Oh Hey Summer!

I can’t believe it is the first week of July!  I feel as though this year is moving so fast that it is just slipping away from me.  I can remember back to when I first moved to Los Angeles.  My mother had just passed, I was forty pounds overweight, and emotionally a wreck.  Measuring myself today, up against that emotional woman who arrived four and a half years ago from New York City, I can say honestly say its been a slow crawl putting myself back together, but I feel almost whole today.  My goal when I moved to Los Angeles was to rebuild my life without my mother and achieve something that both she and I would be proud of.

You see, my mother and I spoke of my dreams and ambitions all of the time.  She was the first person I called when I had amazing news and she was always there for me when I was going through a tough time.  As I was struggling to continue my professional career as an actor/dancer in New York, she would frequently ask me what it is I wanted from my life.  I always maintained that I wanted to have a life as an actor, but that I also wanted more… a place to call home, a husband to love, and a family.  I frequently questioned whether my life as an actor could provide me with those things.  My mother, who I’m sure would’ve liked to steer me away from the business, supported me in continuing my professional acting career.  She never wavered in supporting me.  We would talk for hours about a life that would work in parallel with my life as an actor.  That’s when I decided to go back to school and study nutrition.

Honor thy mother…

July is the birth month of my mother, which is why I’m reminiscing about my time with her.  She encouraged me to go back to school and now five years later, I’m about to enter my last year of graduate school.  It’s bittersweet to be going through this year without my mother.  I know she would be so proud of me.

While this is such a prideful and satisfying time in my life, I can’t get this feeling of regret out of my head.   I wish I knew back then what I know now about medical nutrition therapy and basic nutrition overall.  My mother passed away on an otherwise normal Friday night in June.  June 26th, 2012 to be exact. The cause? Complications surrounding cardiomyopathy.  Looking back now, I could see the warning signs of heart disease that had overcome her.   As I continue to study for my clinical nutrition rotation, I can’t help but think that she could have been saved had I looked a bit closer.  

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle.  For my mother, the disease manifested after years of consuming a diet full of salt, sugar and fat.  My mother had diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, was overweight and a smoker.  Even so, my mother could never give up her True Green cigarettes, Coke Classic or sour cream and onion potato chips.  If my mother had implemented even a small fraction of heart-healthy lifestyle changes, she’d probably be alive today.

So the next two months I’ll be focusing on several components of a heart-healthy lifestyle that would have prolonged my mother’s life.  

  1. I can have my cake and eat it too?!  In this post I’ll be focusing on Intuitive Eating and “all foods fit” approach.  Intuitive Eating is a non-diet approach which aims to create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body by reinforcing the need to listen to internal cues of hunger, fullness and satisfaction.   
  2. Pass the Salt.  Or should I say pass on the salt.  Salt…or sodium? The average sodium intake in the United States is currently 3,440 mg which is equivalent to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.  The American Heart Association advises limiting daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg to prevent hypertension and high blood pressure.  In this post, I’ll focus on this salty subject and provide ways to decrease sodium intake without sacrificing flavor.  
  3. Is fat killing you, or sugar?  This hotly debated and heavily researched topic will be the focus for the month of August.  It is that important that I will spend the whole month giving you as much knowledge as I can regarding this topic.  I have numerous friends on the ketogenic diet and I want to provide sound evidenced based advice as to how fat and sugar are affecting your health.  
  4. As Queen Bey says, “A little sweat never heart nobody!” Oh, yes, my friends we are focusing on getting moving and toning that body.  All new home workouts with downloadable PDFs are coming your way.  
I’m so excited to bring you all of this content and hopefully you’ll begin to share some of it with family and friends.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, so let’s do something about it.  Let’s get the conversation going so that everyone can “Live their best lives!”
Stephanie

Comments are closed