Posted on

Holiday Stressors

Six Holiday Habits That Cause Heart Attacks  

Some traditions make for merriment and fun – but these six can literally stop your heart. 

BY DR. DARRIA GILLESPIE, MD 

“Christmas Coronary.” It sounds festive, doesn’t it? Like something you’d hear in a holiday movie. Unfortunately … no. The term was coined by doctors who noticed a disturbing patternHeart attacks and heart-related problems peaking every year over the winter holiday season — specifically on Christmas, the day after Christmas and on New Year’s Day.  Of course, health emergencies at this time of year seem to stick out more in our minds — the dad who had a heart attack just after the family dinner or the grandfather who experienced severe chest pain after shoveling snow. But it’s more than just anecdotal. Studies show that the number of heart attacks increases by over 30% in the winter. This number holds true for all ages (young people can manifest as having dangerous heart rhythms) and genders.
 

What’s behind this increase? These six stressors specifically surrounding the holidays put us at greater risk: 

  1. Cold temperatures. Cold weather causes your blood vessels to constrict in your arms and legs, making your heart work harder. It can also cause the blood vessels to your heart to spasm, temporarily depriving the heart of oxygen.
  2. Overexertion. Even those who are sedentary during the rest of the year may increase their physical activity over the holidays — shoveling snow, trudging through snowdrifts or going sledding with the kids. Suddenly becoming active in the cold weather causes a spike in demand on your heart. In addition, the mere act of lifting a heavy snow shovel increases your blood pressure, which makes someone with heart disease even more at risk of having a heart attack. 
  3. Nonstop food feasts.A study from Switzerland showed that in the winter, people had higher blood pressure and cholesterol — the very factors that drive a heart attack.
  • What to do: I know—the parties, family gatherings and treats are half the fun! And we all need a little fun. You can still enjoy the festivities, albeit with some caveats. Give yourself some boundaries—for example, you’ll only eat two pieces of mom’s special fudge or one piece of apple pie. Or maybe you’ll allow yourself to indulge at one party, but not the other. I try to keep my nutrition in check on weekdays and then allow myself to cheat a little on the weekend. That works for me, but everyone is different so try some strategies to see what works for you. 
  1. Alcohol. Holiday spirits can lead to “Holiday Heart Syndrome” if you’re not careful. I remember last holiday season taking care of a 34-year-old guy who had come home for the holidays, gone out with his friends and noticed that his heart was suddenly racing. His heart rate was 180 when EMS brought him in. It took hydration and medications to stabilize his heart rate.
  2. Ignoring symptoms. It’s a common excuse: “All the family is here right now” or “I don’t want to spend Christmas Eve in the ER” or “I have 30 guests coming this evening.” Health problems never come at convenient times, and the holidays make those surprises seem even more inconvenient.
  3. Catching a bug.‘Tisthe season for gifts, family — and the flu. A disease like the flu can put excess pressure on your heart — especially if you already have heart problems — increasing the risk of a heart attack. 

With a little extra caution, you can enjoy the holidays while staying your healthiest.  

 

May you keep the holiday spirit in your heart year ‘round, avoid “Holiday Heart Syndrome” and always and forever remain young at heart. 

 

This week’s newsletter is excerpted from an article that can be read in its entirety at https://www.sharecare.com/health/heart-attack/article/6-holiday-habits-that-cause-heart-attacks 

 

Let’s commit to a good food strategy that is heart healthy this holiday season.  

Tristan

your farmer and health activist

 

  • 1/4 cup lime juice 
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey 
  • 1 tsp. sea salt 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley 
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 2 fresh pears, cut into chunks 
  • 1/2 cup dried wild blueberries (optional) 
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup shaved carrots 
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber 
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red pepper 
  • 1/4 cup red onions, diced 

DIRECTIONS: Mix lime juice, honey, salt, olive oil, and vinegar in a bowl; set aside. 

  1. In large bowl, mix together quinoa, fruit, vegetables, nuts, dried blueberry, then pour over dressing. 
  1. Place in refrigerator to chill, then serve cold! (Optional to serve with chicken.) 

All images and text ©Sandy Coughlin for Reluctant Entertainer. 

Recipe Permalink: https://reluctantentertainer.com/pear-quinoa-salad/ 

 

 

 

Posted on

The Taste of Treviso Italy via Mt. Vernon

We have been enjoying a few different soups that hail from the region of Tuscany, Italy. The White bean soup and Tuscan potato kale soup have quickly become staples here at the farm. Both easy to make and nutritious. And those two characteristics, easy to make + nutritious = health!

This week we are traveling 3 hours to the north and east from Tuscany to Treviso for a taste of Radicchio of the chicory family. Radicchio in Italy is tied to regions in a similar way wine is tied to regions. And this week’s Treviso Radicchio comes from the Treviso region of Italy. Ironically, Treviso in Italy is as big a deal as Romaine is here. You can find 3 packs of Treviso in Italy on the shelves of grocery stores just like we have 3 packs of romaine in the states. You will also find Romaine in your box of good this week, my thinly veiled attempt to highlight and contrast how we eat compared to other parts of the world.

Treviso radicchio hasn’t been cultivated in America very long, maybe 40 years, compared to 4+ centuries in Italy. Fortunately, in the PNW we have a similar climate to Treviso, Italy and grow excellent Radicchio. While the inspiration comes from Italy, the perspiration required to grow this crop comes from Mt. Vernon.

Ralph’s Greenhouse and its rich alluvial soils in the Skagit valley coupled with its cool maritime nights mimic the ideal growing conditions for this super nutritious vegetable. I am also pairing the Treviso with French shallots from Hedlin Farms in La Conner and I asked my neighbor, Vivian, to cut one sprig of sage for each of you (make sure you find it) to use in this week’s recipe.

Also, I am bringing over Spitzenburg apples from Okanagan. There is a small organic grower’s co-op over there that we (Klesick’s and you) support by buying their fruit. And Spitzenburg is an excellent apple that dates back to Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd president of the United States. It is reported that this was his favorite apple and I can see why.  This week you can use a Spitzenburg apple to balance the deep flavor of the Treviso Radicchio in the wilted salad recipe. The recipe uses a technique called braising, it works great with all types of greens. I would be tempted to, also, create a freshly made Valencia orange/balsamic vinaigrette with the Valencia oranges in your box and add it to a Romaine/Treviso salad. So many choices!

Health does come down to choices. Thank you for choosing Klesick’s as one of your partner’s in health!

Tristan

Your Farmer and Health Advocate

Recipe: Braised Treviso with Sage & Balsamic

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 (about 125g) French shallots, peeled, halved lengthways
  • 1 treviso lettuce, cut into 6 wedges
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) Massel chicken style liquid stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallot, stirring, for 20 minutes or until soft. Add treviso. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add stock, vinegar, sugar and sage. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the treviso wilts. Season with salt and pepper.

Radicchio, Teviso:

A favorite of Italians, whom it is believed their cultivation originated with, Treviso radicchio look a bit like purple romaine hearts. Italians almost never use radicchios in a mixed salad, but savor them alone with the simplest of olive-oil dressings. Often, they cook radicchio, turning to varieties like Treviso, that are milder in flavor, since the bitterness of radicchio intensifies with cooking. The tonic bitterness, however, is a good contrast to rich or fatty flavors. Radicchio is good braised, grilled, or in a soup. Store: keep radicchio in a tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Radish, Daikon:

Daikon is a white root vegetable often seen in Japanese and Chinese cuisine that resembles a carrot. However, unlike a carrot’s sweetness, daikon is spicy and tart, similar to a radish. Its pungent and sharp flavor can be enjoyed raw, pickled, or cooked. The white pigment in daikon is called anthoxanthin, which is an antioxidant that may lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In Asian cuisine, daikon is often eaten alongside meaty dishes, and is said to aid in digestion and breakdown of oil, fatty animal protein, and dairy.

It can be eaten raw like you would a radish, sliced or grated into a salad, or baked, sautéed or grilled like any other root vegetable. Cooked daikon has a similar texture and flavor to turnips.

 

Posted on

Delicata

This week we are featuring Delicata Squash and, oh what a crop we have had! This might have been one of the top two or three growing seasons!  

I love that…by just eating fruits and vegetables our bodies can get an incredible amount of nutrition and phytochemicals. Delicata and all winter squash are nutritional powerhouses! Low in Calories, low on the Glycemic Index and high in everything important. If Americans would just commit to getting enough daily fiber in their diets from plants, we would avert the looming health crisis of diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, cancer, obesity. Just using the goal of 30grams of fiber a day you would also tap into a plethora of phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins that also nourish and heal our bodies. 

Just look at the nutritional profile for winter squash and this is only 1 cup and only 1 item in your box of good this week. Organic fruits and vegetables are super foods, super healthy and super tasty!  

Enjoy! 

Tristan 

Your Farmer and Health Advocate 

 

 

DELICATA, APPLE AND GREENS SALAD 

Serves 4 

INGREDIENTS 

1 delicata squash, seeds removed and cut into chunks (½”x1”)

2 small apples, largely diced  

1 carrot, grated
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or ½ tsp dried thyme ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups of Lettuce, Spinach, Cabbage or Kale or a mix of all them
The juice of 1 lemon
3 Tablespoons tahini

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup pomegranate seeds
1 avocado, diced 

DIRECTIONS 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add cut delicata squash and apple to baking tray (optional – line a large baking dish with parchment paper) and drizzle with Olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Use your hands to fully coat squash and apples. Roast for 20 minutes or easily pierced with a knife/fork.  

While delicata and apple are roasting, combine lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and maple syrup together. Drizzle the mixture on the salad ingredients (lettuce, cabbage, kales, spinach, carrot, etc) in a large bowl.  

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste. Use your hands to gently work in the liquids into salad mix for a minute or two – a little less for lettuce and a litt

le more for kale and cabbage. 

Add pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and diced avocado to the salad mix. Top with roasted apple and delicata squash and mix once more. Enjoy! 

Posted on

Farming and Family!

Anyone else have summer chores that just didn’t get done?!!!! I have a few that are pressing, but I am content with what we did get done. And often what is left over or unfinished would have been nice to finish, but in reality, those projects could wait.

I also have noticed that as I get older, my energy or appetite to tackle as many big projects is waning. When I look back over the last 20 years, I think “we did that”. We resurrected a dilapidated farm house, rescued a farm from the chemical agriculture world, planted habitat for wildlife, planted a 200-tree orchard, built farm buildings, poured concrete, fenced and refenced 40 acres, and farmed with Belgian Draft horses. All the while having babies and raising children, seeing them grow to adulthood and find their spouses. It is overwhelming just recounting that and I am sure we were overwhelmed while we were doing that! For that season, Joelle and I had the energy of 30-year old’s!

But now that I am turning another year older and I look back I can only smile at all the memories, all the hard work and heartache, all the love and all the life. And because I am an eternal optimist, I can hardly wait for the next 20 years to unfold. What will this life bring, what changes are on the horizon?

For sure, life is not static, and I know that Joelle and I will continue to live rich meaningful lives surrounded by our family and grandkids! And those grandkids are running circles around us, it just seems like it was yesterday that our parents were playing ball or games with my children, and now it is Joelle and I that are playing ball with our grandkids. And they are quick, I mean way quicker than my children ever were!

John Maxwell tells a story about parenting. My paraphrase. John says, “you want to let your children live to adulthood, so you can get grandkids and that is the real prize for being parents! When you see your first grandchild, ‘you think to yourself, this is the smartest human being ever born.’” As the story goes, John was at a conference sharing this story and his son was in the audience. Well John proceeded to tell everyone that Intelligence skips a generation and that his grandkids were considerably smarter than his own children. Of course, the audience, which was primarily grandparents completely understood John’s sentiments. His son caught up with him behind stage and John said, “now son that stuff about you not being as smart as your children, is all fun and..” But his son stopped him and said, “Dad, I think you are onto something, Grandpa and I were just having the same conversation about you last week!”

If I have learned anything in the last 5 decades, it is that every season of life is meaningful and important and so is every generation!

Cheers to your health,