I ‘heart’ you

February is our month of love and one way or another we focus on our hearts. In love or broken hearted we should all want our ticker to be healthy. As always exercise and good nutrition are most important to our healthy hearts. It's our chosen lifestyle that dictate our health. Yes, I said, 'our chosen lifestyle'.

Pick up any magazine. You'll find loads of information on what is heart healthy. You can always count on an article listing the diets of indigenous people promising the health promoting affects if you eat the listed foods. Problem is there are so many suggestions it's hard to remember and many times there are contradictions. I believe the true health benefits derived from the eating habits of these different areas is in what the article doesn't mention...... what they don't eat. For example let's look at how soy has been promoted as the nutritional savior of the rural Asian diet. It is being added to almost everything by Western manufacturers of processed foods. We are lead to believe it will save our hearts by adding it to our existing food choices in our Standard American Diet. I believe that in these Asian diets soy is part of the already healthy natural diet. They eat rice, vegetables, fruits, no diary and appropriate amounts of fish and meats. This adds up to a diet full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, complex carbohydrates and a more balanced protein intake. CaveChick food. Good for them! For Westerners that are living on refined foods that have a sprinkling of government decided vitamins, cheese, large portions of meats and little fruits and vegetables......it would take a miracle for just the addition of soy to make a change in ones heart health. Having said that, quit looking for miracles, change your lifestyle food choices.

Change our lifestyle. Change all our food choices. First, I think it might be easier to think of what not to eat in our new lifestyle. Stay away from the unnaturals. Stay away from a diet full of fractionated food. CaveChick believes that the whole is worth more than the sum of it's parts. We'll start with a simple rule - if it didn't grow that way don't eat it. When you get the hang of it you can work on incorporating healthy manufactured food into your lifestyle. But don't even think of eating the following...

1) hydrogenated oils.

2) refined grains.

3) artificial flavors, artificial color and chemical preservatives.

4) sweetened beverages or your fruit (where's the fiber).

5) processed food. No matter how many vitamins that are promised to be added!Watch for the so called 'functional foods' also. CaveChick believes the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.

6) diary products. That's cheese, milk and butter! (p.s. Eggs are not a dairy product.)

7) refined sugar for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Being a nutritional foodie I would like to give you a few ideas to make good nutrition choices easier to remember. You just eat like a CaveChick. Choose foods that are as nature provided. If you are purchasing a prepared food look at the ingredients. Are they as nature provided? If not, don't buy it. Choose to eat:

1) Whole grains. Replace white flour in your recipe with whole grain.

2) Fresh fruits and vegetables.

3) Natural oils - coconut, almond, avocado, walnut, palm, olive, hemp

4) Raw nuts and seeds, lightly toasted.

5) Sugar as an occasional choice.

6) Meats, if you chose it, as a flavoring ever so often. Many have come to view 'meat' as the main event. The more the better. That just ain't so.

I'd just like to add that there is no such thing as 'not enough time to cook'. That's just not acceptable. Make time. Your lifestyle should include time to nourish yourself and your loved ones. It demonstrates self respect. It teaches self respect. It also gives you control over what you consume. It's your health and your lifestyle. Be good to it.

It's Valentine's Day. We want chocolate! Lucky for us dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and serotonin boosters. I once hosted a desert Valentine's Day party called, 'Was It Love or the Chocolate'. You guessed it. Everything at the party was chocolate. Yum! But anyway, I'll give you the link to happiness. I've found a great chocolatier that makes vegan (dairy free) chocolate complete with the pretty boxes!

www.rosecitychocolates.com/vegan-valentines-chocolates.html

Happy Valentine's Day!