In honor of National Heart Health Month, Better Nutrition contributing editor Chris Mann (WellseeingTV.com) sat down with heart attack survivor Bob Harper to discuss his changing views on heart health.
The Biggest Loser trainer and host Bob Harper couldn’t have been more fit at 51. Working out by day, the bestselling Skinny Rules author was penning his next diet and nutrition book by night. And then, on February 12, 2017, a massive heart attack—due primarily to a genetic condition called high lipoprotein(a)—nearly took his life. Here’s an excerpt of our interview with Harper. Read the full interview in the upcoming April 2018 issue of Better Nutrition.
BN: What are your biggest health takeaways from your heart attack?
Bob Harper: The main thing I learned was how important it is to know your health. And what I mean by that is to know what’s going on from the inside out when it comes to the body. It’s one of those “don’t ever judge a book by its cover” (lessons), because everything could look great on the outside but there could be issues that you aren’t aware of that are going on with you on the inside.
Also, I realize now how important it is to put stress management at the top of the (wellness) list. If you have ways of managing your stress, then you’re going to have the tools, the discipline and the resolve to make better choices when it comes to food, to find time to work out and take care of yourself.
BN: You talk about limiting red meat. Are your recipes like Bison Tacos* designed as heart-healthier alternatives?
Bob Harper: Since my heart attack my doctors don’t want me eating red meat. But I don’t want people to think that the Super Carb Diet is for heart attack survivors. It’s a little broader than that. So that’s why I wanted to incorporate things like using bison meat. because it is a really lean cut of meat and it’s lower in fat. You want good, quality lower-fat animal proteins if animal protein is something you’re eating on a consistent basis. I do eat fish and sometimes a little chicken. I think I’m kind of a flexitarian because my nutrition is mostly plant based.
BN: Why the change of heart about carbs, which you used to rule out after lunch?
Bob Harper: I understand that if you’re trying to lose weight quickly, a great way to do it is to eliminate your carbohydrate intake. What I’m realizing now, being in the business for as long as I have, is how difficult that is to sustain. So when I decided to put the Super Carb Diet to the test I wanted it to be, again, balanced.