National Wear Red Day - 7 Ways I Care For My Heart

I support National Wear Red Day because I have two cousins who have died of heart related illnesses. They both departed this world way too soon in my humble opinion. One cousin who passed away 8 years ago was only 36 years old. And my cousin who passed away last year was only in her 40's. Just way too soon. Reading that heart disease and strokes kill  more women than all forms of cancer is startling to me. Unfortunately I've lost friends and family, all in their 30's and 40's to both. It's very heart breaking. And my (step) dad suffered from a stroke 8 years ago in February. I feel so super blessed to still have him with us, but I have to tell you, those hit or miss moments when we did not know in which direction things would go were the scariest moments I've ever experienced in my life. I remember trying to be strong for my dad and my mom who was my dad's main care giver, but those moments when you just don't know if you'll have your loved one around, whew, it's just hard to explain. I remember just breaking down into tears one night leaving the hospital in the garage as my mom and I walked to my car. It was so hard leaving my dad to return to work in another city. And it was so tough seeing this strong man who had worked every-single-day of his life, and the man who greatly cared for me, be in a vulnerable position and be so weak, having to learn to walk, to swallow, to talk, to eat again.

I know today is about heart illnesses and strokes in women, but I just wanted to share my personal experience with the disease because it really can change your life or even worse, take your life.
For me, I know I have to be vigilant about caring for my heart. My paternal grand father died of a heart attack and he was only in his 50's. Plus I have been diagnosed with high cholesterol in the past.

When I turned 40, as a gift to myself, I received a full heart work up. I thought is was important to know my cholesterol and other numbers and figured knowing my numbers at 40 would be a good baseline.

I've always been good with not stressing, however not so good with my eating habits and I so do not enjoy exercise. I wish I did. I love to dance, however I don't do it enough of it to count dancing as exercise. :) So while I maintained habits I put into place to keep my stress levels low, I had to do better with eating and exercise.

I started eating organic back in 2000, however I was still dining out A LOT and I was eating TOO much. When I say too much, for example, I was eating 4 ounces of meat for one meal totaling about 12 plus ounces of meat a day. I later learned that that was just too much. And while I nibbled on a salad here and there and had some vegetables, I was not eating enough. I feel I found the perfect balance by following the suggested servings I should have from each food group daily by using this Calculate Food Plan. Now I can't sit here and share that I've been 100% with this, however I have definitely cut way down on the amount of meat I eat, plus I use other sources of proteins like beans and nuts to help me keep a healthy gut and to help keep my cholesterol low. I hear too much meat, makes the system work all too hard. And I do a lot better with eating in moderation and eating a variety of foods. Here are two articles I wrote a couple of years ago that shares an introduction to 7 tips to eating organic on a budget and 7 suggested tips for eating organically on a budget.

Check out National Wear Red Day for more information on how you can celebrate National Wear Red Day , donate to the cause, plus lots of information about heart disease, living healthy and so much more.

Here are 7 Ways I Care For My Heart 
Eat and drink alcohol in moderation 
Drink 64 ounces of water daily 
Exercise 4 to 5 times per week for 30+ minutes {I'm still a work in progress here}
Body brush 1 to 2 times per week  {I body brush to stimulate my lymphatic/waste system and to help with circulation since I sit at a desk a lot. And it also feels good and has beauty benefits}
Say "No" more often so as to not over commit myself and stress out
Enjoy activities that make me and my heart happy like time with my family, dancing
Enjoy a bath infused with lavender and other relaxing oils and bath salts 1 to 2 times per week

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