Heart Matters: February 2018

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

January is almost over, so I have stopped saying Happy New Year to people I meet.
Now I can start saying Happy Valentine’s Day or Happy Healthy Heart Month!

February is also still cold in the Northeast, so I will be posting a couple of winter poems by my virtual poet-in-residence, Mary Lou Meyers. And the snowy photo below is from my friend Hope. It is the creek next to her farmhouse when we had a snowstorm in January. The beauty of winter, especially after a storm, is something we don’t rave about, but I do love the snowy landscape in winter, especially before the snow is trod upon.


Winter also means more soups, stews, root veggies, and darker greens, so I plan to feature some hearty/hardy dishes.  When I Googled the difference between these two words, here’s what came up (direct quote):

These two words overlap somewhat, but usually the word you want is “hearty.” The standard expressions are “a hearty appetite,” “a hearty meal,” a “hearty handshake,” “a hearty welcome,” and “hearty applause.” “Hardy” turns up in “hale and hardy,” but should not be substituted for “hearty” in the other expressions. May 19, 2016 hardy / hearty | Common Errors in English Usage and More …https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/19/hardy-hearty/

(I think both words can apply to heart-warming, heart-healthy, and hardy dishes.)

Since I will be away for one week in February, I may repost some of my favorite soups or stews, with special emphasis on foods good for the heart. Speaking of which, in globalhealthcenter.com, Dr. Edward Group writes:

Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. If it’s weak, you’re weak. There are a few things you can do to provide your heart with what it needs to be at its best. The first is to get plenty of exercise. Your heart is a muscle, it needs to be worked. Second, avoid toxins that damage your cardiovascular system — don’t smoke, avoid high fat foods, and limit (eliminate?) your refined sugar intake.* Here are ten foods you can add to your diet to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants necessary to maintain a healthy heart. And they’re delicious too.
(Photo also from same website.)

  1. Salmon
  2. Broccoli
  3. Asparagus
  4. Chickpeas
  5. Spinach
  6. Almonds
  7. Olives
  8. Red Wine
  9. Avocado
  10. Walnuts

I plan to feature some of these foods in my recipes. Except for salmon and red wine, they are all perfect for my meatless recipes.
*I will also write about the link between sugar and heart health.

February is also Black History Month or African-American History Month.  If you type ibn Celebrating Black History Month, you will be led to this website: www.poetryfoundation.org.  You can click on several poems by African-Americans such as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass or type in the poet’s name. Here is an excerpt from one of the poems on this site, written by Elizabeth Alexander, entitled Praise Song for the Day (A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration). I chose it because it speaks of love, and February seems to be the perfect time to post it. Go to the website to read the entire poem, since I do not have permission to do so.

…..Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance…..

Apropos to love in all its forms is Valentine’s Day on February 14th. No sooner have retail stores packed away the paraphernalia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. then do all the trimmings of Valentine’s Day appear. Since I met my husband Alan 15 years ago right before Valentine’s Day, I feel quite sentimental about it, so I will post something about this day, maybe how it can be used as a day for showing love to family, friends, Mother Earth, as well as partners, spouses, and significant others, as Elizabeth Alexander writes so eloquently above.

Here’s wishing you a heart-healthy attitude about your own health
and those you love.

February 2010: Happy Hearts

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I woke up this morning to another snowy landscape. It is quite pretty before the snow turns brown, so here’s an early morning picture, still with virgin snow:

Since February is a short month, already shorter since it is now February 3rd, and we are going away in the middle of the month for five days (computer diet!), I am not sure how many articles I will post this month. But, I already have some pieces half-baked. Here they are:

February is Heart Healthy Month, so I plan to post some information on legumes, since legumes are good for lowering cholesterol, which is only one indicator of a healthy heart, and I am not sure actually how low cholesterol needs to be to be considered healthy. So much controversy about cholesterol, in general, but legumes are good food, in any case.  Here is a dish I plan to make for a legume class I will be giving at MANNA with nutritionist Cyndi Dinger. I call it Green Soybean Succotash, using delicious edamame beans, which you may like better than lima beans. Recipe will be in the next posting. The picture is just a tease. Besides, I haven’t put it in the computer yet!


Since JOY is my theme for 2010, I thought I would post my interview with Danièle Thomas Easton, who I sat next to when I saw Leslie Caron in person at the Philadelphia Public Library in December. Danièle does volunteer work with a passion, which brings her joy.  And that’s also good for the heart!  Here’s a snapshot I took when we had a delicious lunch/interview at Chez Colette, the restaurant at the French restaurant Sofitel in Center City. Très bon! (That’s the extent of my French, compliments of my husband.)


♥ Valentine’s Day, another reason to wear red, is the middle of the month.♥ Since I met my (second) husband Alan the week of Valentine’s Day in 2003, I especially love this day, because there were 13 years of nobody special to share this day.  However, during this time, I began to follow Eve Ensler’s V-Day events, since I had been a narrator for The Vagina Monolgues in 2oo1. I will post some of the information on V-Day later this month. I may also review a book called The Art of Hugging by William Cane, author of The Art of Kissing. (Hmmm, maybe I should read that one, too!)


Oops! I forgot one of the Leftovers from January. When I posted a Spaghetti Squash recipe last month, one of my regular readers sent this in: “I like to keep the seeds from a spaghetti squash; wash them, then coat lightly with a bit of olive oil (or other good oil) and roast at 300 until lightly browned—-add salt or other spice if desired. They are a yummy snack or garnish.”  Mary is an avid gardener, so her advice is worth looking into, especially because I did not bake  my seeds her way and they came out too dry.


For my Special Report, I hope to do some investigating on FATS, since they seem to be discussed a great deal when discussing heart disease. Good fats, bad fats, trans fats, hydrogenated fats, etc. Maybe In will just define them so we know what they are when we read them in an article. ♥

Sorry, there were no photos of a woman’s body! Actually, early tests were done only on men, which is why women and heart disease took so long to show up in research.

Also, since Valentine’s Day usually means sweets, I may also do a Health Flash on the different kinds of sweeteners, since there is a lot of information out there that could be confusing. Maybe I will just confuse you more, or maybe I can provide food for thought. Instead of candy, maybe heart candles will do the trick to light up your month!


♥ Remember, whatever the winter weather, cold or rainy, you can always find warmth with friends and loved ones! ♥


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