Healthy Living

February Is All About HEART (+ Avocado Mousse Recipe!)

heart

February, the shortest month of the year could well be the most important month of the year. It’s about our heart. Lovers share Valentine’s Day. Awareness about Heart Disease is raised. Black History Month is observed nationally. And, it’s President’s Day. For a twenty eight day month (29 during Leap Year), there’s a lot going on.

Let’s start with Valentine’s Day, the day recognized for love between two people. I believe in love. I was proposed to on Valentine’s Day along with many other women. February is a very sexually intimate month. Look at November: lots of babies. I know more November birthday’s, mine included, than any other month. I’m all in on it. But, there’s a lot of people out there who don’t have a significant other to share Cupid’s arrow with. I’d like to suggest expanding Valentine’s Day. I would like to see it include all relationships that share mutual respect, kindness, and emotional intimacy. Especially, during this time in American history. Now more than ever, we need to share love. Random acts of kindness and expressions of love should be shared on all days. When you let your beautiful soul shine through, even if it’s only for a moment, a smile, it’s an amazingly uplifting experience. This year, and going forward, when you’re buying chocolates, flowers, having dinner, be sure to share love with random acts even to people you pass along the way. A warm smile, holding the door for someone, small things can warm a perfect stranger… and you.

February is also American Heart Month. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a 30% decline in overall cardiovascular diseases from 2000-2012. As great as that is, heart disease is the leading cause of death. That’s a staggering statistic: heart disease is down 30% and it’s still the #1 cause of death in the U.S. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be. The risk factors: obesity, high blood pressure, unhealthy diets, and inactive lifestyles are all controllable through daily, sustainable changes in eating habits and lifestyle. These risk factors improve with smart, specific, and achievable, action steps. Love yourself, and your family/friends, with all your heart by giving yourself the gift of good health. I know you can do this.

You might wonder why Black History Month is observed in February? It’s because it coincides with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (2/12) and Fredrick Douglass’ birthday (2/14). Fredrick Douglass was a national leader of the abolitionist movement, orator, writer, and statesmen. He believed in equality of all people: black, women, Native American, and immigrants. Black communities have been celebrating these two birthdays together since the 19th century. There are those that dispute the observance of Black History month feeling it’s part of American History. Historian Carter G. Woodsen views it another way. He contends teaching black history is essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the race within a broader society. “If race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” He uses the example of American Indians … no recorded history and still fighting for their land. We all need to embrace and observe Black History with heart and hope that one day, all the divisiveness still evident in our country will resolved.

It was George Washington’s birthday (2/22) that marked the first recognized “President’s Day in 1800. After his death in 1799, his birthday was chosen as a day of remembrance. It wasn’t until the late 1870’s that Washington’s birthday was signed into law as a federal holiday. At first only the District of Columbia recognized it, but by 1885, Washington’s birthday joined four other nationally recognized bank holidays: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving. George Washington’s birthday was the first to celebrate the life of an individual American. The second, and only other American life signed into law to celebrate their contributions to the United States, is Martin Luther King in 1983. Unfortunately, today we look at President’s Day less as an observance of the work our forefathers did building the U.S., and more as a three day weekend, spring break, and shopping deals. We need to acknowledge our history and those whose achievements have given us the liberties we hold dear.

Yes, February and it’s twenty eight, or twenty nine days gives us a lot to think about. We need to think deeper than the surface than we tend to do. We need to think and feel with heart, love, respect, kindness, equality, gratitude, and good health to all!

avo mousse
Ingredients:
2 medium ripe avocados
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla
5 Medjool dates, pitted & chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk, or nut milk
Pinch of sea salt
Toppings: coconut flakes, berries, grated dark chocolate

Instructions:
1. Soak dates in warm water for 10-30 mins before
2. Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender
3. Adjust to taste (continue scraping sides & achieve consistency)
4. Top & ENJOY!

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