The 14th of February is known the world over as the month when people express their love on Valentine’s Day. Those displays of affections often get communicated with greeting cards, roses and heart shaped boxes of chocolates and other symbols of love and caring.
Valentine’s Day History
Many people think that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday”, a day conjured up by the greeting card companies to sell more cards, but it’s simply not true! Valentine’s Day, or Saint Valentine’s Day, or The Feast of Saint Valentine dates as far back as the 14th Century. Yes, the wonderful marketing people at the greeting card companies, the flower shops and confectioneries have certainly figured out how to maximize the opportunities for profit on the 14th … but that’s not the point.
The concept of sharing one’s feelings and expressing one’s love for another is still a beautiful thing to do and strongly encouraged. It doesn’t cost anything to tell someone how much you love them and make people feel loved, wanted and appreciated. (Tip for the guys: If you want to give roses, buy them on the 20th or 25th or in March when they are half the price! Put the savings in a joint “fun fund” … she’ll love you even more for it!)
Heart Health Month
With all these heart shaped symbols flying around, it makes sense that both Canada and America, and other countries I’m sure, use the month of February to promote Heart Health. February is the “official” Heart Health Month. Point of interest, it does seem a little odd that we pick the shortest month of the year to focus on the #1 cause of death in the world: heart disease.
The term “heart disease” covers a myriad of heart issues and I don’t want to bore or depress you with all the medical data, statistics and facts out there … you can Google that information. I do, though, want to take this opportunity to express my frustrations around heart disease and share some simple steps we can all take with the hope of improving the statistics.
I’m sure many of you reading this have experienced the loss of a loved one due to heart failure or are possibly dealing with some aspect of heart disease in your family right now. I, too, have lost family members, friends and loved ones to heart disease. Some people suffer from a stroke, others from a heart attack and others from a long struggle with blood pressure issues, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which can lead to heart failure. Of course it saddens me to think about the loss of those loved ones, but more than anything, it frustrates me … even angers me!
Why am I frustrated and angry? Because they did this to themselves and in many cases, it could have been prevented. Not intentionally, of course and not suddenly, but every time they ordered that big burger and supersized fries with a large soda at the drive thru window, every time they lit that next cigarette, poured that “one too many” drink, every time they added the little bit of extra syrup to those pancakes or stopped by the doughnut shop for a “treat” … little by little, every single day of their lives they unwittingly contributed to and added to their heart health problem until ultimately their heart was broken to the point it could no longer function.
Steps to Take for a Healthier Heart
But folks, as a naturopathic doctor, knowing what I know now after several years in the health industry, having been to hundreds of educational seminars, having helped hundreds of patients change their habits, having spent years educating people about what they are really putting into and doing to their bodies when they eat processed food and encouraging them, sometimes almost forcing them to live a healthier lifestyle … I am here to tell you, we are breaking our own hearts every day and if you can relate to this blog, I am here to help you change!
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to only eat salad and walk for 3 hours a day, I’m simply suggesting that you pay attention to what you are eating and the lifestyle you are living.
Not only can we stop doing damage, the great news is we can actually reverse some of the damage we’ve already done!
How? Simple version: Eat Better – Move More!
It really is that simple. Note I didn’t say easy … I said simple!
It’s never easy to break a habit or to make a lifestyle change; it takes commitment, willpower and motivation to do things, perhaps differently than you have always done them.
By starting with small changes to your diet from processed (poison) food to real, natural, nutritious, delicious, healthy food and by adding at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to your routine, you can and will, not only feel unbelievably better with more energy and zest for life, but you may also reduce your cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, clear your arteries, strengthen your heart and maybe, just maybe, enjoy a long happy, healthy life surrounded by people who love you and for whom you want to express your love every Valentine’s Day for years to come!
As your doctor and friend, I ask you to please stop breaking your heart and have a very happy, healthy heart month and a wonderful, love-filled Valentine’s Day!
As always, if you would like help or wish to learn more about nutrition, food or heart health, please call the office and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment to discuss your heart and your health.