Heart to Heart
Heart to Heart

After surviving a rare coronary artery dissection and massive heart attack while nine months pregnant, Nefertari has devoted her life to uplifting other heart patients and promoting heart health awareness.

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Imitation of Health

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One day, while eating a blueberry "flavored" muffin, I had a slight revelation: just because a food tastes or smells like the real thing, that's not necessarily the case. And more often than not, foods that imitate the flavors and look of the real thing — my "blueberry" muffin, for example — are terrible for your health.

I felt like a rocket scientist for a moment.

This was an interesting "Aha" moment for me. I thought about all of food that used this same concept, some of which were in my own cupboards, and decided from that point on I was going to only eat the real version of my favorite foods. 

As the days went on I found myself substituting quite often. If I went into my purse for a stick of blueberry gum I would quickly put it down and go to the refrigerator to get some fresh blueberries. If one of the kids asked for a cherry Pop Tart, I gave them fresh cherries instead. It was amazing how many different types of junk food we were able to find that were simply imitating good, whole foods.  

As a heart patient, I also must watch my sodium intake. Until I began paying close attention, I never really noticed how much sodium was in some canned and frozen vegetables. This is just another reason to make that weekly visit to the market. (And for those of us who can't get out much, stores like Acme will even deliver our fresh produce, milk and meats just like the good old days!) 

There are some challenges that come with these new eating habits, especially for a mother of five. For one thing, storing fresh foods is a little more difficult. Fresh fruits and vegetables go bad quickly, as opposed to processed or pre-packaged foods which can be stored for long periods of time. These foods have their use. I still have frozen meals and canned items available just in case there are times when I can't get out to the grocery store or I am not able to cook. But on the whole, I prefer to have the fresh foods available for my kids so they can get into the habit of only putting food into their mouth that has nutritional value.

I know our First Lady has a beautiful garden on the White House lawn and that First Family actually eats meals created from the fruits and vegetables that have been grown in that very garden. I'm not going to go that far. Although gardening is relaxing and rewarding, I must be honest with myself...I do not have a green thumb. However, I am going to make a huge effort to make fresh produce an important part of every meal.

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Tags: Healthy Eating

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After surviving a heart attack, Nefertari has devoted her life to promoting heart health awareness.

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