Hard to believe, but a bit of basil can be amazing

Carle Heart Failure Clinic coordinator Noah Schroeder, registered nurseGrilled salmon with asparagus. Chicken breasts with pico de gallo. Pork tenderloin with fruit salad.

You’ll find these and more on Noah Schroeder’s table because the registered nurse practices what he preaches. Let’s try that again. He prepares the food we should be eating.

And he wants people coping with heart failure to do the same.

“We know it can be hard for our patients with high blood pressure, heart disease and heart failure to follow dietary recommendations,” said Schroeder, Heart Failure Clinic coordinator and Ogden father of two young boys. “We’re all busy. We grab convenient food without thinking. Some of us are on limited incomes.

“Really, though, removing salt and being intentional about what we eat isn’t that difficult.”

Schroeder is teaming up with Harvest Market’s dietitian to prove just that. They’re offering free monthly demonstrations where people with heart failure—and their family and friends—learn to cook and create delicious low-sodium dishes. The next session is 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1. Register at GoHarvestMarket.com under Store Events or call (217) 904-7063.

Registered dietician Emily Dupuis promises the low-salt recipes pack in plenty of flavor.

“Many people believe eating heart-healthy and low-sodium is boring, tasteless or it means they have to give up their favorite foods,” she said. “I want people to see how easy and delicious heart-healthy cooking can be.”

Emily Dupuis, registered dietitian at Harvest Market in ChampaignShe and Schroeder believe the cooking demonstrations can save lives and help prevent heart failure.

“A big part of what I do is teach people how big an impact nutrition has on overall health,” Dupuis said. “Working with Carle allows us to reach out to people and show them how to put the new dietary guidelines they have been given into practical use. I can show them how basil and other herbs make great alternatives to salt.

“I can truly bridge the gap between the doctor’s office and home, providing practical and usable nutrition guidance and tasty meals.”

Heart failure is different than a heart attack, and its causes include a history of blockages in the heart, high blood pressure, irregular or fast heart rate and some hereditary conditions.

If you have these symptoms, please talk with your healthcare team.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tired, run-down feeling
  • Coughing, wheezing
  • Fluid buildup, swelling
  • Inability to tolerate lying flat to sleep
  • Confusion, unclear thinking

“It’s one thing to tell people with heart failure and other conditions what they should eat. It’s another to show them how to make healthy and delicious meals,” Schroeder said.

“We know when they try these low-salt dishes and see how good they are, they’re more likely to continue on that healthier path.”

Typically the first Thursday of the month, cooking demonstrations are in the Nook Demonstration Kitchen upstairs at Harvest Market, 2029 S. Neil St., Champaign. Recipes are from The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses’ free cookbook Don't Pass the Salt!  

Heart Healthy Cooking is made possible through funding provided by Carle Center for Philanthropy.