Monday, February 8, 2010

EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival

I hope everyone had an excellent weekend! Mine was ok, but unexpectedly cut short when I was called in to work today.

I am on an etsy street team, etsy bloggers. I am participating in a blog Carnival hosted by FoxyGKnits. This is my first one, so I hope I do it correctly!

Here are a few Beautiful items from her store:

You may click on the picture to go to either listing in her store.

These are the themes:
1) February 14th is Valentine's Day. What is your best childhood memory of Valentine's Day or What childhood tradition do you now carry out with your children.
2) February is Heart Health Month. What is your best heart healthy recipe. What do you do to stay heart healthy. How do you promote heart health?

This is a difficult choice because I do many things that keep my heart healthy, but valentines day sounds like more fun... the only problem is that I don't really remember much from my childhood. I remember that my mom would give my brothers and I valentines, but that is hardly an exciting memory and Autumn is too young to be given a box of chocolates :)

(my own sketch of a heart)

I think I will go with heart health.

There are a lot of things you can do to improve your heart health, and fortunately they are things that are good for your whole body, they will not only help keep your heart healthy, which is especially important if heart disease runs in your family as it does mine.

No real surprise, one very important thing that everyone can do to have a healthy heart is QUIT smoking, or never start. I can not say this is something I do well. I smoked before autumn was born and I quit during my pregnancy. I do not really smoke anymore, or I am not addicted any more so I have no real excuse to do it. Every now and then I will smoke. It is a very bad habit, it is bad for me, and I do not want my daughter to grow up thinking it is OK.
Another thing that is very good for your heart is Aerobic exercise. Exercise is where I am a viking :)
I was on a short mandatory break from exercise last week after having my gall bladder removed, and oh boy am I glad to be back in action. My routine is still restricted for a little while, but this is what it usually looks like:
Sunday: roller derby practice (1/2 hour of off skates circuit training, 2 hours skating) and I usually bike to and from practice (about 12 mi round trip)
Monday: off or very light workout
Tuesday: Bike to and from work (7mi round trip) Roller derby practice (2 hours skating)

Wednesday: Bike to and from work, Roller Derby Scrimmage

Thursday: Bike to and From work, Roller derby practice (2 hours skating)

Friday: Bike to and from work, climbing at the rock gym (about 2 hours)
Saturday: Roller derby practice (2 hours skating) , usually bike to that one (only about 8 mi)

I also really enjoy hiking, which I don't have time for right now and a few other random activities. When I was young I never considered myself to be athletic, and spent most of my life somewhat sedentary. I became active when I started playing roller derby and after that I discovered many other activities I really enjoy! Before I had Autumn I considered myself to be highly athletic and in very good shape. I highly recommend roller derby to anyone who is looking for a fun sport to get fit and meet awesome women! (or like me, you could meet your husband ;) )

This is very possibly much more than many people are willing to do, but exercise really is important in so many ways! Walking for 30 min to 1 hour a day at a pace that causes you to perspire and increases your heart rate is enough to strengthen your heart, help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and make you feel wonderful! For so many people the hard part is motivation, so work out with a friend so that you are encouraging each other and making each other accountable. Plus, it is more fun to walk, bike, run or even go to a gym with friend.

Finally a healthy diet high in lean proteins and fiber and low in fat will do wonders for your health. In our family we make sure all meals include a starch/grain, a protein, and a meat, usually lean. Whole grains are great too, for example, you can use whole grains pasta instead of regular pasta.

For example, for dinner tonight we are having baked chicken, rice and a really yummy veggie mix we got at trader Joe's. Fill half your plate with veggies 1/4 with meat and 1/4 your starch. If you need help making your portions smaller it helps sometimes to use smaller plates. You can make this meal even healthier by using brown rice or a whole grain mixture (trader Joe's also has a few of these) Also, though my husband is not a fan of it, we try to have one vegetarian meal a week. It is also good to mix things up, don't eat the same thing all of the time. I don't eat pork so we have fish one meal a week, chicken 2-3 meals a week, vegetarian protein like beans once a week and lean beef once a week. Be careful with soy, some of it actually keeps your body from absorbing protein, and you also need more vitamin D if you are eating soy. Look for soy products that are "whole soy". It is just as important to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and grains. Good soy products are a great way to lower cholesterol which is great for your heart! I also just read today that eating family dinners is a great way to reduce chances of child obesity (which leads to adult obesity).

(this is my favorite vegetarian meal: portobello mushrooms, onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil with a little liquid smoke and soy sauce, mix in whole grain pene, black beans and fresh broccoli. This meal would be vegan EXCEPT that I garnish it with Parmesan cheese)

Breakfast is a great way to get a good dose of fiber. A really delicious cereal that Adam and I recently discovered is Kashi Island Vanilla shredded wheat. It has 24% of your daily fiber and if it is paired with skim milk it is a very low fat meal. Adding a piece of fruit will make it complete.
I think lunch can be challenging for working people. The best way to combat the temptation of really unhealthy fast food is to bring your own lunch. You totally have time to do that, especially if you are already making lunch for your kids (packing a healthy lunch for your children is an excellent way to help them learn nutrition) it is pretty easy to make yourself a lunch too. You will also save some money, and who cant use a little extra money these days. Good options for lunch would be: a sandwich on whole grain bread with veggies (hold the mayo, it is packed with fat and cholesterol) and some yogurt. Also, if you want a hot lunch Healthy Choice makes these really wonderful, balanced, low calorie meals that are very filling, though they could use a little less sodium.

These are all pretty basic things that will make your whole body healthier, including your heart. These are guidelines that I follow and have been for the past 4+ years. I was not raised with these habits, I had to learn them myself (with some help from my husband) , but am much happier and healthier now that I do. You would think I would be thin, but I guess that is why I am going to the DR regularly.

here are some other ways to reduce your risk of heart disease(from

For more great info on heart health here are some links:


  1. I love the red scarf shown here!

    Yay for you eating healthy! With Roller Derby as an activity I know you are in good shape! I hope you are healing nicely from your surgery.

    I believe Autumn will grow to be a healthy young woman! She sees her Mom being active. And her Dad too! Making knives is not easy work!

    Have a wonderful Tuesday!

  2. Hey Erica, what an awesome blog post :)

    Great info.

    I started back at the gym about 9 months ago after an 8 year break, (just not enough time and energy with 3 kids around) I LOVE weight training, always have, I missed it sooo much :)

    I agree with Christie, Autumn will grow to be a super healthy fit kid because you and Adam are actively encouraging a healthy life style:)

    So glad you are healing well :)

    Have a wonderful Day, regards, T.

  3. Fantastic and informative post! I have taken a couple years off from excecise but started back about 4 months ago. It is amazing how this one simple change in my routine has helped my energy levels, my moods, and my focus. Sometimes it is hard to work excercise into my day, with 4 children and my being in college, but it is so worth it.

    Wishing you a quick and complete recovery!

  4. Some great tips here! Thanks for sharing them.