Top Ten Myths About Cardiovascular Disease

Friday, June 29, 2012

As a former Executive Director of the American Heart Association, I know how important it is to be aware of our bodies and how to promote heart healthy living. Below is a great reminder of why all of us need to be engaged in our Heart Health. Now is the time to debunk those false myths-

How much do you really know about your heart’s health? It’s easy to be fooled by misconceptions. After all, heart disease only happens to your elderly neighbor or to your fried food-loving uncle, right? Or do you know the real truth – that heart disease can affect people of any age, even those who eat right?

Relying on false assumptions can be dangerous to your heart. Cardiovascular disease kills more Americans each year than any other disease. But you can boost your heart smarts by separating fact from fiction. Let’s set the record straight on some common myths.
  1. “I’m too young to worry about heart disease.” How you live now affects your risk for cardiovascular diseases later in life. As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries. One in three Americans has cardiovascular disease, but not all of them are senior citizens. Even young and middle-aged people can develop heart problems – especially now that obesity, type 2 diabetes and other risk factors are becoming more common at a younger age.
  2. “I’d know if I had high blood pressure because there would be warning signs.” High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because you don’t usually know you have it. You may never experience symptoms, so don’t wait for your body to alert you that there’s a problem. The  way to know if you have high blood pressure is to check your numbers with a simple blood pressure test. Early treatment of high blood pressure is critical because, if left untreated, it can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other serious health problems. Learn how high blood pressure is diagnosed.
  3.  “I’ll know when I’m having a heart attack because I’ll have chest pain.” Not necessarily. Although it’s common to have chest pain or discomfort, a heart attack may cause subtle symptoms. These include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the jaw, neck or back. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Learn you risk of heart attack today!
  4. “Diabetes won’t threaten my heart as long as I take my medication.” Treating diabetes can help reduce your risk for or delay the development of cardiovascular diseases. But even when blood sugar levels are under control, you’re still at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. That’s because the risk factors that contribute to diabetes onset also make you more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. These overlapping risk factors include high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and smoking.
  5. “Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.” Although people with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, you can take steps to dramatically reduce your risk. Create an action plan to keep your heart healthy by tackling these to-dos: get active; control cholesterol; eat better; manage blood pressure; maintain a healthy weight; control blood sugar; and stop smoking.
  6. “I don’t need to have my cholesterol checked until I’m middle-aged.” The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20. It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease as adults. You can help yourself and your family by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  7. “Heart failure means the heart stops beating.” The heart suddenly stops beating during cardiac arrest, not heart failure. With heart failure, the heart keeps working, but it doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. It can cause shortness of breath, swelling in the feet and ankles or persistent coughing and wheezing. During cardiac arrest, a person loses consciousness and stops normal breathing.
  8. “This pain in my legs must be a sign of aging. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my heart.” Leg pain felt in the muscles could be a sign of a condition called peripheral artery disease. PAD results from blocked arteries in the legs caused by plaque buildup. The risk for heart attack or stroke increases five-fold for people with PAD.
  9. “My heart is beating really fast. I must be having a heart attack.” Some variation in your heart rate is normal. Your heart rate speeds up during exercise or when you get excited, and slows down when you’re sleeping. Most of the time, a change in your heartbeat is nothing to worry about. But sometimes, it can be a sign of arrhythmia, an abnormal or irregular heartbeat. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can last long enough to impact how well the heart works and require treatment.
  10. “I should avoid exercise after having a heart attack.” No! As soon as possible, get moving with a plan approved for you! Research shows that heart attack survivors who are regularly physically active and make other heart-healthy changes live longer than those who don’t. People with chronic conditions typically find that moderate-intensity activity is safe and beneficial. The American Heart Association recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Find the help you need by joining a cardiac rehabilitation program, or consult your healthcare provider for advice on developing a physical activity plan tailored to your needs.

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Great Marinade for Chicken

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Healthy Chicken Marinade on Livliga Vivente Dinner Plate

I have mentioned before in previous blogs that I love to marinate meats in the summer time. You can spend a couple of minutes in the Kitchen early in the morning, before it gets hot, to start the marinade. It makes for a juicy meat and the best part is you don't have the heat in the kitchen later on in the day because you take the meats outside to grill!

Typically my marinades tend to be oil-based. I was intrigued by a buttermilk-based marinade I found for chicken--Herbed Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing-- in a Cooking Light Cookbook called Grilling... I also found it online. Just looking at the list of ingredients gave me a hint that this might provide for a flavorful marinade. Take a look-
  • 3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion 
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Combine it all and you are ready to go with your marinade (it can also be used as a dip for your meat). You can marinate your chicken for an hour, or as I prefer, combine everything and let it marinate for the day to be ready to cook in the evening. The grilled chicken was juicy and flavorful. Everyone loved it. A definite repeat.

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Raspberry-Asparagus Medley Salad

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I love, love fresh fruits and vegetables in the summertime. I also like being able to prepare dinner early in the morning when it is still cool so I don't have to heat up the kitchen in the evening when it is blazing hot and I am too heat-weary to cook.

I came across a yummy salad that is fresh and bright, beautiful to look at, and so satisfying to eat. I found Raspberry-Asparagus Medley Salad on It is also pretty easy to assemble. And at 67 calories per serving, you can't beat the count for the taste. A real winner and a definite repeat. For a complete summer dinner menu, check out my previous blog this week Quick & Tasty 3 Bean Salad.

Why A Healthy Lifestyle...more proof in the US reality

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The heavy price of obesity in America: By the numbers 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Nationally, nearly 36 percent of adults are obese, and businesses are spending billions to make everything from bathrooms to sports stadiums easier for them to navigate.

The U.S. spends an extra $4 billion in gasoline every year to drive overweight passengers on the road. 

The obesity rate in America is skyrocketing, and according to new statistics from the Campaign to End Obesity, along with increased health risks and health care costs for those struggling to control their weight comes a huge economic toll on the U.S. With hospitals widening bathroom stalls for severely overweight patients, and the Federal Transit Administration testing new steering and breaks on mass transit systems because of an increase in the number of heavyset riders, the estimated national cost of accommodating obese citizens is approaching $190 billion a year. Here's a look at some unexpected financial costs of obesity, by the numbers:

$190 billion
Estimated economic cost of obesity in America, or twice the amount previously estimated, taking into account everything from "wider stadiums seats to sturdier, floor-mounted toilets," says CBS News. The calculations were published in the Journal of Health Economics.

The new minimum seat threshold, in pounds, for commuter subway trains in New York

1 to 2
Additional inches added to seats installed at venues like Yankee Stadium

Percentage of U.S. adults considered obese

Percentage of U.S. children aged 2 to 19 considered obese

Factor by which the number of obese Americans has increased in the past 50 years

Extra sick days obese men take every year compared to their coworkers

Extra sick days obese women take every year compared to their coworkers

Annual cost to workplaces due to lost productivity for every obese male worker

Annual cost to workplaces due to lost productivity for every obese female worker

Extra medical expenditures every year for an obese male

Extra medical expenditures every year for an obese female

Percentage of extra medical costs, roughly, that obesity adds to the U.S. total each year

938 million
Extra gallons of gasoline required to transport overweight passengers in the U.S. "Some costs of obesity reflect basic physics," says Reuters. "It requires twice as much energy to move 250 pounds than 125 pounds. As a result, a vehicle burns more gasoline."

$4 billion
Extra cost of gasoline required to drive overweight passengers on the road every year

$5 billion
Extra cost of gasoline required to fly overweight passengers on airplanes every year

Sources: BlissTree, CBS News, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fox NewsReuters


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Quick & Tasty 3 Bean Salad

Monday, June 25, 2012

I love recipes where the ingredients can be easily assembled from your pantry and don't take too long to assemble. We recently enjoyed the recipe Honey-Balsamic Bean Salad (serves 6 and has 258 cal per serving) that meets both ideals. The three beans it uses are chickpeas, pinto beans and black beans-- all easily bought in a low salt canned varied. And to avoid any chopping you can buy a pre-packaged and torn romaine lettuce which is part of the ingredients.  The dressing is a light vinaigrette with a touch of honey. We found it a great summer salad. I paired it with with Grilled Herb-coated Chicken Breasts (169 cal) and Raspberry Asparagus Medley (65 cal). It made for a delicious summer dinner. A definite repeat.

Sugary Foods Bad For Your Brain!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Forgetfulness A Sign Of A Sugar High?

This news is a little scary but not really a surprise...

Memories that aren’t sweet
Sugary foods may be as bad for your memory as they are for your waistline. UCLA researchers found that rats that were prompted to navigate a maze based on their memory of previous trips through it did significantly worse when their diet was high in high-fructose corn syrup, compared with rats whose diet was high in the omega-3 fatty acids that come from eating fish, seeds, and nuts. After their faulty trips through the maze, a closer look at the rats’ brains revealed that the high levels of high-fructose corn syrup—the kind used to sweeten soda—had disrupted synapse communication in the hippocampus, a brain region devoted to learning and memory. Omega-3s appeared to repair some of those connections, helping to “minimize the damage,” UCLA neurosurgeon Fernando Gomez-Pinilla tells Agence France-Presse. “I was very shocked,” he says, “to see how strong an effect these diets could have on the brain.”

From The Week magazine: June 15, 2012 edition

What if we told you there were healthy sweet alternatives? Take a look at our new FREE healthy holiday baking eBook!

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Eating Nutritious Foods During Cancer Treatment Might Support a Healthy Recovery

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I am sharing an article written by a contributing writer, Jillian M, Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. With so many friends and family members who have faced cancer, including my mom, it is important to be reminded of the significance of healthy eating, even when we may not feel like it, to help our bodies sustain treatments as well as recover from illness. After reading the article, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them and Jillian can help direct us to the answers. Thanks. Here is what she wrote:

Eating a healthy meal is the furthest thing from the minds of many cancer patients who simply want to survive treatments. Chemotherapy, radiation and other forms of treatment can sap patients’ strength and appetite. However, getting adequate amounts of nutritious foods is very important during treatment.

Your body needs as much support as possible, whether you need nutrition for mesothelioma cancer treatment or other forms. Various cancer treatments can put a lot of strain on the body, making it harder for you to think about food. The body works to fight the cancer and repair damaged cells from cancer treatment side effects.

Typically, your primary focus is on receiving a good prognosis for the cancer going into remission. Being concerned with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients can seem like an additional worry you want to avoid.

Some cancer patients might consider taking vitamin supplements, especially if they are having problems digesting food. However, some health experts suggest taking a multivitamin daily if this aligns with doctor recommendations. While vitamin supplements are not a cure-all for getting good nutrition, they could help on some level.

For most cancer patients, a healthy diet includes drinking the right amount of fluids and eating foods with important nutrients. Many of these include protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. When the body is deprived of nutrients, malnourishment or malnutrition may occur.

Identifying nutrition deficiencies early might help to improve your chances of recovery. With the help of a nutrition support team, any problems can be identified and corrected early. Often, the team of nutrition specialists may include a registered dietitian, your physician, nurse and social worker. Early screening and assessment can help to identify problems that might interfere with your body’s response to certain forms of cancer treatment.

Generally, there are three primary goals that the nutrition support team will work with you to reach. Good nutrition can restore missing nutrients that the body needs to perform at optimal levels.

The support team also wants to ensure you maintain healthy nutrition levels while undergoing cancer treatment. Getting adequate nutrition can help to restore missing nutrients to prevent other health problems. This includes bone and muscle loss that can have an adverse affect to how well your body responds to treatment.

Another goal for proper nutrition is to decrease common side effects from various cancer treatments. When you are eating the right amounts of nutrients, your energy and strength can improve. The immune system is better prepared to fight an infection in your body.

Good nutrition from eating the right foods might also help to prevent problems that might not otherwise occur. Good nutrition is essential if your cancer is in remission or completely cured.

In general, nutrition refers to the process of how the body uses food to keep it healthy, strong and to replace necessary tissue. Even for people who were not diagnosed with cancer, good nutrition is essential for maintaining good health. Eating the right types of foods during each stage of your cancer treatment can help. You can feel better and stay strong to endure treatments.  For more information regarding developing and maintaining a healthy diet while dealing with cancer please visit- The American Cancer Society.

Savory Muffin- Rosemary Cheddar Cornbread

Monday, June 18, 2012

I am in the mood to use fresh herbes in everything! I found a recipe on line for Rosemary Cheddar Cornbread that looked to be focused on healthy ingredients AND used fresh Rosemary.  For 137 calories per muffin, you can't beat the flavor packed into this muffin for the amount of calories...worth every bite. What I liked was that egg whites were incorporated along with unsweetened applesauce and olive oil. The milk was fat free, too. After tasting a muffin myself, I think I could even lessen the sugar by a tablespoon improving its "healthiness" and perhaps bring out the flavor of the Rosemary even more. I tried them out on family and friends. They all thought they were delicious! Looking forward to repeating this recipe. See my previous blog entry where I paired these muffins with a Cilantro Chicken salad for a great summer dinner.

Physical Activity and Calories--a good reference

Friday, June 15, 2012
As we spend more time outside during the summer and add more physical activity into our routine, it is nice to have a reference for our calorie burn.

Physical Activity and Calories. The chart below shows the approximate calories spent per hour by a 100-, 150- and 200- pound person doing a particular activity.
Activity 100 lb 150 lb 200 lb 
Bicycling, 6 mph160240312
Bicycling, 12 mph270410534
Jogging, 7 mph6109201,230
Jumping rope5007501,000
Running 5.5 mph440660962
Running, 10 mph8501,2801,664
Swimming, 25 yds/min185275358
Swimming, 50 yds/min325500650
Tennis, singles265400535
Walking, 2 mph160240312
Walking, 3 mph210320416
Walking, 4.5 mph295440572

Light & Tasty Summer Salad- Cilantro Chicken Salad

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When is gets hot I am in the mood for salads that are light to the taste but packed with flavor. I tried out a recipe for Cilantro Chicken Salad I found on online. It serves 4 and has 230 calories per serving. I paired it with Rosemary Cheddar Cornbread muffins (113 cal) to complete the menu for a total of 343 calories for the meal.

The chicken salad was delicious! It was light and very flavorful. The dressing was lime juice and olive oil and anchovy paste with lots of goodies thrown in like cilantro, garlic, shallots  with some salt and pepper. It does call for 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. I substituted Agave. The chicken is poached in broth with a little soy sauce and lime zest....couldn't be easier. I served the chicken salad on top of shredded Romaine lettuce. It was a big hit and a definite repeat. This recipe would be great for lunch and would be well received with friends.


Not All Recipes Are Made Alike- Chicken Picata examples

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It is in my bones. I love trying new things, even when I already have a great recipe. You just never know when you'll come across another great & tasty recipe. It is just who I am!

Well Monday night I put a Chicken Picata recipe on the menu for dinner. This time it was from a new favorite source- The Now Eat This! cookbook from Rocco DiSpirito. All the recipes I have tried from his books have been good. This one was too...but not as good as the one I have used from Cooking Light!(check out my blog for April 18, 2012) One of the big differences is that the DiSpirito recipe has a sauce with it. It is also egg battered and coated with flour. It just has too much stuff on it. The purest in me likes the simplicity of the Cooking Light Chicken Picata. I also want the biggest bang for my calories. The DiSpirito recipe didn't deliver. A lot more calories (241 cal compared to 160 cal) with out the benefit of a better taste experience. You live and you learn...while having a lot of fun trying out new things! Try your own comparison and let me know which recipe is your favorite.

Post Knee Surgery Update- Back to Hiking and Biking!

Monday, June 11, 2012
First ride Post Surgery!

I think the lesson in life is to try and avoid having to have surgery. But there are times when you do need it and you have to have it. Things can also go wrong. Who knew my leg would decide to develop thrombophebitis?!? It is a slow, very slow heal.

Last week I went to my primary care doctor. She said it could take up to six months to heal...some never do completely heal! Well, I sure don't want to have to face this forever so I am going to do everything I can to help it heal. The doctor's recommendation was to wear support socks/hose as much as possible and start taking an aspirin a day to help with any residual blood clots.  I look very cute! I decided to go with the one sock look rather than wearing a "knee hi" in white on both legs. I will win no fashion award! But it does help with the swelling and the "gurgling" my veins do during the day. My leg doesn't get as tired. However, the long socks have somehow triggered pain, swelling and stiffness in the back of my knee. I am now trying a method of wearing it intermittently during the day...first thing in the morning for my exercise, then off for a while, then back on towards the end of the day when my leg gets tired and I start to limp. We shall see...

I have been struggling to keep my weight down with so little exercise so I decided I just needed to start moving and my leg would have to adapt. My left leg hasn't adapted so well but the rest of my body and mind and soul have loved hiking again and getting back on the bicycle! Nothing too heavy-duty. We hiked up to Agnes Falls near Buena Vista last week and then this weekend I went for my fist bike ride since the Fall. WAHOO! It felt great. Now to convince my leg...

Great Healthy Living Quote #23

Friday, June 8, 2012
In honor of the Queen's Jubilee I thought this quote quite fitting!

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Apps for Health--one that's good for the soul and body!

Thursday, June 7, 2012
As I have mentioned in previous emails, I travel regularly. Fitting in exercise and peace of mind while I travel is always a challenge. I read about this App and it seemed to be impressively complete and surprisingly adaptable. I plan on checking it out! Thought I would share it with you now as well. If you check it out, let me know what you think!

Pocket Yoga:
Why you want it: Have mat, will travel. Take your practice with you anywhere thanks to this Gaia Flow Yoga app. Choose from 3 different difficulty levels (Beginner, Intermediate, Expert), 3 different durations (30, 45 or 60 minutes) and 3 different classes for a total of 27 different yoga experiences that you can do at home, on the go or anywhere you can set up your smart phone. Just place near your mat and the app will verbally (and surprisingly peacefully) guide you through your workout with detailed instructions and cues for proper breathing. There is also a dictionary, which contains descriptions and benefits of common yoga poses, and a history log, which will keep track of all your Pocket Yoga workouts.

Download it now: $2.99 for iPhone, on iTunes; $3.99 for iPad, on iTunes; $2.99 for Android, Google Play


Flank Steak, Soutwestern Garbanzo Salad & Grilled Fennel

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We were having a "Farewell" Dinner for my son (he is off on an adventure in Southeast Asia) and I wanted to have something fun and flavorful. One of the tricks to constructing a menu is matching flavors of the different parts of the meal. You want the dishes to support or complement each other, not conflict or confuse the palette. I have started paying more attention to this. Sometimes I am more successful than others. This particular menu seemed to work. I matched a Tangy Flank Steak with Horseradish Cream (238 cal) from Cooking Light with a Southwestern Garbanzo Bean Salad (211 cal), also from Cooking Light. The menu was completed with Simply Grilled Fennel (27 cal). The total calories for the menu was 476. It was amazing how well the flavors worked together. The menu was summery in outcome. The flavors did not compete but were lively together, each distinctive. Each held their own for the meal. The compliments were many. A definite repeat.


Green Coffee Beans--good for weight loss?

Monday, June 4, 2012
A friend sent me this interesting article a while ago. Thought it was worth passing along. I know there is no "quick fix" but I do like trying new things and keeping things interesting!

The green coffee bean: A miracle weight-loss drug?
An extract made from unprocessed beans might be a powerful yet affordable tool to help people shed pounds, and lots of them.

Livliga Coffee Beans for Weight Loss

Coffee may be the lifeblood that keeps most workplaces humming, but new evidence suggests that the drink's unroasted beans might also hold the key to cheap and effective weight loss. In a study presented to the American Chemical Society in San Diego this week, scientists said that a supplement extracted from green coffee beans helped patients drop significant poundage. Here's what you should know about the findings:

How was the research carried out?
This small preliminary study looked at 16 overweight young adults in India. Over 22 weeks, the participants were given, in turns, a low dose of an extract made from unroasted coffee beans, a high dose of the same supplement, and a placebo, three times a day. Their diet throughout the study was unchanged, and they were physically active . Between trials, the participants were given a two-week break for their bodies to reset.

How effective were the coffee beans?
The results were "striking," says Melissa Healy at the Los Angeles Times. Though a few participants given the extract only lost 7 pounds, others lost as much as 26 pounds. On average, the subjects lost 17.5 pounds each, and reduced their body weight by 10.5 percent. Body fat also declined by 16 percent, even though the participants were eating an average of 2,400 calories, burning roughly 400.

Is it because of the caffeine? 
"We don't think it's because of the caffeine in it," says Joe Vinson, the University of Scranton chemist who led the study. The extract itself contained roughly the same amount of caffeine as a half cup of coffee. So what made the difference? It may be a natural substance called "chlorogenic acid," says Michelle Castillo at CBS News, which "goes away when coffee beans are roasted."

Does the extract require FDA approval?
It doesn't. As a dietary supplement, green coffee extract is already available as a naturopathic medicine and antioxidant.

Why is this such a big development?
Coffee beans are cheap, and with over 35 percent of Americans qualifying as obese, it may prove to be a powerful tool. At about $20 per month, "green coffee extract is much less expensive than any of the weight-loss medications available over the counter or by prescription," says Healy. But scientists are cautious, as the pilot study has not yet been subjected to peer review. "This is certainly a provocative study," New York University's Dr. Gerlard Weissmann, a physician and biochemist, tells the Los Angeles Times. He says the next step will be to ensure that the weight loss was not simply due to "malabsorption," which occurs when the gut is unable to absorb vitamins and minerals passing through the intestine.
Sources: CBS News, Los Angeles Times, Web MD, New York Times

Great Healthy Living Quote #22

Friday, June 1, 2012

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