By David Kern, M.D.
Valentine’s Day is one of the best days of the year on planet Earth, bringing us right back to the heart of the matter: Love! Here are a few ways to help this year’s affection marathon be the best ever, with the added benefit of you staying on track with your health-and-wellness goals morning, noon, and night.
Morning: Whip up a yummy red, white, and pink breakfast at 200 calories per serving. Put the kids to work and have them serve up sunrise like never before (with assistance as needed, of course!) Enjoy egg whites with tomatoes and/or red pepper, half of your strawberry supply (save some for later) and pink grapefruit juice. Add your favorite seasonings and, if you’re ready to spice things up first thing in the morning, don’t forget the hot sauce. Red hot and raring to go.
Noon: Reward the kids for their efforts and include them in the Valentine’s fun. Peel off the petals from a dozen roses purchased earlier in the week and decorate your home with the fragrance and visuals that will keep you in loving spirits for the rest of the day. Then prepare the rest of the strawberries with dark chocolate for later. (See ‘Night’ below 😉 Melt, dip, cool and devour! A little pot for the little people is perfect for melting the chocolate. And, of course, your little angels will need to check for quality control at least once, twice or maybe more to make sure that the delectables are fit for lovers’ consumption. After lunch, in the afternoon, or after dinner, the munchkins will surely look forward to this part of the day.
Night: Before or after dinner, sit down with the whole family to a nice warm cup of hot tea or cider and be sure to add red cinnamon, preferably of the Ceylon variety which can be found in health food stores and online. An antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic agent, cinnamon is good for our cardiovascular and nervous systems. Increased insulin sensitivity translates to improved weight loss and management.
Once the sun goes down and the kids are asleep, settle in for the romance you’ve been waiting for all day. Enjoy a bottle of your favorite red wine, red grapes, and dark chocolate-covered strawberries (instead of milk chocolate) as you curl up under a blanket, enjoying an apropos movie of your choice to warm the heart. Chocolate on strawberries helps you derive just as much chocolate pleasure with a lot fewer calories. Be sure to purchase organic dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa and reap the following benefits:
- increased blood to the heart and brain; dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol levels and possibly ward off tooth decay
- dark chocolate contains welcome amounts of magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, fiber, antioxidants and theobromine (which is much better for us than caffeine)
- it can reduce prostaglandin and cortisol levels, and help you release endorphins
- improved skin quality and possible protection from the sun
- reduced stress, improved mood, a boost in energy and, if you happen to be on your period, decreased cramps with relaxed muscles and reduced pain
Dr. David Kern is a licensed, board-certified physician with 15 years of expert training in positive reinforcement, sports and exercise nutrition, motivation, change psychology, eating disorders, negative self-image and negative self-talk. Combining knowledge and resources, Dr. Kern has successfully developed HealthyTurtle’s effective method for permanent behavior and lifestyle modification. Find out more at www.