- Women@Heart Community Support Program: A “peer support program led by women with heart disease, for women with heart disease” (of any kind). It consists of 12 structured two-hour sessions held bi-weekly online now, thanks to the pandemic. Based on Ottawa, but it now appears to be open to women everywhere.
- HeartLife Foundation: A “patient-driven charity whose mission is to transform the quality of life for people living with heart failure by engaging, educating, and empowering a global community to create lasting solutions and build healthier lives.” They host a private Facebook group for patients and caregivers.
- Canadian Women with Medical Heart Issues Facebook Group: A “casual, private Canadian women’s lifestyle group dedicated to the support & information sharing about living with heart health issues” and also “proudly affiliated with HeartLife Foundation of Canada.”
- Community of Survivors Facebook Group: a “safe, inclusive and respectful community” established and moderated by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada where people share “experiences, quality information and tips for life after a stroke or cardiac event.”
- And if you’re here in Alberta, there’s the Heart to Heart Cardiac Support Society, which now has a Facebook group and is going to start meeting monthly again (over Zoom), as well as their fantastic partner organization, Woman to Woman, which meets monthly at Repsol Place, at least when there’s not a pandemic.
- If you like to watch while you treadmill or chop veggies, you may enjoy this library of talks by the heart disease experts at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
- Living Well With Heart Disease: A Guide for People With Coronary Heart Disease (free e-book): Heart & Stroke Foundation
- A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease*: Written by a heart attack survivor and patient activist, “a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”
- Intuitive Eating*: Helps people learn to trust their inner wisdom and make peace with food. One less source of stress!
The following tools and templates are available for download when you subscribe to my weekly newsletters.
- Meal Planning Checklist
- Pre-Printed Heart-Healthy Grocery List
Ideas for what to eat:
- Breakfast for the Rushed
- My Go-To Meal and Snack List
- Heart-Healthy Snack Ideas
- The 30-Minute Heart Healthy Cookbook*: Delicious Recipes for Easy, Low-Sodium Meals – I’m biased I know (my book), but it’s honestly full of quick, easy, tasty recipes that will help you use more legumes and whole grains.
- Spilling The Beans*: Cooking And Baking With Beans Everyday – delicious, accessible, crowd-pleasing recipes for using more dried beans, peas, and lentils.
- Oh She Glows Cookbook*: Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out: Slightly more complex but mouth-watering recipes for expanding your plant-based repertoire.
Resources for Healthcare Professionals
The following resources are for clinicians or others looking to roll up their sleeves and really understand the science of nutrition for cardiovascular health.
If you’re looking for more practical, simpler guidance, browse through my blog, which is organized into popular categories for easy searching.
Clinical practice guidelines
Where possible, these links take you to the nutrition-related guidance in these broader documents.
- Prevention of heart disease: 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
- Cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fats in the blood: 2021 Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) Guidelines for the Management of Dyslipidemia for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Adults
- High blood pressure: Hypertension Canada – VI. Health behaviour management
- Weight: Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) (2020)
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes: Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines (updated 2020)
- A close look at dietary fat-related issues, including saturated fat and coconut oil: Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association (2017)
- Descriptions of Mediterranean, DASH, and vegetarian dietary patterns, as well as implementation strategies: Recommended Dietary Pattern to Achieve Adherence to the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) Guidelines (2016)
Helpful review articles
- A detailed discussion of the state of the evidence, especially for controversies like eggs, dairy, and red meat: Dietary and Policy Priorities for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity – A Comprehensive Review (2016)
- A review of the evidence around DASH and Mediterranean diets in secondary prevention in particular – Lifestyle Modification in Secondary Prevention (2017)
- Making the case for moving away from weight as a health indicator and weight loss as a treatment goal: Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift (2011)
- A rare randomized controlled trial (RCT) assessing hard CVD outcomes in secondary prevention: Mediterranean Diet, Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications After Myocardial Infarction – Final Report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study (1995)
- An RCT looking at hard CVD outcomes in primary prevention: Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts (PREDIMED) (2013, retracted and republished 2018)
Blood pressure (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH)
- An RCT showing that a combination of plant-based foods can reduce blood pressure, independent of sodium level: A Clinical Trial of the Effects of Dietary Patterns on Blood Pressure (1997)
- A follow-up RCT showing that the DASH diet is additive to sodium reduction for blood pressure reduction: Effects on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet (2001)
Diabetes prevention (Diabetes Prevention Program – DPP study)
- Lifestyle changes and treatment with metformin both reduced the incidence of diabetes in people at high risk, by 58% and 31% respectively, compared to the control group: Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin (2002)
- (However, recognize how incredibly intensive the intervention was – a great deal of support was offered to participants: The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Description of lifestyle intervention)
Weight loss (Look AHEAD study)
- “An intensive lifestyle intervention focusing on weight loss did not reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes.” Cardiovascular Effects of Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Type 2 Diabetes (2013)
This is by no means a complete list of resources! I tried to keep it short and sweet for you. If you have suggested additions, send them my way!
* Note these are affiliate links, so if you buy after clicking that link Amazon shares a small portion of the purchase price with me, at no extra cost to you.