Valentine's Day is right around the corner (...oh wait, it's today!) I know, I know....it's a holiday invented by the greeting card companies (although technically, the first St. Valentine’s Day was celebrated in the 5th century and linked to love by the poet Chaucer in the Middle Ages). Either way, I suggest making a date with your heart. And I'm not talking metaphorically.
February is Heart Month, and what better way to celebrate than by showing your heart some love? By making a commitment to a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Plus, by keeping the extra weight off and managing stress, you'll reduce your risk for a heart attack and stroke.
The good news is, you can accomplish your health goals without expensive gym memberships or trendy diets:
Take a 30-minute walk at lunch.
Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Reduce your stress with yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
Need a hand getting started? Contact your primary care physician or cardiologist who can help assess your risk for heart disease through a routine exam and bloodwork. They'll even set you up with a diet and exercise plan. Most doctors offer both telehealth and in-person visits.
To help jump-start your Valentine’s Day, here is a heart-healthy dessert that is perfect for date night or riding solo!
Raw Chocolate Pie
[paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan]
1 cup coconut cream ( l use: Native Forest brand which is organic and has no gums or fillers )
½ cup (about 8) soft, pitted Medjool dates ( once again, I use: Date Lady brand which you can get here)
3 ounces dark chocolate, melted ( I use: HU Kitchen brand - Dark Chocolate Gems )
¼ cup melted coconut oil ( I use: Dr. Bronner's unrefined organic brand)
2 tsp vanilla extract ( I use: Simply Organic brand )
For the crust, puree the walnuts, dates, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor, for about 20 seconds or until very fine.
Press crust mixture across the bottom and halfway up the sides of a glass pie dish. Clean out the food processor.
In a small saucepan, heat the coconut cream just slightly (or you can just microwave it for about 45 seconds in a glass measuring cup).
In the clean the food processor, add the heated coconut cream, dates, chocolate, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, then puree for 1 minute or until the mixture is completely smooth and uniformly dark.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust and refrigerate until set.
For extra deliciousness, top each slice with a little whipped coconut cream.