Friday, April 13, 2018

'Tis the Season to Reflect, Plan, and Volunteer!


Lessons of The Heart….

February is the month of love. The one date most people circle and prepare for, is February 14th - Valentine’s Day. It is estimated that $18.2 billion is spent just for Valentine’s Day, a day when love is typically depicted by a heart. The heart is significant as it is a vital piece of our anatomy. A heart is defined as a hollow, muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation. Valentine’s Day is not the only day in February that is dedicated to the heart.

February was also Heart Health Month.  February 3, Wear RED Day raises awareness of women's heart health. What is heart disease and why is that important? Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect the overall health of your heart. The term "heart disease" is often used interchangeably with the term "cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. Did you carry forward from February a plan to protect your own heart health?  It's not too late to make healthy choices for now and the future.

When I reflect, I see that my once active lifestyle has ended and a new, sedentary lifestyle has begun. I see that food choices made when I was in my twenties no longer work for me in my forties. I see that I make time for almost everything except daily exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block with the dog. Sound familiar? You are not alone. As a financial aid community we assist one another immediately with the ever changing rules and regulations of financial aid. I think it is time that we use that same energy to promote a healthy lifestyle in our offices and our financial aid community.

Many forms of heart disease can be prevented with healthy life style choices. Take the time to create a group at work. Groups can keep each other accountable. Start a walk, run, or bike after work club. Take one day each month to showcase heart healthy recipes at an office breakfast or luncheon. To help get you started, here's a heart healthy breakfast idea that can prepared at home and taken on the go.

Banana Nut Baked Oatmeal

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal boasts the delicious flavor of banana bread, but it's made with wholesome oats, pecans, and coconut oil for a healthy, filling breakfast!
½ cup pecans, chopped (plus additional for garnish)
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large or 3 medium bananas)
3/4 cup milk (or almond milk, or another dairy-free milk)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, melted and slightly cooled 
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray an 8-inch square baking dish.  Spread chopped pecans on an ungreased baking sheet and toast for 4 to 6 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Set aside to cool on baking sheet.  Add the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the milk, banana, egg, oil, and vanilla. Slowly pour in the melted syrup, whisking constantly.  Add the oat mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer to the greased baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle the toasted nuts on top of the baked oatmeal and cool slightly before serving.  Yields 6 servings

Take a moment and verify that you are moving forward with a healthy heart.  Create a transcript of the activities and healthy choices that you are making.  Award yourself after making healthy lifestyle changes.  Chose not to return back to your old ways, as they will no longer be satisfactory.

Get involved and get active!

Sean Johnson

SASFAA Global Issues Committee
FASFAA Global Issues Chair