Heart patient Ronald Britt loves his heart through diet and nutrition

Posted on 1/31/2016

Ronald Britt is a 53-year-old project control officer and resident of Columbia. Last year he thought he was having a heart attack and dialed 9-1-1.

“It’s a lot easier to call 9-1-1 for somebody else than it is to make the call on your own behalf; but I was a big boy and asked to be taken to Palmetto Health because of their reputation.”

Ronald had coronary artery disease, which required a stent to open up the diseased coronary artery. When he continued to feel abnormal after a few weeks, he and his wife decided he needed to enter into Palmetto Health’s cardiac rehabilitation program.

“When I registered, I told them I was going to push their nutritionist,” recalls Ronald. I’m a ‘best practices’ kind of guy, always looking at how to do something better. I was ready to consume anything that I could learn from the nutritionist.”

When he had trouble hitting his targets for protein and fat, dietitian Lisa Akly helped Ronald tailor a dietary plan—because everybody is different.

“Everything is a balance,” says Ronald. “Lisa helped me with some more achievable categories. If you can’t ever reach a goal, you’ll eventually stop trying.”

“Nutrition is the one thing that day in and day out I can influence,” says Ronald. You do it, and it’s a lot of work and it’s constant. You really don’t know what the payback is going to be. But you do know that if you don’t do it, the payback is that your health is going to get worse a lot faster.”

And as time has gone by, so has Ronald’s craving for the bad stuff.

“I eat very little added sugar. The added sugar I do get comes in canned tomatoes or ketchup, for example, never in a candy bar or a piece of cake. I attended a business meeting where they didn’t want people to leave, so they brought in a big bowl of potato chips and a big bowl of candy bars. I never touched them. I was able to sit there for hours and never look at them twice.”

American Heart Month Events

As we celebrate American Heart Month this February, join Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Dietitian Lisa Akly for an enlightening overview of heart-healthy food selections. She’ll discuss types of fats, the benefits of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, plus the hazards of salt and added sugars.

Choose from two different times:

To register, call 803-296-CARE (2273).

Love your heart by attending any of our free heart health seminars during February. For more information and to register, go to PalmettoHealth.org/LoveYourHeart.



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