A saying that I live by goes something like this: “you can have it all, just not all at once.” It helps get my head out of the clouds and keeps me from ordering one too many desserts after dinner. But more than anything, it reminds me of an important, simple rule, one that many of us are trying to abide by as we set our resolutions, whatever they may be, and that’s to “find a balance.” This is especially important to me when it comes to what is most important to me, and that is my wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others.
Stroke and heart disease run on both sides of my family, most prominently having afflicted both of my grandfathers and my grandmother; and, just a few years ago, my dad – before he even turned 60 – suffered from three mini strokes, and I’ll never forget how upside down it made my world (thank God he recovered and is OK). Since then, I’ve tried to educate myself and my family on the risk factors of heart disease and stroke, hoping no one else has to be affected by it again.
February is Heart Month, a time to examine our own health and raise awareness surrounding heart disease in women. One woman dies every 80 seconds from heart disease, which ultimately will kill 1 in 3 women. Unless we do something about it. Related: Do Good: Go Red for Women’s Health (Faire and Goodwin, February 2016)
So in addition to trying as best as I can to live a lifestyle of healthy balance, I’m really proud to partner with the American Heart Association for Go Red for Women, an annual event (this year taking place on February 10 – join me!) to raise awareness of heart disease in women. While you might not be able to completely prevent it as genetics are a factor, our lifestyles play a huge role in our health. Quitting smoking, eating healthy, staying active (check out our workout playlist), and reducing our stress (the last one I have a lot of trouble with) are just a few ways we can try to lower our risks of heart disease and stroke — and a lot of health issues in general.
But if you’re anything like Jody and I (and probably a lot of other families), you’re often strapped for time and ideas for dinner prep during the week. Recently, the AHA released the Go Red for Women Cookbook. Inside you’ll find loads of healthy recipe solutions, including one of my favorites so far, the Cool Lettuce-Wrap Tacos. There’s no cooking involved, too, so these are a fantastic weeknight meal idea. Plus, most of these ingredients we already had at home! (We love Mexican food. Like, a lot.) The book outlines a vegetarian taco recipe, but you can just as easily add a lean protein of your choice, or substitute the cheese for a vegan variety.
Faire & Goodwin wooden serving board pictured above coming to our Etsy shop this weekend!
These tacos utilize one of my absolute favorite foods, avocados. Years ago, I used to shy away from the fruit, because of its high levels of fat. But now, at my healthiest, I understand personally that the fat in avocados aren’t to blame for poor health (try late night pizza and one too many cocktails!). In fact, according to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, eating an avocado every day as part of a healthy diet can improve bad cholesterol levels. Especially if you rely more on plant fats than animal fats like me, avocado is a wonderful (and totally delicious) to get some heart-healthy fats into your diet.
Cool Lettuce-Wrap Tacos
From the Go Red for Women Cookbook
- 1 cup of canned no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup of frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
- 1 small Italian plum (Roma) tomato, diced
- 1/2 small avocado, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 8 Bibb lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup salsa (lowest sodium available)
In a small bowl, stir together the beans, corn, tomato, avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, and chili powder.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the bean mixture into the center of each lettuce leaf. Sprinkle with the Monterey Jack. Top with the salsa. For tacos, fold the sides of the lettuce over the filling. (For burritos, roll the lettuce to enclose the filling, tucking in the ends. Secure each burrito with a wooden toothpick.)
All in all, these tasty tacos took under 10 minutes to prepare – perfect for a busy weeknight and better (and way healthier) than takeout! Jody took some leftovers for lunch (just store the lettuce leaves separately), and I took the taco mixture for breakfast with some egg white muffin cups the next day.
Nutrition: Calories 173, Total Fat 6.5g, Saturated Fat 2.0 g, Trans fat 0.0 g, Polyunsaturated fat 1.0 g, Monounsaturated fat 3.0 g, Cholesterol 8 mg, Sodium 214 mg, Carbohydrates 20g, Fiber 5 g, Sugars 5g, Protein 9g. Dietary exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1/2 fat
To learn more about the American Heart Association, visit heart.org.
Want Even More Red?! Read the articles from other local bloggers below!
- Learn about Protecting Your Heart with Shibani from She In The CLE.
- Add hints of red hues to your interior design with Danielle DeBoe Harper of DeBoe Studio.
- Strike a yoga pose with Alicia Hansen.
- Go red in Cleveland and cook up some fun with Jen Rome from Why Cle?