Book Review: The Heart of Cooking

by Kelly Huth

If you have heart disease or are cooking for a loved one who does, it can be challenging to find a new set of delicious recipes that fit in with a doctor’s recommendations.

“A lot of patients ask me for tips or heart-healthy recipe ideas,” says Dwithiya Thomas, MD, a cardiologist with St. Luke’s University Health Network and director of the Women’s Heart Center. It’s what inspired her to start collecting her favorite recipes from her kitchen, and her family and friends to compile them into a cookbook.

Dr. Thomas has always loved cooking. She approached her managers at St. Luke’s two years ago with the idea and everyone was really supportive. Her cookbook “The Heart of Cooking,” (2019, Page Publishing, $34.95) was released this spring and is available at and Barnes & Noble.

The book is divided into six chapters—each filled with 25 recipes that adhere to a specific dietary plan. So if a doctor has recommended a diet low in salt, low in fat, or low carbs—a reader will find a chapter dedicated to each of those plans. There are also chapters focused on kid-friendly dishes, vegetarian meals, and heart-healthy desserts.

What makes the “The Heart of Cooking” different from other heart-healthy books is that it’s a mix of international recipes infused with modern ingredients like kale, hummus, and quinoa, Dr. Thomas says. Some of her favorite recipes included in the book are a Blueberry Almond Quinoa Bowl for breakfast; Tomato Pesto Melt, or Watermelon, Mint and Halloumi Wrap for lunch; and Spinach-and-Cheese-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash, or Falafel Waffle with Greek Salad for dinner.

With the recipes, an asterisk denotes details on key ingredients or possible substitutions.

“In order to prevent heart disease or manage it, the No. 1 thing you can do is reduce your salt intake,” Dr. Thomas says. “There’s always a way to add flavor to a meal without adding salt.”

She boosts flavor in recipes by increasing the variety of ingredients or using herbs and spices instead of reaching for the salt shaker. Swaps like these and teaching patients healthy choices to add to their lifestyles and their exercise plans can make a difference.

Dr. Thomas sees this cookbook as an introduction. “It’s a way to get started with healthy habits.”


Want more recipes like this? Visit for a peanut butter chocolate chip chickpea bar recipe that will surely satisfy!

As seen in the Summer/Fall 2019 Issue

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