The St. Francis Heart Truth for Women Luncheon, which is Tuesday, Feb. 14, is a way to educate women about heart disease, the number one killer of women, said Amy Adams, administrative director of marketing and communications at St. Francis Hospital.
This years event will feature Tosca Reno, author of the popular The Eat-Clean Diet® books. Reno is a model, author, motivational speaker/wellness consultant and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner -- all titles she earned after turning her life around at age 40.
Diet is such an important component of heart health, said Adams. We thought it would be a different way to approach it and it would give attendees something they can take home, learn and apply to their lives.
The lunch will be prepared using Renos Eat-Clean Diet® recipes and all attendees will receive one of Renos books. A book signing will take place following the luncheon.
Reno recently answered some questions for the Ledger-Enquirer about Eating Clean, the importance of heart health and why its never too late to adopt healthy habits. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is eating clean and how has it changed your life?
Simply put, Eating Clean is eating the way nature intended. It involves consuming whole, natural foods to help build our leanest, healthiest and happiest selves. Its a lifestyle change that leads to healthy, steady weight loss and healthy eating for life.
Some of the key Eat-Clean principles include drinking plenty of water, eating a small meal (consisting of a lean protein and a complex carbohydrate) every two to three hours and making sure you include enough healthy fats in your diet.
When I started Eating Clean, I went from having a double-cream, double-sugar coffee, and toast with peanut butter and jam for breakfast to having a bowl of oatmeal dressed with flaxseed and mixed berries, accompanied by four hardboiled egg whites. As you can see, I wasnt eating less food; I was just making smarter choices. And the wonderful thing is, not only did these changes in my diet lead to weight loss, but I also had heaps of energy, my skin started to glow and my interest in life, love and even sex was suddenly awakened. It was amazing! Once I discovered how easily I could change my life by changing what I put in my mouth, no one could stop me.
What are the heart-health benefits of a clean diet?
Eating Clean satisfies a basic urge in us to eat foods that our bodies evolved to function best on -- foods that nourish and rebuild. Because eating this way involves eschewing salty, sugary, trans-fat-laden processed foods and embracing fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and heart-healthy fats, it is an excellent diet for controlling cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure -- all of which are risk factors for developing heart disease.
When you start Eating Clean, your body reacts by losing weight if you need to lose it or maintaining a healthy weight if thats where you are. This is beneficial for heart health because a weight gain of as little as five pounds means extra work for your ticker. Any extra weight on your frame also further increases your chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
What will you be discussing at the Heart Truth for Women Luncheon?
The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation has just put out a great ad campaign called Make Death Wait. Its stirring up a bit of controversy because it personifies heart disease as a creepy predator, but I think its wonderfully effective and necessary because the main message is painfully clear: Heart disease is the number-one killer of women. And, by the way, this is true in both the United States and Canada. I also recently learned that in the U.S., heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.
In most cases this cause of death is preventable, and thats why Im so happy for this opportunity to help spread awareness and education by speaking at the Heart Truth for Women Luncheon. I want to talk about what exactly heart disease and stroke are, as well as the risk factors and warning signs, of course, but what Im really looking forward to is giving women the tools they need to help them take charge of their health. As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, this is my area of expertise -- and my passion.
I also plan on discussing the lifestyle changes women can make -- namely Eating Clean and exercising -- that will help them significantly reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke. They also need to know how to talk to their doctors and how to listen to what their bodies are telling them.
What advice do you have for women who think that once theyve hit a certain age its impossible to lose weight or change their lifestyle/habits?
I hear from a lot of women who think that their ship has sailed because they are 35, 40, 50 or 60. I was once one of those women.
When I woke up at the age of 40, started Eating Clean and training regularly, my life started to improve almost immediately. This was because I had found something that really fired me up and got me excited about living. And thats my advice to any and all of those women who think its too late to change: what you need to do is find the thing that really makes you hum and tick. By choosing to eat healthfully and get active you are changing your lifestyle. By getting out there and doing, you are opening doors to new experiences and opportunities to find new passions.
I firmly believe there is no best-before date on health and fitness. Dont resign yourself to a life of curlers, crutches, pills and slippers -- just get out there! Life can be really rewarding if you find that purpose. Its never too late to become a better you.