I am a Brand Ambassador for Mazola Corn Oil®. I have been compensated for this post. All opinions are mine alone.
A delicious medley of roasted Winter Vegetables tossed in a Balsamic Vinaigrette is perfect for dinner on a cold night.
Today, February 1st, is the start of Heart Health Month. A few years ago, I would have briefly thought about heart health and moved on. Boy, oh boy, do I feel stupid about that! Why do we always think we and our loved ones are indestructible? One morning April 2012, that all changed. My 45-year-old husband had a heart attack. In some ways, it is still hard for me to fathom. I knew all week-long that I planned to write about his heart attack, and I have avoided it. It has been four years, but the impact is ever lasting. We are so lucky. He is still with us and doing so well; but every time I think about it I can feel the fear and stress. I feel my stomach tighten, my adrenaline pump through my body and the tears form in my eyes. If it can happen to us, it can happen to you.
The night before his heart attack, we had been out for a date night and had a great time. Everything seemed fine. My husband woke up at 4am and was sweating profusely, he felt nauseous and had some tightness in his chest. He thought he over ate and was experiencing heart burn. He called to me from the bathroom and asked me to bring him a wet towel. I also dismissed it as heart burn. He decided to work from home that day, and I took our 4-year-old daughter to a birthday party. He said he still wasn’t feeling well, so he might go to the doctor. I was thinking the flu or something like that.
While at the birthday party, he calls me. I stepped outside to take the call. He told me he was at his doctor’s office, and he needed to go to the emergency room because he had a heart attack. I was 45 minutes away. The fear was instantaneous. I could hardly breathe and was trying desperately to keep it together. There was no way I could get there quickly enough to take him, so he called a good friend to take him. I called my Mom and all I remember shakily saying is that I needed them to meet me at my house NOW. The emotion in my voice must have been strong and told my Mom something was seriously wrong. She replied in a shaky voice “Right now?” “Yes” I said. “It’s Neville”. Then I hung up. I didn’t even explain.
I tried my best to pull myself together. I wanted to be calm for my daughter. On the inside, I was screaming, but trying very hard to appear normal and calm on the inside. I came in and told my daughter we had to leave right away. My friend could tell something was wrong and suggested I sit down for a little bit. I tried in as few words as possible to say that we needed to go right now. I didn’t trust myself to speak the words “My husband just had a heart attack.” I just could not do it and keep my composure.
The next day my husband went in for an angiogram. Now a days, this is a standard procedure, but my mother in law had died during one 12 years earlier. I remember trying to keep calm as I had to call family. His poor Godmother, as soon as she answered the phone, I started to cry. I tried to pull myself together quickly. I knew once I got the words out, I would be calmer. It is just the intensity of having to say “My husband has had a heart attack.” It makes it all too real. Just like answering questions at the hospital like “Does your husband have a will, does he have a living will?”. Suddenly you have to face up to the fact that you could be a widow and your child could lose her father. I could not ignore those possibilities while also trying to stay positive and realize chances were very good that he would be fine.
Those first few nights while he was in the hospital, I can remember being in bed by myself and really thinking about it; telling myself that even if the worst happened, I could not fall apart. I could not give up on life. I had to think about a way to make things right for my daughter. I wasn’t trying to dwell or think negatively, I am the kind of person that needs to be prepared for any outcome. I felt like I needed to picture us going on than push it aside and put all my strength into making sure he was fine.
For some, life goes back to normal fairly quickly after an angiogram. It wasn’t that why for us. He continued to have a lot of problems. We eventually changed doctors who determined my husband needed a mitro valve replacement. I think that is a story best saved for another day. In some ways, this was much worse for me than the experience with his original heart attack.
On a positive note, four years later life is good! My husband is healthy and his heart is doing well. Life has gotten back to normal or maybe it is a new normal. His heart attack is always in the back of my mind, but I no longer fear the phone ringing. We have changed our eating habits to further be in line with the American Heart Association’s guidelines. We do use Mazola® Corn oil. It is a heart healthier option than many other, high saturated fat alternatives.
My husband’s heart problems are genetic. He does have high cholesterol. Corn oil actually has more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils, 4 times more than olive oil and 40% more than canola oil. Just by making a few healthy changes like this, you can eat much healthier. Corn oil also has a high smoke point and a neutral taste. You can stir fry with it, grill or even bake. Did you see my Apple Galette recipe where I used Mazola® corn oil in the crust? So good!
Please spend a moment to really think about what Heart Health means. It can easily happen to you or your loved ones. Make some easy changes in your diet now to promote heart health. You can find lots of heart healthy recipes from Mazola® in their Heart Health Library. I, personally, cannot wait to make the Pork Chops al Pastor recipe on their site. Little changes now can make a big difference.
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Happy Healthy Eating,