When you think of healthy eating habits, one of the last people who comes to mind to model their behavior is Santa Claus, right? I thought the same until I recently watched the following video by none other than the woman in charge at the North Pole, Mrs. Claus herself.
I was shocked when I heard Mrs. Claus talking about heart disease and how many people it really affects. While I knew it was the #1 cause of death in the US, I didn't know that about 25 % of the population is living with heart disease, or about 80 million Americans. Twenty-five perfect may seem small, but when you hear 80,000 it becomes scary and makes you really step back and look at how you and your family are living and start to think about ways that you improve your heart health. Even small changes make the world of difference...you just have to be willing to put the time and effort into making these changes and keeping these healthy habits -- not just because it is in your best interest, but also you teach by example, and you need to be a role model to your child(ren).
As families begin gathering for the holidays, you may find yourself talking about health and how some family members are not as healthy as they were in year's past. You may even be surprised to hear that a relative who you only see at the holidays has suffered a heart attack or has needed to have surgery to treat clogged arteries, etc.
While you may not want to talk about health or think about making changes to your diet and overall health, the holidays are the best time to start talking, as everyone will be together. You may find that when you start talking that you have a family history of heart disease, that you may not have known about?
But, when it comes to talking with family about heart health, where do you start? Even though Mrs. Clause and Santa Claus are busy getting ready for the busiest night of the year, they have also been busy making changes to their diets and tracking their progress over at ClausNutrition.com. In addition to sharing their progress, Mrs. Claus and Santa have also shared tips from nutrition and heart health experts, that will provide a starting point for your family to talk about and create a health plan that will have living a heart healthy lifestyle in 2015.
You can help prevent heart disease and the change of a heart attack or even death, but making changes to your diet and lifestyle. By exercising and eating foods rich in nutrients like omega-3S, vitamin D and E, and Beta-Glucan, as well as taking supplements like fish oil and multivitamins to get all your essential nutrients (that diet alone can't provide), you can reduce your chances of becoming part of the heart disease statistic that Mrs. Claus mentioned in her video above.
So, as you say goodbye to 2014, why not make 2015 the year of change. Take control of your heart health and ask your family to do the same. While the holidays may be the only time you get to see family, you want to be able to enjoy and cherish this special time with everyone, for years to come. I know I do!
You can visit ClausNutrition.com which DSM launched and has been adding updates, informative pieces and more. From now until December 23rd to read about the Claus' heart health plan, track their progress and gain useful information that will you create your own health plan. I found the Q&A with Mrs. Claus and heart health experts to be very informative, as was the infographics shared, including one highlighting heart healthy supplements.
There was also a breakdown of bad-for-you-foods during the holiday season and healthy swaps you can make.
Looking for simple ways to eat well & sustainably this festive season? DSM shares some tips here: http://bit.ly/1AF1jVo
Sad to say but most of the foods I usually with our holiday table with made it on the bad-for-you-food lists. I will definitely be swapping these out for healthy ones, as I really want to be proactive when it comes to the heart health of my family. When visiting ClausNutrition.com, you will also find recipes that you can make, including the one below, I will be making in place of Cesar salad I usually make:
Spinach Berry Salad
By Mayo Clinic Staff
• 4 packed cups torn fresh spinach (spinach is rich in folate, potassium, and fiber—all great for heart health)
• 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (full of anti-inflammatories, which can reduce risk of heart disease and cancer)
• 1 cup fresh, or frozen, blueberries (full of anti-inflammatories, which can reduce risk of heart disease and cancer)
• 1 small sweet onion, sliced
• 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (among the most antioxidant-rich nuts, they may prevent plaque formation in arteries; they have been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol levels as much as 33 percent)
• 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon curry powder (can be omitted)
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach, strawberries, blueberries, onion and pecans. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients. Shake well. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information (per Serving)
• Total Carbohydrate: 25g
• Dietary Fiber: 4g
• Sodium: 197mg
• Saturated Fat: 0.5g
• Total Fat: 5g
• Cholesterol: 0mg
• Protein: 4g
• Monounsaturated Fat: 3g
• Calories: 158
Wonder what Santa will be snacking on while he is riding around on his sleigh on Christmas Eve? Over at ClausNutrition.com, you will on-the-go and on-plan snacks that Mrs. Claus will be packing for him, that you, too, can incorporate into your day to day on the go snacking options.
Maybe next time you think about heart health and healthy eating habits, you will think of Santa Claus. From what I have been seeing on the tracker tracker detailing the hearth healthy progress of the Claus family, he and the Mrs. are making the necessary changes to a heart healthy lifestyle, that you can model your life after.
Take full advantage of having family around this holiday season to talk about hearth health and Mrs. Claus's initiative. Remind family and friends that heart attacks increase over the holidays. But, that by making changes to your diet, you can reduce your risks. Yes, it may be hard to say "no" to the dessert table and fattening side dishes, but you have to start sometime. And, the holidays are the perfect time to start adding more fruits and veggies into your diet, and into meals and snacks you serve up your family. And, don't forget about daily multivitamins and supplements to achieve the essential nutrients you need for a heart healthy diet. Oh yeah, and Mrs. Claus would love for you to skip the cookies and whole milk for Santa. Instead, why not leave him a plate of healthy fruit and veggies with a glass of water or low-fat milk. The reindeer love their veggies...and your heart will, too!
Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for DSM. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.