Let’s define heart healthy

In terns of heart health, substituting cauliflower for carbs seems like a great idea (I’m gluten-free, so these recipes interest me for other reasons). I clicked a few of them, though, and the sheer amount of fat involved in these recipes negates any weight benefit most people would see from skipping the carbs, and certainly most of the cardiac health benefits.


This is a common problem with fad recipes and diets – when you take away one source of flavor – like fat – and your palate will ask you to replace it with another source of flavor, like sugar or salt.

That’s why eating fresher food in moderation is a better diet plan than 98% of what of the advice you get. Fresh foods are not packaged, moderate serving guides are easy to find – A serving of meat is the size of your palm. A Blooming Onion, on the other hand, is a day and a half’s worth of calories and 4 DAYS worth of fat.

I have a cauliflower recipe with almost no calories – steam it, blend half with a little broth, pour the blended half over the chunks and bake it for 20 minutes. It’s rich and delicious and has about 20 calories a serving.

Feel free to try one of these very tasty looking cauliflower recipes – please let me know how they go. Just remember that if the cheese to cauliflower ratio is 3:1, it probably isn’t helping your heart.


Now booking for November, December and January


We just wanted to say hello and let you know that November is filling up fast.

December 2014 is relatively open, but I booked my first class for January today.

We are available for certifying classes in CPR, First Aid  and BLS. We also offer informational talks for non-profits, churches and service organizations. We can discuss most health-related topics, though Preventing Heart Disease is the most commonly requested topic.

We also over a Choking Rescue class for restaurants.

Give me a call to finish your annual training calendar on a high note – book your end of the year class this week!



Fighting Heart Disease – Diet

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans, and has been for many years. There are a lot of reasons for this – some of which have been discussed in previous posts. One of the contributing factors in heart disease is diet. You have to remember that food is the fuel your body runs on – cheap, processed food is even worse for your body than E85 gas would be for your Ferrari (I don’t have one either, but you’ll remember the image).

Americans have a terrible diet. The cheapest food available to us is the worst for us – but we know that if you’re feeding three kids dinner and you have $10, you’re hitting the fast food. In a more heart-healthy world, the cheapest food would be the freshest, and the drive through would be cost-prohibitive.

There are about three billion blogs about food out there, so you go find recipes you like and we won’t add to the pile.  We’ll keep it pretty simple:

All things in moderation, and the fresher the better. 

Students often tell me that they don’t know where to begin to improve their diets – I tell them to eat 10% cleaner. You can cut 10% of the junk out of your diet – use skim instead of cream in your coffee, or eat an apple in the afternoon instead of a candy bar. Make one meal a week with turkey instead of beef – or veggies instead of meat, brown rice instead of instant or regular white rice – these small changes can help improve your health. Once you’ve done it for a month…do it again. It’s a pretty painless way to improve your overall health. Obviously, if you have a specialized diet – if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you should continue to follow that diet even as you clean it up.

Packaged foods – especially “healthy” frozen meals, are not very helpful. Flavor in processed food only comes from salt, fat or sugar. When they remove the fat, the salt content skyrockets. You can learn more about reading nutrition labels at Nutritiion.GovImage

To learn about changing your family’s eating habits, check out our friends at Revitalized Nutrition.

If you combine your dietary improvements with moderate exercise and appropriate medical care for any underlying medical conditions, you’ll be well on your well to better health. 

Fighting Heart Disease – Underlying Medical Conditions

There are several medical conditions that can increase your risk of having a heart attack. One of them is heart disease, which is phrase that includes several things we’ll discuss in a minute.

Uncontrolled diabetes can significantly increase your chance of having a heart attack. If you have heart diabetes and control it, your chance of having a heart attack is moderately higher than someone of your age and condition.

If you have diabetes and don’t know it or don’t control it – your chance of having a heart attack is significantly higher than that of others of your age and condition.

The same holds true for blood pressure – with an added wrinkle:  high blood pressure usually doesn’t show any symptoms.  We call it “the silent killer” for a reason.

So what can you do? Make sure that you go and get a physical. It doesn’t matter how old you are – you should start in your twenties to make sure you have a baseline.

If you don’t have access to a physical for whatever reason than we recommend that you get a screening – high blood pressure and diabetes are easy enough to detect with inexpensive, easily available tests.  Local hospitals, health cares, community fairs and the like often offer free screenings.

Heart disease can include high blood pressure, but also high cholesterol and other issues. There are many treatments available. Follow the suggestions of your physician and make sure that you take your medication as prescribed to you.

Diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure have one more thing in common – your diet can have a huge impact on the severity and management of these diseases. You need to follow the suggestions of your healthcare provider, and do some research on your own.

Most people know that diabetics shouldn’t eat sugar – so they use artificial sweeteners and eat sugar free chocolate. What a lot of people don’t know is that certain foods, white bread is one example, are essentially sugar in your system. If you are a diabetic, simple carbs are bad for you.

There are a lot of options for finding this information, including meeting a dietician or going to meetings. There’s also a lot of research that is easy to find.

We’ll talk more about diet and heart disease in another post.

Remember, if you would like a class in CPR or First Aid in South Florida, please contact me to set it up. If your local non-profit would like a short, free presentation on heart attack symptoms or risk factors, please let me know and we’ll see of we can arrangement.

All of these disorders need to be evaluated and treated by a medical professional.

Book a Class in First Aid/CPR/AED

To book a class in First Aid, CPR/AED or Bloodborn Pathogens, or to request a talk on heart disease, heart attack recognition or another related topic, please send a note to CPRB2B@gmail.com or comment here. We serve the South Florida area.

We also have partners who offer nutrition counseling, personal training and swim/bike/running coaching.

Fighting Heart Disease – Exercise

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As discussed previously, there are a number of risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease. Some of those factors can’t be changed (genetic predisposition, age), some can be modified (controlling underlying medical conditions, like high blood pressure) and some that can be changed (lack of exercise, stress, weight).

Today we’re going to talk about one of the things you can change- inactivity.

The CDC currently suggests 150 minutes a week of moderate activity, like walking a 15 minute mile or raking the lawn. If your heart rate is up, but you can still carry on a conversation, you’re doing great. That 150 minutes a week can sound daunting – but it’s 30 minutes 5 days a week. It doesn’t even need to be 30 minutes straight – you can take 3, 10 minute walks, if you like.

What does exercise have to do with preventing heart disease? A few things. Your heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, it needs exercise to be strong. Regular exercise can encourage better circulation of blood through the heart. It can lower blood pressure and high cholesterol, too.

Exercise also offers two other cardiac benefits – it reduces stress and it can help maintain or regulate your weight.

Reducing stress reduces levels of certain hormones that can be damaging to your vascular (blood vessel) system.

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes and can help you control your high blood pressure.

So, there are a lot of good reasons to exercise – but how do I start to exercise?

There are a lot of ways to start moving. First things first, though – check with your doctor and make sure you’re healthy enough to start.

Do you have to spend a lot of money? Absolutely not. You can increase your activity by changing some of your habits. See if you can walk to some of your errands instead of driving. If you can’t do that, park at the far end of the lot at the grocery store. Go for a bike ride with your kids, walk through a local park. Check around the neighborhood, with your church or service organization or with your friends and see if anyone has a walking group you can join.

(C) Goldstein
The author working hard to improve her cardiac health.

The secret to sticking to an exercise plan is pretty straightforward – find the active thing you love and go! Hike, bike, dance, swim, garden, run through sprinklers – whatever you enjoy is the thing the most likely to get you out of the house. Don’t be afraid to try different things – ask your friends what they do and see if you can work out with them. Check your local Park & Recreation department – many of them offer a variety of programs – and they’re usually reasonable priced. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore – it should simply be a part of your day.




Safety, Emergency Preparedness and Health