Along with celebrating Valentine’s Day, February is also designated Heart Health month. It’s a great way to love your heart and make positive changes to improve its health. Never forget that heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women.
This topic holds my interest on various levels. You see, my husband has heart disease, it runs in his family, both his parents died from the disease. His Father passed away at the young age of 68, and his mother lived till she was 94! Over the years, I’ve made changes to our lifestyle to help stay on the right path. A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons to combat cardiovascular disease. I’m not advocating our lifestyle, nor am I in the health profession, but today I just wanted to touch on different ways of maintaining a healthy heart and how Bert and I do it (for the most part).
We usually start out most mornings with a healthy breakfast. We both happen to like oatmeal with raisins and almonds, followed by some fruit and a mug of hot tea. Sometimes it can get a little mundane, so that’s when a nice English fry-up pops up 🙂 It’s hard to keep count of Bert’s tea intake, it must be the English in him, but I’ve had him cut back quite a bit. The images below are just some examples of weeknight meals that we try to incorporate into our diets. We don’t always stay on track, but for the most part I’d say we try to eat healthy. I should mention here that wine is always on the menu too 🙂
We try to eat a variety of nutritious meals from all the food groups. We limit our salt intake too to try to keep the blood pressure readings on target. Above, we have Grilled salmon with Asian flavors. Quinoa with roasted vegetables and a salad with zero dressing. We usually end each meal with a bowl of fresh fruit; my home made yogurt and home made granola drizzled with honey. This generally satisfies my sweet tooth. Oranges, grapes and blueberries were the choice of fruit here. They say it’s better to have a colorful plate as you know you will be incorporating fruit and vegetables in your diet. I think I passed the first color test above, don’t you?
Another example of a weeknight menu above blending fresh fruit and vegetables in the mix. Spicy grilled chicken, oven roasted potatoes (Bert loves his potatoes every which way). Fresh greens, avocado, radish and grape tomatoes for a salad. For dessert, we had raspberries, grapes, oranges and kiwi fruit with yogurt, cinnamon and honey. Another way of satisfying my sweet tooth is making truffles with dried fruit and nuts mixed with peanut butter, and a spoon of coconut oil to bind together. Make into balls and refrigerate. Do I crave brownies, cookies and chocolate cake? You bet I do, but I save those times for when we entertain or the girls come home. Bert does not have a sweet tooth, so he is okay with no dessert.
We try to include fish and vegetarian meals in our diets at least twice a week. Above we have spicy grilled whole trout, stir-fry carrots and baby bok-choy. Served with a green salad and chopped fresh fruit salad with yogurt that completed the meal. We both love curries too, so I make vegetarian meals with different pulses and fresh vegetables and roti. Bert loves his meat, so I will make beef or lamb stew at times together with many types of chicken and turkey dishes. If it were up to me, I’d be quite content being pescatarian (a fish and veggie diet).
It would be remiss of me not to mention how important it is to exercise for a healthy heart. Bert and I have always enjoyed walking and ever since we downsized from the suburbs, we got rid of one of the cars and walk just about everywhere. We walk to the library, to restaurants and bars, to church, to the dentist, optician, doctors, grocery stores, drug store etc. We enjoy hikes too, there’s a few trails around us where we can walk to. So essentially we walk to exercise, but we also walk to get from point A to point B. We share a car now, and really don’t miss having 2 cars in the driveway now that we are both retired.
Exercise classes form an integral part of our heart healthy routine. I had found a wonderful exercise program for a 55+ older crowd. The instructor is just amazing. There’s yoga, zumba, weights, balance and stretching. When Bert retired last summer, I asked him if he’d like to join the program, (you see he’s not a joiner). I encouraged him to try it out, and the rest is history! He’s the only male in the class, all the women just love him. It’s about a 20-25 minute walk to the classes, so we get an extra workout before we start the class. About 2 weeks ago we held a luncheon at our home for our exercise crew, we love a party and I love to cook. I served Mexican pulled pork on slider buns, roasted veggies with Israeli couscous, also Shaved Brussels sprouts/ broccoli coleslaw with a pomegranate dressing. I asked the ladies to bring in dessert and wine 🙂 It was so much fun! Exercise should definitely be embraced and so important as one gets older. Here’s our crew of women! Where’s Bert?
Pamper your hearts my friends ❤ ❤ ❤