As all of you know, I have been battling a rare genetic heart condition. It surfaced and reared its ugly head almost nine months ago and it threw us in a whirlwind. We are still in awe of the fact that it did not surface and show itself until I was 38 years old and after I had my three babies, including a twin pregnancy. It was both a blessing and a miracle if you really think about it!
It also goes to show that it is so important to take care of yourself before sickness hits. If I would have waited to “get healthy” after I was diagnosed I would have had a harder time recouping from surgeries and medications. My heart condition itself would have torn me down faster too.
In the last eight months I have had 4 surgeries. Although I am recouping from my fourth now, I do believe I have bounced back quickly from each surgery, because of my lifelong journey to wellness. I can’t help my genetics always, but I can help my future by eating well, exercising and living a healthy lifestyle.
My love for health and wellness started in my high school years, I later worked in the Performing Arts field as well as the health and fitness industry. So it has definitely stuck with me throughout the years, for sure.
I believe it hasn’t been because of my young age alone, but because I have taken care of myself over the years that I have bounced back from surgeries and medications so well. Okay, I am not saying all of this to toot my own horn, but I am saying it so you can understand that taking “care of yourself” isn’t just about diet and exercise, it’s about a healthy lifestyle!
Although my genetic heart condition is very rare and a lot is unknown about it, one thing is for sure, I am still at risk of stroke, heart attack and CAD. So I want to do my very best, to the best of my ability to keep those extra things at bay and away from me. I am going to share how I do just that. But, before we get to that, let me give you a little rundown about CAD.
The More You Know
Did you know? Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. Kinda scary, huh?
What is CAD?
CAD occurs when blood vessels of your heart becomes narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow to the heart. While you should always take steps to prevent CAD, the primary goal is to clear arteries that have become “clogged” in order to restore blood flow to the heart after the damage has been done! So why not, start your healthy journey now before your arteries are even clogged!
Who Does CAD affect?
It is important to know that there are various risk factors that can increase your risk for CAD, including older age, being male, family history, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and high stress. Someone with CAD may experience pain, shortness of breath, fatigue or even nothing at all. Yep, nothing at all! And might I add, they also may be at risk for a heart attack! Have I said enough yet? Are you ready to take steps to change your lifestyle and start your prevention journey.
How Can CAD Be Managed?
Once the diagnosis has been made, CAD may be managed with a mixture of lifestyle changes and treatment options, with medications often being chosen as a first line of treatment. In some cases, surgery may even be needed or a minimally invasive procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) that is used to manage CAD. So why not start your healthy lifestyle now, before the medications and surgeries are your only option?
Everyone – regardless of their health – should enjoy their food and lifestyle while being mindful of their wellness. By making heart-healthy ingredient swaps, you can make a popular dish better for your heart. Some heart-healthy swaps and recipes may not be right for everyone. You may want to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet. You should follow your doctor’s guidelines or dietary restrictions for heart disease. To learn more about CAD and healthy cooking options, visit HeartHealthyBeats.com, a resource developed by Boston Scientific.
Heart Healthy Easy Ingredient Swaps
- Replace cow’s milk with soy, almond, rice or oat milk.
- Think whole grains rather than refined grains.
- Instead of reaching for the salt, load up on fresh herbs and spices to give your meals a little extra kick of flavor.
- When in need of sweetener, use a natural sugar substitute such as maple syrup, or honey.
- Use avocado as a healthy fat.
Heart Healthy And Gluten Free Chocolate Torte
The kids and I were so inspired after watching the video above that we decide to make our own chocolate torte! We made a few substitutions due to having food allergies, but it was super easy to make and oh-so-good!