The Heart of Healthy Cooking

The Heart of Healthy Cooking

Cardiology patients at St. Luke’s University Health Network might notice a familiar face cooking on “The Chef’s Kitchen” this season. Dr. Dwithiya Thomas, director of St. Luke’s Women’s Heart Center, is the featured chef in three how-to videos that were filmed by the cooking show inside the kitchen at Easton Public Market.

The featured recipes come straight from her heart-healthy cookbook “The Heart of Cooking,” (2019, Page Publishing, $34.95) which was released in the spring and is available at and Barnes & Noble. In the episodes, Thomas demonstrates how to prepare her Ricotta Spinach Muffins, Golden Coconut Lentil Soup and Banana Ice Cream from her cookbook. The clips can be viewed on The Chef’s Kitchen YouTube channel.

“A lot of patients ask me for tips or heart-healthy recipe ideas,” says Thomas, who loves to cook. It gave her the idea to start compiling her family’s favorite recipes – as well as a few from family and friends – into a cookbook.

She says she approached her team at St. Luke’s with the idea about two years ago. “Everyone was very supportive.” With everyone on board, Thomas began selecting and testing recipes, and pulling a manuscript together before taking it to a publisher.

The book is separated into six sections – each containing 25 recipes that fit specific dietary plans, such as low salt, low fat, and low carbs. The sections are designed to help readers adhere to their doctor’s dietary recommendations. The remaining chapters feature kid-friendly meals, vegetarian dishes, and heart-healthy desserts.

Thomas says the book isn’t just for those who have been diagnosed with heart disease. It’s also a guide for those cooking for a loved one who has heart disease, or those looking to prevent it.

The book features global recipes and a variety of modern ingredients like kale, hummus, and quinoa. Thomas encourages her patients and readers to increase the variety of ingredients and spices as a way to boost flavor in a dish without adding salt.

“In order to prevent heart disease or manage it, the No. 1 thing you can do is to reduce your salt intake,” Thomas says.

Thomas also advises readers (and patients) to use beans and legumes to add protein and fiber to a dish without a lot of extra fat.

Some of her favorite recipes in the book include a Blueberry Almond Quinoa Bowl to start the day; a Watermelon, Mint and Halloumi Wrap for a quick lunch; and a Falafel Waffle with Greek Salad for a filling dinner.

The book is about offering readers “healthy choices to add to their lifestyle,” Thomas says. “It’s an introduction – a way to get started with healthy habits.”

Sugar and Carbohydrate-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

*A quick, low carbohydrate dessert


  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar substitute
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix ingredients together and roll into small balls.
  4. Press balls into flat cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.

“The Heart of Cooking,” (2019, Page Publishing, $34.95)

About the Author

Dwithiya Thomas, M.D. is a board-certified cardiologist who started practicing at St. Luke’s University Health Network in 2012 upon graduating from UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. She is the director of the Women’s Heart Center at St. Luke’s.

Watch her how-to cooking videos from “The Chef’s Kitchen” at:

Ricotta Spinach Muffins

Golden Coconut Lentil Soup

Banana Ice Cream

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