Have a [Healthy] Heart!

So in honor of Valentine’s Day and seeing heart shaped EVERYTHING in the stores, I thought I could focus this month’s food items on: things that are good for your heart!

You thought it was going to be chocolate right?  Too cliche–and by that I’m mean, we’re saving cliche for NEXT month ;- )  Besides, if you pay attention to commemorative months, February is National Heart Month.

Did you know that cardiovascular (aka heart disease and stroke) diseases causes 30% of deaths worldwide?  I don’t say that to scare you, I just wanted to let you know just how prevalent it is.  And it’s not just a disease afflicting the elderly–my cousin had a heart attack and (I think) quadruple by-pass surgery when he was in his mid-30s!

The good news is that there are things that you can do to help lower your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases–and it’s never too late to get started! There has been quite a bit in the news lately about a 12-year study showing a direct link between added sugar and heart disease.

In addition to cutting back on your added sugar intake, here are some other things that you can do to help lower your risk:

  • Exercise every day–start slow and work up to a minimum of 30 minutes a day.  The good news is that every bit helps–from parking your car at the end of the parking lot to taking the stairs to spending part of your lunch break walking around.
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and lots of vegetables and fruits.  Seafood is great, anything fried is not, and avoid trans fats like the plague.
  • Eat nuts.  Unless you’re allergic, then  DON’T EAT NUTS.
  • Switch everything you can to whole grain, such as bread, pasta, crackers, etc…and you know, be adventurous–try quinoa or barley or other high fiber-no wheat grains!
  • Drink water.
  • Cut down on salt intake.
  • Drink wine–one glass of dry, red wine a day is very heart healthy. Don’t overdo it, though, too much alcohol puts a strain on your heart and is no longer healthy.
  • Stress less.  Learn to let things go or channel them into pulling weeds.  Clear your mind and calm your heart.

I know, I know…not the post you were expecting to see two days before Valentine’s Day.  BUT before you write in to yell at me, I would like to remind you that dark (cacao content over 60%) chocolate is very good for you…just don’t eat an entire box in one sitting.


Chicken Soup for the Soul…and The Sick

I have been under the weather now for a few days–nothing major, mind you, but everyone here reminds me that “well, something is going around.”  ‘Tis the season, I suppose.  Personally, I’m THE WORST sick person on the planet.  Not whiney or mopey so much as well, bitchy and very picky.  So most everyone I know avoids me like the plague when I’m sick [ha ha–pun intended].  What I love to make when I’m feeling sick is chicken noodle soup (because nothing says your sick like sweating over a hot stove in your jammies with a box of kleenex next to your cookbook!).

Oh sure, we all had the canned stuff as a kid.  Some of us (by us, I mean ya’ll) still eat it out of a can.  I’m not judging.  All I’m saying is give my recipe below a try.  It’s pretty simple and who knows maybe standing over a steaming pot will help you sweat it out.  Regardless, the soup is full of vitamins and minerals and before you ix-ney on the garlic or cilantro, know that they both have antiseptic properties and may be the most important ingredients of all.  Originally, I created it for a friend who was really sick and craving chicken noodle soup.  I thought the fresh veggies and cilantro would be a lot healthier and nutrient-providing than the canned stuff.  Turns out, it tastes a lot fresher and more wholesome (I know, I know….duh!).

Of course if you’re a vegetarian, leave out the chicken.  If you’re not eating gluten you can leave out the noodles or find gluten-free noodles, this time in solidarity for a friend going gluten-free, I grabbed rice noodles to use.  Play around with it.  Add more veggies if you’d like–the more, the merrier, and more antioxidant-ier.

Sherry’s Chicken Noodle Soup

HA HA HA...My Kinda Soup!  For the Real Recipe, Keep Reading!

HA HA HA…Kidding…Just Kidding…ish

  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, chunked
  • 4 stalks of celery, chunked
  • 2 chicken breasts cubed
  • 1-2 cups of egg noodles
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 10-12 cups of water
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large stock pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until translucent.  Add chicken and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.  Add celery and carrots and sauté for 5 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper (freshly ground of both makes the most amazing difference!) and add water.  I suggested 10-12 cups because it depends on how much broth you want.  Obviously if you want to make a lot of soup and want it brothy–add more water.  If not, add less.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for about 10 minutes and then add the noodles.  Like the water, use more or less depending on your noodle ratio preference.  I love noodles so I tend to add way too many, but it’s your soup–do what you want!  Continue boiling for about 6-7 minutes, until noodles are al dente, as you don’t want them to get too soggy.  Turn off the heat and add the cilantro.  Let the soup rest about 5 minutes and viola!  Done. I told you it was simple. Now, serve it in a bowl or cup and get back in bed!

But before you go, there’s one last thing:  they [not sure who they are, but…] say laughter is the best medicine, so I leave you with this.  If you decide to forego my recipe and opt for the canned, please make sure you read the instructions carefully!

Follow Carefully!

Follow Carefully!

Btw, before you think you’ve done lost your mind or taken too many Cold & Flu tablets, I got that from Pinterest. :- P