Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentines DAY and your Heart

I love Valentines Day!
Anyone close to me knows this fact. I love finding simple and extravagant ways to express love to my family and friends for Valentines day.
My nephew is 15, and he still gets a Valentine from his Aunt Juju....

Valentines Day makes me think of our heart and there is no better way to care about someone than to help them with their health.

This month more specifically brings a focus on the heart.
I came across this article today that I believe is worth sharing.
It is from Dr Andrew Weil.
He lists foods that are best to avoid for a Healthy Heart.
More importantly he explains "why" they aren't good for you...excellent!

Read up!

Minimize these inflammatory aggravators in your diet to help promote optimal cardiovascular functioning.
  1. Saturated fats. They can contribute to high cholesterol; avoid whole-fat dairy foods such as cheese, cream and milk, as well as red meat.
  2. Trans-fats. Found in most margarines, snack foods, heavily processed foods and some cooking oils, these fats (often listed on food labels as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oil) can reduce HDL ("good") cholesterol levels and raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.
  3. Animal protein. Excessive animal protein has been shown to raise levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid. Instead of animal protein, try whole soy protein - aim for two servings of whole soy, such as tofu or edamame, per day.
  4. Refined carbohydrates. A diet full of cookies, cakes, crackers, fluffy breads, chips and sodas can increase triglyceride levels and lower HDL.
  5. Sodium. Excessive sodium has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Avoid processed and canned foods, taste foods before you salt them and do not add salt while cooking, avoid foods that are visibly salted and read labels (aim for no more than 1,500 mg sodium per day).

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It has been raining for the past few days in Los Angeles.

I LOVE the rain.
It makes me feel like snuggling up near a fireplace with a wonderful book to read,
or a movie to watch....
spending time with people I care about rates highly on my rainy day list as well!
The rain for me also brings a sense of self reflection.
There is something about sitting still to listen to the sound
of the rain that slows my mind and my heart rate.
This feeling inspired me to take some time today to meditate.
I learned to meditate years ago, yet I often place that task on the back burner of my to do list.
I am finding recently that it needs to move to the front of my list.

Meditation is an interesting tool that we can use to stop or at least slow down the chatter in our minds. I read recently that during Meditation, our brain actually stops utilizing the area it relies on daily for communication as well as thought processing, then it actually begins to use other areas that we rarely tap into. Fascinating!

Meditation does not have to be a spiritual practice.
It can simply be a tool to help your mind slow down.
With regular practice it can help you navigate your days with more ease.
It works!

If you don't know how to Meditate you can try a simple practice of watching your breath for 5- 15 minutes. It will feel difficult, especially if your are someone who stays busy to avoid your feelings. If you can just push past the thoughts and feelings that bombard your mind for at least 5 minutes, you will see that your meditation will become easier and easier. Know that your mind will fill with many thoughts while you are trying to meditate. Just allow them to come in and go away with ease. Fighting them will create a struggle and not the sense of ease you are looking for.

I am certainly not an expert in the meditation world,
so here are a few links to more information.