Edible #ClevelandGoesRed to Promote Heart Health

I love working with the team at Edible Cleveland. You know why? Because I love to immerse myself in the subject of food. And, yeah, I really love eating it. You probably already surmised that. And if you love food, there is just no better place to be right now than Cleveland. Am I right?

 We’re lucky to live in such a great food town. But you know what? We’re even more fortunate to live in a town where we have amazing medical resources and a community of committed people who advocate for the health of women.

So when we were asked to share some valuable information on the upcoming Go Red For Women Health Expo and Luncheon, an annual event of the Cleveland division of the American Heart Association (AHA) we couldn’t say no. You see, as a team of {mostly} women, in varying life stages, we understand how important it is to maintain our health and to be sure we’re looking out for each other.

This year’s event is Friday, February 10, at the Huntingdon Convention Center in downtown Cleveland. You can grab a ticket to this fun and informative event – there’s still time!  In addition to inspirational speakers, many of whom have been personally touched by significant heart issues, you can participate in health screenings, learn about current life-saving research, and enjoy the company of others committed to the Go Red For Women cause.

Perhaps like me, you were taken aback by the recent death of film icon Carrie Fisher, who suffered a heart attack in midair while traveling. She was just 60 years old. This got me thinking about my own heart health and how I have been prioritizing taking care of myself. After all, heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year. That’s one woman every 80 seconds, ladies!  According to the AHA, 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

While I would like to eat cheese, charcuterie, and other trendy delicacies daily, it’s just not feasible or smart to do so. In fact, this week I am on a little self-prescribed food break. I’m back on my morning smoothies, eating more salads, skipping the alcohol, and swapping out meats in lieu of vegetables, grains, and fish.

One of the simplest ways you can take better care of yourself is by cooking at home where you have all the control to limit the additives and fats and to choose heart-healthy recipes, cooking methods, and ingredients.

Today, I made a meatless Thai-inspired green curry dish. Because it includes rice, I know it will keep me full. I don’t cook from one recipe – I experiment and cherrypick what I like to put my own spin on meals. This dish was inspired by recipes from Forks Over Knives and Eating Well. I love using light coconut milk in moderation, and it combines so well with green curry for a creamy veggie-rich meal. You can also pick up a Go Red For Women Cookbook for many more heart-healthy recipes!

Helpful cooking hack! When making a stir-fry or vegetable medley, I’ll head to Heinen’s first thing in the morning to grab a mix of items from their fantastic salad bar. This cuts down on waste and the likelihood of me discovering smelly, wilted veggies in my crisper. I may need to make a few adjustments, but I can always head to produce to buy a few extras (like snow peas!).

How did I make it? I get my jasmine rice going in a rice cooker about 20 minutes ahead of dinner. Then, I sautéed all the veggies in 1/3 cup of vegetable broth to my desired crunchiness, and added in a half can of lite coconut milk with a generous tablespoon of green curry paste. This technique is an easy alternative to stir-frying with oil. I like to plate it with cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Those little Mandarin oranges make a refreshing side.

Doesn’t this look good? We won’t even miss the meat because there is so much flavor in here! The AHA reminds us that adding color is another way to keep our diets in check.

Take a moment and check out the many resources offered by the American Heart Association and follow them on social media for frequent reminders that will keep your heart healthy.

Stay in touch with @ClevelandAHA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

— Lisa Sands