Archive for 'Nutrition'

“5 years ago, August 23, 2007, is the day I had my open-heart surgery. I remember as if it were yesterday. More healthy, healing, positive energy from family and friends was sent my way that day than anyone ever deserved. I would imagine all survivors can relate to how I feel. I’m more alive today than I’ve ever been. So many blessings and good fortune have come my way.  Everyday, I make it my goal to give back to others. Each day presents new challenges and obstacles but I do my best. Never take life or good health for granted. Everyday is the greatest day of my life.” I love you TT.” – Keith

What’s your favorite dark chocolate? Dark Chocolate’s been seen as a much “Heart Healthier” choice than light or milk chocolates.  I love dark chocolates. I’m hoping in my travels I’ll get my chance to try different dark chocolates from around the world.

Why Heart Healthy? Dark chocolate contains flavonoids. What are Flavonoids? Flavonoids by definition help protect plants by shielding and masking them from environmental toxins and helping repair damage. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.  We’ve all heard the word Antioxidant.  It seems it’s become a buzzword for heart healthy eating.  Antioxidants seem to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing and from environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. I hate smoking and second hand smoke! When the body lacks adequate levels of antioxidants, damage from free radicals occurs and leads to increases in LDL (“bad)-cholesterol oxidation (oxidized LDL-cholesterol hurts the arteries) and plaque formation on the walls of the arteries.

Now, before we all go out and substitute a big dark chocolate candy bar for fresh broccoli, remember that “Moderation” is the key.  Small amounts, a square if you will, should do the trick. Dark chocolate tends to be high in calories.

I’m still waiting for the fat free, calorie free dark chocolate bar:) – Keith

I’ve just relocated to Denver Colorado.  The “Mile High” City as its known.  An interesting and beautiful city I must say.  It seems everywhere I go I see walking paths and parks.  Recreation seems to abound here.  Everyone I speak to around the country just loves Denver.  I’ve only heard positive things about this great city.

Someone has taken a special place in my Heart and Soul and I’m looking forward to sharing dreams and opportunities with someone who has already given me so much without ever asking for anything in return.  To be able to love someone and more importantly accept love in return is a major milestone for me. I’m so much in Love:) I will certainly share and blog more about this as time goes by.

I still have my home in Vegas and Maryland but I’ve never been more excited about starting a new chapter in my life.  Being a Co-Chair of the Las Vegas Heart Walk will bring me back to Vegas throughout the year. I will continue my passionate advocacy work with the American Heart Association.

Colorado is ranked #1 as the least obese state with an adult obesity rate of 19.8{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7}. It is currently the only state under 20{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7}.  This is an interesting statistic in that 20 years ago this number would have been ranked the worst state.  What does this mean to me?  Colorado, as healthy as it projects itself, must ramp up its efforts to prevent the catastrophic numbers that await its youth and adult population that has besieged the country.  My mission of Awareness, Prevention, and Education along with Action seem to be the only way to curb the tide of what awaits this great state if nothing is done.

Cardiovascular Disease doesn’t care about statistics or some pie chart to tell individuals where it will strike.  The only force field against CVD we have as individuals is to eat heart healthy and get regular physical exercise. Regular check ups are equally important.

I’ll keep everyone posted but I’m ready to hit the ground running here. is coming soon to Denver and the Nation:)  – Keith

Nevada Senate Bill SB230, a bill that would require school districts to develop a policy to ban foods containing trans fat from being provided in schools, is now scheduled to be heard on Monday at 3:15pm in the Assembly Education Committee.  I will be testifying again in support of this legislation.
As many of you are well aware, trans fat is a double threat to our cardiovascular health because it has been shown to both lower our good cholesterol (HDL) and raise our bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as cause arterial inflammation.
Schools should be places where we strive to make available the healthiest foods possible, and with plenty of alternative oils that can now be used, we should not be providing food to our kids that contains trans fat.
•       Consumption of trans fat (trans fatty acids) are very harmful to our health.  Consumption of trans fat raises your ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels.  It also causes or is a contributor to heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, hardening and clogging of the arteries, etc.
•       SB230 requires school districts to develop a policy to ban foods with trans fat from being provided to students at schools and would apply to school sanctioned programs and athletic events, etc.
•       Banning trans fat does not mean banning ‘junk’ food.  Foods of minimal nutritional value are regularly made without trans fat.  Items such as crackers, pizza, pastries, etc. would still be allowed to be served/purchased at schools.
•       Over the past decade many food manufactures have reformulated many of their products to eliminate trans fat by using alternative oils that are readily available.  Consumers have demanded trans fat free products are they are now widely available.  This will minimize any burden to schools.
•       Schools should be places where we strive to serve our children the healthiest food possible.
Thanks, Keith

Fruity Prayers?

Every time I go to the store I just pray I can come across some great fruit.

I always look for fruit that’s Ripe, Fresh, Tasty, Full of Flavor, and Reasonably Priced.  I know, We All Hope For This, Right?

This week’s find happened to be Strawberries.  I found them at Whole Foods this week in my scavenger hunt for good fruit.

Whole Foods tends to be more expensive, but sometimes I find a bargain.

What’s the best fruit you’ve had this week? Do you have a great farmers market? – Keith

Today was a blast… of Water.

The Jump For Joy Foundation had another camp today.  I love these camps.

Fighting the rising Childhood Obesity Epidemic by getting kids physically active is “Camp Jumps” primary mission.  Arming the parents with the knowledge they need to help their children eat healthier and stay active is another mission.

Bill gave another outstanding nutrition class to the parents.  Anthony and Branden worked tirelessly to keep the kids moving.  The many volunteers tried to keep up with the kids and always had a smile on their face.

Today’s theme: Firefighters Boot Camp.

Firefighters from The Clark County Fire Department came to the camp today in full gear.  They used fire hoses, relays, and fitness drills to get all the kids involved in fitness.   To have these Hero’s come and work with the kids was Amazing and Inspiring.

The firefighters explained the importance of staying fit and eating healthier foods to stay in shape with the kids.

The highlight came at the end of camp when everyone went outside and saw a Paramedic Ambulance, a Huge Fire Truck and an even Bigger Ladder Truck.
The firemen repositioned the Ladder truck, raised the ladder, had a very brave firefighter scale 6 stories in the air and turn on the fire hose cannon.  At 800 gallons per minute this site was awesome.

They also let the kids grab hold and discharge a fire hose and spray the parking lot.

All I could say was “WOW”.

The Jump For Joy Foundation is doing excellent work.

Visit their website and learn more.  Click Here “”

Have a Heart Healthy Day and Keep Moving America. – Keith

On Friday, April 1, I was invited to tour the Children’s Heart Center of Nevada.

This place was pretty incredible to say the least. The Children’s Heart Center is Nevada’s largest pediatric cardiology practice. The surgeons and cardiologists of this practice have outstanding reputations.

To say this was a compassionate and outstanding medical practice that gave back to the community far more than they received would be an understatement.

I knew this was a special place when I entered the waiting room where patients sign in to see the doctor. There were 3 cubicles with a receptionist behind each counter.  Every child patient and parent was greeted with a warm smile.  Each time the nurse came out to call on a patient, they smiled when calling the persons name. I’ve spoken and written a lot about customer service in a medical environment and ways medical staff can make a patient feel better.  This experience was at the top of my list for good examples.

Steve Eisen, the Chief Executive Officer showed me the practice with a personal tour and we focused on the work the Heart Center is doing for at-risk obese children.  They have a continuing 12-week program that children up to 18 can enroll in and learn and participate in healthy lifestyle choices and fitness programs.

When the children enter the program they meet with a Registered Dietician, an Exercise Physiologist, and a Clinical Psychologist. The center keeps the parents involved as well. This type of intervention cannot only save lives but help children live their lives.

In the Heart Disease and Cardiovascular area, children without the ability to pay are taken care of by the practice.  Their policy is to never turn away a child that needs cardiac care because of financial issues, thus A Childs Heart is Never Left Behind.

They work closely with the Children’s Heart Foundation  of Nevada as well.

I was able to spend time with their lead Exercise Physiologist, Lorie.  She’s an exercise program and cardiac rehabilitation specialist for children. The passion and enthusiasm for what she does was so evident.

What a great way to have spent an afternoon.  I learned so much.

My Heartfelt Thanks go out to the entire friendly staff of The Children’s Heart Center.

The Children’s Heart Center in Nevada is a very, very special place. – Keith

With National Nutrition Month in full swing it seems like the perfect time to get reacquainted with the Nutrition Facts on food labels.

The FDA has a very easy to read Food Label fact sheet.

Click here for Food Label info from the (USFDA) Food and Drug Administration

In recent years I’ve become obsessed with reading food labels.

I simply can’t tell you how many items I pick up in a grocery store, read the label, and put back on the shelf.

When you learn to read labels, it only takes a split second to identify 90{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7} or more of unhealthy foods and ingredients.

The two primary ingredients that I Zoom In and Zoom Out on are Saturated fat and Sodium.  If these two items are out of whack, the item goes back on the shelf.  Saturated fat and Trans fats are not healthy fats.

The key with Total fat in a product is the make up of the fat.  There are typically 4 possibilities including: Saturated Fat, Trans fat, Mono-unsaturated and Poly-unsaturated fats.  In general, the latter of the two being primarily healthy fats.

Make no mistake that our bodies need fats to survive but it’s the type of fats that are either heart healthy or heart destroying.

The goal with the healthy fats is to consume and use them in moderation because of their high caloric content.

If an item has ANY Trans fats put it back on the shelf immediately.

Everything has importance on a food label. Take a close look at sugars, carbohydrates, dietary fibers and protein.  Depending on what your nutritional and dietary goals are you’ll pick up certain foods with higher concentrations of certain ingredients.

Learn to read food labels and Learn to Live – Keith

One of the hottest legislative issues coming up in many states is the “Ban” or elimination of trans fats in foods in the school systems and restaurants.

Some states and cities have already paved the way to ban this deadly type of fat.

I asked at a recent advocacy event, “Why are we even having this discussion about trans fats?” I was just a little frustrated.

What makes it more interesting is that trans fats can be substituted in most cases with healthier oil alternatives.  I have a chef in the family and know how creative he can get to make food taste good and be healthy.

Trans fats are directly related to cardiovascular disease.  Trans fats are the worst kind of fats for our bodies to ingest.  Trans fat raises your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol.

Trans fats were created to give food a longer shelf life. Adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation creates Trans fat.  It made the oil thicker and more solid.  Think about what that does to your arteries, Yuck!

With obesity levels sky high along with elevated risk factors like blood pressure, diabetes, and higher cholesterol, we can’t afford not to lobby our legislatures to take action.

PTA’s around the country should be at the forefront of eliminating trans fats from their schools.

There are many bakeries popping up that don’t use trans fats in their products.  The next time you go to the store read the label.  If you’re unsure, ask if the product contains trans fats.  Look for the words “partially hydrogenated” vegetable oil or shortening.  Those are often code words for trans fats.Soon,

I hope the day will come where trans fats are simply an entry about poor nutrition in our history books. – Keith

March is National Nutrition Month.
This month we should raise our awareness and learn more about heart healthy nutrition.
The choices we make directly impact our health. Why not make healthier food choices?
Recently, I received my Specialist in Fitness Nutrition (SFN) certificate. I learned so much about nutrition and not only how eating properly energizes the body but what happens when our bodies fall out of balance with poor nutrition.
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition campaign sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association. The ADA website serves as an excellent resource for nutritional information.
The ADA and I agree that a variety of foods rich in color provide the greatest range of minerals and nutrients. This year they’ve launched an “Eat Right with Color.” Campaign.
The idea here is to have a variety of color on your plate.
I say, think Veggies and color!
The greater variety of colors the larger the variety of vitamins and minerals.
I know that each one of us and every child loves to see a rainbow. Isn’t it good luck? Have fun and create a rainbow on your plate. Tell your kids that they need to “Eat The Rainbow”.
Let them help you write a food list or shop for food that creates a rainbow on their plate. I guarantee they’ll have fun with it… and eat it. – Keith

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month