Tex-Mex Meal Makeovers for the San Antonio Firefighters

By S. Kirk Walsh, "Firehouse Makeover," January/February 2012

The hidden killer in the San Antonio fire department was heart disease. Here’s how they fought it and how you can too.

EMS Field Supervisor Dwayne Toler jumped at the chance to get help from Worley. “I had always toyed with the idea of losing some weight,” he says, “but I didn’t want to eat rice cakes and stuff.” For breakfast, he often ate a biscuit stacked with eggs, sausage and cheese from Whataburger. A self-described “hamburger freak,” the 52-year-old Toler was also a regular at other fast-food joints. His test results came back showing borderline diabetes and high blood pressure. Since working with Worley he’s started making smarter choices when he eats out. He’s lost 18 pounds in six months.

Toler’s co-workers are supportive. “My captain bought me cashews because he knows that’s the sort of snack I need,” says Toler. “The supervisors are working out twice a week together.” And there have been other successes. Melvin Fitzgerald, an EMS paramedic, found out he had high cholesterol and high blood pressure after his screening. Fitzgerald consulted with Worley. “Maria went through my options—what to eat, what not to eat, what’s good, what’s bad,” he says. Fitzgerald now eats salmon, more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, walks on the treadmill for at least 15 minutes a day and takes fish-oil supplements. The results: his “bad” cholesterol has decreased from 164 to 125 and he’s dropped 15 pounds from his 6-foot frame.

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