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Matters of the Heart

02/01/2008 - Valentine's Day – chocolate, cards, chocolate, flowers, chocolate, love, chocolate, kisses, chocolate, gifts, chocolate. Ah, yes, the time of year when we express our love for and our devotion to, chocolate (and, maybe for each other, too).

The matters of the heart – the time to say what your heart feels. Unless your heart doesn't feel so good. Have you checked it lately?

Averaging 72 beats per minute, the heart is expected to beat non-stop from the day we arrive to the day we leave this life. If you have plans to live to at least 80 years old, your heart will beat more than 3 BILLION times (give or take). Here are some reminders to help stay alive.

Eat healthy and in moderation. Recent reports state that the average American is 25+ pounds overweight and that obesity has reached "epidemic proportions." Easy to do when everything we eat and drink is over-sized, including the now prevalent all-you-can-eat buffets. After all, we have to get our money's worth, right?.

Drink 48-60 ounces of water each day. "Supersize" your water at a meal with a couple other drinks throughout the day, preferably non-carbonated and low caffeine.

Eat more fruit. Make a list of the types of fruit you like and buy them. The natural sugars along with the vitamins and other nutrients are processed in your system better than all the chemically-enriched snack foods. Read the labels on what you are eating. Don't worry about counting the calories, just read the chemical list. That should slow you down.

Eat more vegetables. No, pork rinds are not vegetables. Again, list ones you like and buy them. Get creative in how you prepare them. Well, not too creative. Vegetables cooked in lard or bacon grease is not what I had in mind.

Exercise. Yeah, right! If you have a regimented exercise program, that's great. If you don't, pick and do something, even if it's only a few minutes each day. Keeping your metabolism up is critical to maintaining weight without having to starve and diet. This in conjunction with eating healthy will keep you from ever having to diet.

Quit smoking. Tar and nicotine messes with your arteries and oxygen levels. Oxygen goes down, heart muscle risk goes up. And your lungs scream for clean air. Did you know that there are over 25 chemicals on the EPA's hazardous substance list that you inhale simply by smoking? That can't be good!

Finally, go easy on that Valentine chocolate. Although chocolate has a chemical to decrease depression, don't forget to balance that with SMALL portions.

It's all about quality of life and, in some cases, life itself. Let's work together on reaching and exceeding that 3 billion – no, not hamburgers, stay with me here. It's always easier when everybody's in it together. And, we ALL need to be in it together. My odd shape is not related to malnourishment bloat! I doubt yours is, either. So focus on some plain, common sense. Keep healthy – keep alive!

Randy DeVaul is an internationally published writer and author with 25 years in safety and emergency response services. He has authored three workplace safety books and his next, Being Safe At Home: Surviving the Hazards of Living in Your Home, is scheduled to be released soon. Comments welcome at safetypro@roadrunner.com.

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