Autumn season is upon us which means blustery winds, low temperatures, and cozy dinners at home. Along with colder weather we kiss our angelic summer salads goodbye in favor of seasonally appropriate pumpkin pie and Starbucks gingerbread mochas.

It is also a time that reminds us to be mindful of our health before diving headfirst into the cookie jar. A vegetarian diet presents a lot of advantages because many meat-free foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes are high-fiber, and low-fat and free from harmful chemicals. In addition, a vegetarian diet can protect your heart and keep you trim in the process. Chicago Healers Practitioner Tiffany Triner, Assistant Nutritionist at Nutrition Connection Balance, LLC offers some great tips for avoiding your “fat jeans” this fall, by introducing a bounty of naturally healthy foods into your diet.

Here are some ways to revamp your diet and fight heart disease simultaneously:

Veg Out – 10 plates of salad, an entire head of broccoli, go crazy! Alright maybe that’s a bit overboard, but fresh or frozen produce contain phytonutrients that help to prevent and repair cellular damage and as an added bonus they taste delicious. Throw veggies in everything to add flavor and fill you up. Onions, broccoli, beets, artichoke hearts – whatever you like! Lightly steamed vegetables are a tasty, low-calorie way to add bulk to soup, a rice dish, pasta, or even sprinkled on top of pizza dough while packing a punch of antioxidants.

Trade in your Hamburgers– for fresh fish. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon at least twice a week. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish help to lower the risk of heart disease and reduce high triglycerides.

Replace Fodder with Fiber – Whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds also throw a heavy punch in the fight against heart disease. These foods are full of fiber, which is important in maintaining or reaching ideal cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber’s job is to bind to LDL (bad) Cholesterol which is eventually excreted out of our systems.

Sprinkle Smart – Trade your sour cream and mayo in for flavorful spices that won’t cost you any calories or overdo it on sodium. Certain spices can provide heart-boosting benefits and a flavor kick:

• Raises HDL (good) cholesterol: Fenugreek

• Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol: Caper, coriander, cinnamon, fenugreek, garlic, ginger

• Lowers homocysteine levels: Mustard, wasabi, horseradish

• Anti-inflammatory: Bay leaf, garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, thyme, turmeric

• Inhibit platelet aggregation (prevents blood clots): Clove, ginger, onion, oregano, rosemary, thyme

By adding in a variety of fresh nutrient-rich foods such as the ones mentioned above people can help to protect their heart.

About Healers ( is the nation’s pioneer prescreened integrative health care network, offering a comprehensive understanding of each practitioner’s services, approach, and philosophy. Our holistic health experts teach and advocate natural and empowered health and life choices through their practices, the media, educational events, and our website. With close to 200 practitioners and over 300 treatment services, Chicago Healers has provided nearly 400 free educational events for Chicagoans and has been featured in 300+ TV news programs and print publications. For more information, visit .