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Healthy Lifestyle for Happier Heart Health

Having heart failure in my family has started to make me nervous as I get older. There are changes that I have to make to gain control of my heart health. One of the greatest issues I had as a teenager and a young adult was what I eat. So, in the last year or 2, I have really started to take control of what I eat, and the lifestyle choices I make are now based on having a healthier heart and living a longer healthier life.

What caused this change: Knowing heart failure runs in my family

Being a mom has made me want to stay around a lot longer. I want to watch my daughter grow up and I would like to stay healthy for as long as I can. Knowing that there is a part of me that has some kind of control over my heart health in a preventative way has been a golden ticket for me.

Something switched in my heart and mind to make me want to treat my heart and body with kindness - call it self-love, or simple awareness of the genetic predisposition to heart failure. Maybe it was even a combination of both, who knows? I am glad that I have taken it to heart, quite literally, and started taking much better care of my lifestyle to support a healthy heart.

Food swaps for our heart health

As a person, I am not particularly good at overall changes. Much like a cat, I am a creature of habit and I like things they way they are. The thing is though, that when you are doing something a certain way and it is not working for you and your body, it kind of becomes one's responsibility to change the things we are doing.

Food swaps were my first step, and it is now such a way of life. I find that refined food is not good for me or my health. So I made the following changes:

  • White sugar for organic brown sugar- It is thick, dark brown, and delicious. I now also use a lot less sugar.
  • White bread for whole wheat brown bread- This was actually the first change I made in my home and it is so set that my daughter, (who is 9 years old) does not want white bread at all.
  • White pasta for whole wheat pasta- Along with portion control on pasta dishes and how regularly we have them, I also changed out normal white pasta for whole wheat brown pasta. I will not lie this one took a little getting used to, and is the only one I had to convince myself to do. However, now that I have made the change, I would not go back.
  • White rice for brown rice- I think by far this is my favorite change, it came with so many added benefits like extra fiber and happy gut health. My daughter took some time getting used to the texture, now though, she loves it. Teaching her from a young age to make small better choices has become so important to me.

Heart-friendly meals

By looking up heart-health-friendly meals, I have over time started incorporating them into my meal schedule for the week. I did not make a big fuss of this in the house, we have limited resources and we have to eat together. I made small changes to the meals like less high-fat products, and making sure we eat enough leafy greens and healthy vegetables.

I cook with much less salt and also use salt-free seasonings to spice up my meals. I grow my own herbs in small pots and add those to meals as often as I can to add flavor and freshness.

We limited the amount of refined food that we eat, and I am proud to say that over the last year, we have come leaps and bounds in this regard, and my doctor is pretty impressed with the results, so onwards and upwards.

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