aiming to reduce cholesterol, animal products are out. Some of the "portfolio" foods are typically high in viscous fiber (e.g. slimy veggies), which has been shown to bind to cholesterol. Also, the diet includes lots of foods with insoluble fiber (e.g. oats). Red wine is included in this diet as it has been thought to increase HDL levels (i.e. good cholesterol levels, and by increasing good cholesterol, you can actually decrease the bad). These two recipes are perfect for lowering cholesterol as they both include foods from the Portfolio Diet. Lastly, in 2007 Health Canada approved the claim that plant sterols reduce cholesterol. Hooray for natural foods being officially toted as medicinal!
Vegan Gumbo This gumbo is full of cholesterol lowering foods: soy, okra and eggplant (think slimy veggies), and fiber (from the veggies and brown rice).
1/2 dried brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups okra, chopped
2 cups eggplant, chopped
1 onion, chopped
700 mL jar of tomato/pasta sauce
"Sausage": 1 small package of seasoned/flavored tempeh or tofu, cubed, OR 2 veggie prepared sausages (such as Tofurky or Yves brands), sliced.
Seasonings (to taste): cayenne pepper, dried thyme, oregano, basil, black pepper, salt, and/or hot sauce.
Prepare the rice. In a pan or wok, saute the eggplant and okra in one inch-deep water for 10 minutes or until they are gooey and soft. In another pan, saute onions until soft. Add the cooked onions to the eggplant and okra. When the rice is finished, add-in the tomato sauce and "sausage" (I used roasted red pepper tempeh). Finally, combine all ingredients (in whichever pot is bigger!) and season to your liking. Makes 2 large or 4 medium-sized servings.
Maple-Walnut Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies For dessert serve oatmeal cookies with the addition of omega-3 fatty acid-rich walnuts. The insoluble fiber found in oats can also help lower cholesterol.
1 cup flour of choice
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each baking powder and soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raisins
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a second bowl, mix wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry. Add in the nuts and fruits. Form into cookie shapes with hands (you can roll the dough into balls) and press slightly onto a greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. The recipe made me 20 small cookies, but it will depend on how large you make them. Note: I used spelt flour, so the recipe may be dryer or wetter depending on the flour used. If too dry, add more maple syrup and if too wet, add more flour. As these cookies are not too too sweet, adding more maple syrup won't hurt the recipe.