I have to admit that I spend the first half of my life not really thinking about heart health. When I hit my late teens and early twenties, I did start worrying about my weight, but it was more a vanity issue than a health one.
Somewhere around my late twenties, I had an episode where I could feel my heart skipping a beat several times an hour. (And it was not in a good I-met-the-man-of-my-dreams kind of way.) I had the nurse at the school where I was teaching take a listen to make sure I wasn’t imagining the whole thing. She definitely heard something and advised me to go see my doctor.
I spent the next few days with a cardiac monitor strapped to my chest. It was basically a little Walkman (I know – what’s a Walkman, right??) sized recorder hooked up to some electrodes glued to me. To say I was worried would be an understatement.
Once the doctor read the results, I got a call that nothing “out of the ordinary” had shown up on the reading and that it was probably just stress – or too much caffeine. I figured that the latter was probably right and scaled back my trips to Dunkin’ Donuts.
While I’m very thankful that nothing was truly wrong with my heart, it did make me think a bit more carefully about what I was putting into my body and how it might affect the health of my heart.
Add a few more years to the picture and an aunt who underwent a heart transplant, and I can say that I am MUCH more conscious of making heart-healthy choices now. I make a conscious effort to limit my sodium intake, especially when using processed foods. I really try to cook from scratch as much as I can, but know that some nights, that’s just not going to happen.
I have a few go-to meals that are heart healthy that I like to keep in my back pocket for those situations. One of my favorites is spaghetti and meatballs! By using turkey for my meatballs, which I can make ahead of time and freeze, and adding a few lentil beans in with the ground turkey (shhh – no one has figured out I do this..it blends right in) the meatballs are nothing to feel guilty about.
I use whole grain pasta – we’ve experimented with a few to find one we all like – and a lower sodium, heart healthy sauce. With our Ninja cooker, I can throw the whole thing in (including frozen meatballs) and it is ready in 10 minutes!
I’ll bet you all have ways that you care for your heart as well, don’t you? Well, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women® Movement and Campbell is running a contest where you can win a $50,000 kitchen makeover just by sharing your tip!!
Entering is easy-peasy. All you have to do is click on the contest widget below and upload a picture of how you care for your heart. My example would be:
And my tip would be: I make sure I have easy, fast, and heart healthy options available for quick dinners on busy nights.
Step 1: Submit a photo below that shows how you care for your heart
Step 2: Fill out the information required including your name, email address and zip code.
Step 3: Write a short contest entry (up to 200 words) that corresponds with the photo and share how you care for your heart. Please be honest and sincere with all your thoughts and remember to tell us in 200 words or less.
Step 4: Confirm you’ve read the Official Rules.
Step 5: Log in through your Facebook account.
Step 6: Submit your contest entry.
You can share your contest entry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and visit AddressYourHeart.com for recipes, tips, and downloadable coupons for heart-healthy products from Campbell.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Campbell Soup Company’s Address Your Heart initiative. The opinions, text, and images are all mine.