Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Heartfelt Valentine's Day

“The heart has its own language. The heart knows a hundred thousand ways to speak.” ~Rumi

     Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I thought I’d share a few ideas in case you are wondering how to show your sweetie how much they are loved and appreciated. My husband and I have a tradition where Valentine gifts to one another center on our heart health. We both have heart disease in our families so keeping ourselves heart healthy has become a priority in our lives. Sometimes we buy gifts that help us become stronger and healthier and sometimes we just find time to spend together taking a walk. Through the years we have tried to come up with creative ideas that help our hearts stay as strong as our love for one another. It’s fun to share our thoughts and plan what new adventures our Valentine’s Day will include.

     One year we built our own garden beds, bought organic soil and a composter and began growing our own vegetables and herbs. Not every crop was a success but many plantings turned out to be much heartier and more prolific than we had expected. The satisfaction we derived heading out to pick our own food was a gift we enjoyed every day and the clean home grown crops we harvested helped our hearts stay strong and healthy.

     We had been exploring the benefits of juicing and making an even greater effort to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diets. After much research and thought we decided that a Vitamix would be the way to go. We happened to be at a county fair shortly after we had made our decision and saw a booth selling them. We took our Vitamix home that day and have used it practically every day since. It really has become a big part of our everyday lives and now we can’t imagine being without it. We use it for our smoothies, soups, dips and preparing our seasonal produce so that we can preserve it for the year. 

     At our house we cook often and we take care to buy clean seasonal ingredients. It seemed natural to invest in cookware that we can trust and that we know is safe to use.  We also went from plastic storage containers to glass in the hopes that it would be a healthier alternative. We look for gadgets and kitchen tools that make it easier to be healthy.

     A big part of heart health is becoming more active. We love to travel and our getaways help us take time to relax, have adventures and explore places we love. It is calming and it is good for our souls. I just know it benefits our hearts as well. We both enjoy hiking, biking, camping, kayaking and just walking hand in hand.  To that end some Valentine's gifts have included hiking boots, camelbacks and a variety of outdoor fun items to promote our efforts. Every time we use them we are reminded what a gift it is just to be together.

     Those are just a few of our ideas Try to incorporate ideas that work for your lives, interests and health concerns.  The most important thing I can recommend is to spend time together. Share moments and memories that bring you joy.  Take time to help your sweetheart balance the stresses built into everyday life.  Do all you can to keep your loved ones hearts strong and healthy so that you can have a lifetime of Valentine’s Days to share.

Here are a dozen ideas to get you started

1. Cook meals together

2. Bake fresh bread

     3. Plant a garden for one another

     4. Take those all-important annual medical tests together

     5. Give each other the gift of a nightly evening walk

     6. Try a new sport together

     7. Take a sunset beach walk or hike a forested trail together

     8. Take a class together that promotes heart health, yoga,cooking, karate or even CPR

     9. Make a donation to the heart association

     10. Visit a u-pick or join a CSA
     11. Share the message of heart health with those you care  love

     12. I’m told red wine and dark chocolate are good for your heart