Today, I celebrate heart health.
If you're visiting my blog because you, a family member, or a friend has heart disease, I've provided several links in this post that might interest to you.
January 8, 2014 marks the fourth year of recovery
from my artery tear (SCAD) and heart attack.
If you have any interest in my particular coronary event,
please click on "Heart Attack" in the Labels section in the sidebar.
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the US.
Most of us don't give the heart a second thought -
until it doesn't work properly.
During the month of December 2013, I completed an on-line course, The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, through the Center for Integrative Medicine, University of AZ Medical School. The diet recommendations follow an anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which is markedly different from many food pyramids. Please have a look. I believe it's a healthy diet for all to follow. New research shows that inflammation in the body is the cause or the contributor to many chronic diseases.
In my own quest to heal my heart and body,
I continue learning about healthier ways of living.
I eat mostly organic meat and produce. I rarely resort to fast food or processed foods. I don't overeat. I limit sugary treats (this doesn't mean I don't have an occasional dessert - often a spoonful or two satisfies me). I watch salt intake. I eat fruits and vegetables across the color spectrum to ensure I get sufficient nutrients. I rarely eat red meat. I use fish, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds as protein sources. I consume healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, cold water fish, nuts). Healthy eating helps to maintain a healthy weight. I watch portion size and am mindful, trying not to snack indiscriminately. I eat well, enjoy tasty food, and don't feel restricted by my diet.
I exercise daily - lifting the fork to the mouth doesn't count as exercise! The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week plus strength training 2 days a week. I like to be outdoors when I exercise aerobically, but a gym membership can work well too. If nothing else, climb stairs or park so you must do some walking to get your errands done. I do core exercises every morning, using my own body weight to increase my strength and stamina. The exercises (which were suggested to me by a physical therapist) take less than 15 minutes and reap instant rewards: I feel more alert and as though I have better posture during the day. They are based on modified Yoga poses. The best thing I did after my heart attack was to enroll (at my cardiologist's suggestion) in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at a Denver hospital. There, I was hooked to a computer and closely monitored by physiologists while exercising. Through that program, I also met other heart attack survivors - we became a support system and cheering squad for each other which was beneficial both physically and emotionally.
Living with optimism and gratitude, looking for the small but significant good in everyday life has helped me immensely. I practice mindfulness and believe that I succeed in staying more in the present than previously. I'm alive NOW - what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future is out of my control. Life isn't something that will occur after we make more money, lose weight, find true love, or receive recognition for our accomplishments. Life is the present moment and the moment after that. If we don't seize those moments, appreciate them, try to learn lessons from them, they are gone forever. I'm retired, have a loving family, and caring friends - perhaps managing stress is easier for me than it is for some. However, I know that the body (the heart) reacts to stress in significant ways. We can all benefit from clearing our minds, taking a deep breath, and focusing on appreciating life's blessings.
I take them! Do your research. One of my Drs is well-versed in supplements and alternative treatments. I also learn as much as I can. Many DRs won't give you advice on supplements because they don't have medical training in that area. At the least, take a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral. Omega-3 fatty acids may also be beneficial.
I'm not medically trained. I am only an average person who was well and then suddenly had a heart attack. I thought I was invincible - I was not!
My best friend FaceTimed me yesterday from NZ where she's visiting for several months. She had reread all my posts about heart attack. She says the event changed me - that both my writing and my photography are different now. I think (hope) she meant that they might be better. When you experience an event that could kill you, you pay attention. Hopefully, you make some positive changes.
Good Luck to you.
Make positive changes.