Ring in the New Year with Heart Healthy Habits


Happy New Year! Start the new year with a plan to stay heart healthy. Not sure where to start? These heart healthy New Year’s resolutions will keep you on the right track all year long.



Drink More Water

A recent National Institute of Health study indicated that a diet with excess sugar can put extra stress on the heart’s tissue, making it easier for damage to occur. Staying hydrated often keeps you from drinking calorie and sugar loaded pop. Also, drinking your calories makes you feel less satisfied than if you ate them.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Carry a refillable water bottle and use it.
  • If you are a regular pop drinker, replace one or two sugary drinks with water each week until you cut almost all high-calorie drinks from your diet.
  • Adding slices of cucumber, strawberry, lemon or orange will change the flavor of your water adding variety.

Read more in our April 2018 blog Reducing Sugar Sugary Drinks


Quit Smoking

Now is the best time to kick the habit of smoking. Smoking increases your risk of cancer and heart disease.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Write down why you want to quit smoking and look at it every time you feel like you want to smoke.
  • Join a support group.
  • Create your own quit plan.

These links offer great tips for finally kicking the habit


Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are all high in things like fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eating more fruit and vegetables will provide you with all the nutrients you need while cutting your calories. Limiting calories helps to control weight, which reduces the likelihood of developing heart disease, hypertension and heart failure.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Keep your kitchen filled with fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits and veggies.
  • Canned fruits and vegetables should be rinsed off as they often contain extra salt and sugar.
  • Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables each meal.
  • Compare food labels when buying anything except fresh produce. There can be hidden ingredients in some products
  • Experiment with steaming, grilling, sautéing, roasting, baking and microwaving your veggies as these are the healthiest ways to cook them.

Read more on season fruit and product in our Blog Heart Healthy with Seasonal Produce from August 2019.


Manage Your Stress

Stress causes a large amount of physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, headaches, tight muscles and forgetfulness. Many people resort to eating, drinking alcohol, not sleeping and overworking themselves to try and cope. Stress can take a toll on your body as a whole, and on your heart.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Use positive self-talk every day to control stress with phrases like “I can do this” or “I know how to deal with this”.
  • In times of extreme stress, take a moment before you react. Count to 10, take four or five deep breaths, walk away or go for a walk.
  • Do one thing you enjoy every day.


Eat Out Less

While your body needs salt to function, it’s not necessarily the salt you’re eating at home that has become a problem. Restaurants and fast food locations have notoriously high levels of salt in their diet. Excess salt increases the possibility of developing high blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and stroke. It’s impossible to completely avoid eating out, but there are steps you can take to reduce the salt in your diet when you do.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Go to restaurants where your food is cooked to order and specifically ask for less or no salt.
  • Don’t use the salt on the table and limit how much you use high-salt condiments like soy sauce, pickles and olives.


Buy Less Processed Food

Processed foods often contain aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, excess salt and hydrogenated oils. Your body doesn’t need these chemicals. More than 75% of the salt in the average American’s diet come from processed foods.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Buy less boxed and packaged foods and try to cook more often.
  • Read food labels to look for any hidden sugars and salts.
  • Buy more fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Learn more about the Salty Six from the American Heart Association.


Eat More Fiber

Fiber helps digestion and keeps your feeling full longer, which also helps you manage your weight! High-fiber foods can contribute to reducing your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, by lowering bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Replace foods you currently eat with whole grain options. Try whole-grain pasta, brown or wild rice, whole-grain cereals and whole-grain or corn tortillas to start.


Exercise More

It’s recommended that everyone exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, every day. Your heart is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised just like any other muscle in your body.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Start by walking
  • Slowly increase the intensity levels of your workout, but make sure not to overdo yourself.
  • Talk with your doctor about an exercise that would be right for you.
  • Read more tips on moving more in our September Blog 5 Tips to Being Active
  • Our November blog is a great read on why physical activity is so import. Why Physical Activity is Important


Discover Your Family History

Knowing your background can assist you in learning about the risk factors that may run in your family. This way, you are on the look-out for anything that might be an early warning sign.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Set-up time to talk to each family member about their medical history individually and take notes.
  • Visit your doctor to talk about what you found.


Limit Alcohol

Even though many studies have linked the benefits of drinking things like red wine in moderation, the correlation isn’t high enough to start drinking if you haven’t before. Excessive alcohol can increase the amount of fat you have in your blood, which can cause an increase in high blood pressure and the risk of heart failure.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • People tend to drink more at home than they do when they go out. Slowly replace the alcohol in your home with other healthy drink options.
  • If you’re having a party, offer non-alcoholic drinks next to the alcoholic options.
  • Buy smaller glasses. This will limit the amount of alcohol that you can drink at one time.
  • If you think you have a drinking problem and would like help, please reach out to your doctor or call The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website to find treatment options. Completely confidential and free 24/7.


Cut Down on Caffeine

Caffeine aggravates stress and raises your blood pressure, which can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Cut back slowly by mixing together caffeine-free and caffeinated coffee or adding more water to your coffee every day.
  • Switch things up by drinking tea in different flavors.
  • Slowly cut down on how much pop you drink a day.


Go to the Dentist

Studies have shown that people who develop periodontal disease are two times more likely to develop heart disease.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly.
  • Schedule regular dental appointments every six months.
  • Watch out for bleeding gums.


Sleep More

Researchers are making a connection between lack of sleep and heart disease. Not getting enough sleep can cause plaque to build up in your arteries by increasing hormone levels in your body.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if you don’t have anything on your agenda.
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Don’t take naps.
  • Spend an hour before bed doing a relaxing activity.


Go to the Doctor

Your doctor is your best source of information when it comes to your health. They can test your levels and talk to you about changes you should be making to your lifestyle to stay heart healthy.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Make an appointment for a routine physical with your health care provider.
  • Get a physical every year.


Lose Weight

Around 70% of Americans are considered overweight or obese according to the Body Mass Index chart. Excess weight increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Follow all of the guidelines above. These healthy tips will start you in the right direction.
  • Read more great tips in our blog and check back often for the latest information on staying heart healthy.

Get into gear with these simple New Year’s resolutions. Start your year off right with steps to a heart healthy lifestyle. If you or a loved one has any heart health concerns, turn to Alpine Cardiology. Call 989-448-7002 or visit our website.

Heart Healthy Recipes Perfect for a Holiday Brunch or Any Meal

Holidays can wreck havoc on healthy eating. These heart healthy recipes would be perfect additions to a holiday brunch or meal


Turkey Bacon and Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Serves 5

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups grated sweet potato (from about 1 medium sweet potato)
  • 1 teaspoon canola or corn oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 6 pieces turkey bacon, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ¾ teaspoon dried dillweed, crumbled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup fat-free milk
  • 1½ tablespoons fat-free feta cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. Gently press the grated sweet potato over the bottom and up the side of the pie pan. (The grated sweet potato will be loose, but will hold together once baked.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is cooked. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion for 6 to 8 minutes, or until very soft, stirring frequently. Stir in the turkey bacon. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion and bacon begin to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in the spinach, dillweed, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach releases its juice. Remove from the heat. Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into the sweet potato pie crust.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach mixture in the pie crust. Dot the feta cheese over the top.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center doesn’t jiggle when the pan is gently shaken or a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Festive Turkey Rice Salad

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked wild or brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked skinless turkey breast, cooked without salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, oil, honey, and ginger.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the rice, turkey, cranberries, and green onions. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.


Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Serves 8

  • 1/2 lb., Brussels sprouts, brown ends trimmed off and cut in half
  • 1/2 medium cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled, sliced)
  • Turnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Beets, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Sweet potato (peeled, optional) cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. no-calorie sweetener (granulated)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 2 clove fresh, minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Thoroughly wash all vegetables, cut and toss together in large bowl.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, no-calorie sweetener, rosemary, garlic, onion powder, pepper and salt. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss well.
  4. Pour vegetable mixture into prepared 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring once, until all vegetables pierce easily with a fork.


Baked Apples and Pears with Almonds

Serves 4

  • 4 small Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples (can substitute any variety of apple or use pears as available or on sale)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, unoiled almonds
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or raisins (no-sugar-added)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon honey

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cut ½ inch off the top of the apples, save the tops.
  3. Using a spoon or paring knife, core out the apples, leaving a bottom/base intact.
  4. Chop almonds.
  5. In a small bowl, combine almonds, cranberries and cinnamon – stir gently. Drizzle in honey and stir until almonds and cranberries are coated.
  6. Spoon almond mixture into apples and replace tops. Fill a small baking dish with ¼ inch of water, place apples in dish and cover loosely tented foil. Bake
    30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until apples are tender and lightly golden.


During frigid weather seniors are at a higher risk for accidents, injuries and other emergencies, especially if they still drive. Other threats include furnace failures, power outages, isolation, hypothermia and dehydration. If you are a senior, have an elderly family member or close friend that lives independently, here are some important cold weather safety tips to prepare them and their home for winter weather.


Check the furnace

Preventative HVAC maintenance ensures trouble-free operation and peak performance of the furnace. Schedule a furnace inspection with an HVAC professional. Have the contractor clean or replace filters and make any necessary repairs to avoid your furnace breaking down during the cold.

Clean the chimney and flue

If your home as a fireplace or wood/pellet stove, creosote and soot can build up and potentially cause a chimney fire. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says that fireplaces need to be cleaned when there is 1/8″ of sooty buildup inside the chimney or flue system. If you don’t want to spend the money on a professional chimney, use a do-it-yourself chimney cleaning system that makes it easy to clean the chimney from INSIDE the home without getting up on a ladder.

Stock up on Fuel

If you heat your house with oil or propane, make sure tanks are full and plan for auto fill so that you don’t risk running out of fuel. If you heat with a wood stove arrange for regular deliveries of seasoned firewood or wood pellets.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s heating system failing or running out of fuel, install a freeze alarm that sends an alert if their heating system fails. There are many types of affordable call out freeze alarms that will automatically call emergency numbers if there is a drastic drop in temperature. Talk to your local HVAC professional for options available in your area.


Have an alternative source of heat

During power outages make sure to have a safe (non-electric) way to stay warm. Wood stoves, kerosene heaters, or efficient wood-burning fireplace can keep you warm until your power is restored. But burning wood or kerosene can produce deadly CO gasses, make sure the are is properly ventilated and install a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector.

Have non-electric lighting available

Make sure you have adequate lighting sources during blackouts, including battery-powered flashlights, lanterns and extra batteries. Also use hand crank flashlight that works without batteries as a backup. Prevent falls, tripping and running into objects during a power outage by installing automatic rechargeable nightlights in room and hallways. These will provide instant illumination if the power goes out. Consider installing solar-powered security lights to help navigate outside. They are easy to install because they are wireless and can be positioned just about anywhere there is adequate sunshine to recharge the batteries.

Keep your cell phone charged

During a power outage it is important to stay in touch with the outside world, but keeping a mobile device charged is a problem when there is no electricity. There are emergency cell phone chargers that can power up your cell phone or table during prolonged power outages.


Buy extra food and bottle water

Have at least a week’s supply of non-perishable food and a couple of gallons of drinking water on hand in case you lose power. Get a hand-operated can opener to use during power outages.

Fill prescriptions of critical medicines

Don’t let your medicine run low, have automatic renewals set up to deliver your medicine before you run out. Check with your local pharmacy to see if they offer home delivery or fill your prescriptions through a mail order pharmacy so that you don’t have to worry about going out in bad weather to pick up your medicine.

If you take multiple prescription medications, vitamins or other supplements at various times during the day it can be difficult to manage and risky if you get it wrong. Using weekly or monthly pill box will remind you when to take your doses or you can go with an automated pill dispenser. Many will also have a reminder that alerts you when it is time to take a pill and will automatically dispense it for you.


Prevent cabin fever

Winter can be a time of boredom, isolation and seasonal depression, especially when housebound. Encourage family and friends to stop over or stay in touch by phone. Ake sure you have a good telephone system to make calls easily. There are phones available with easy-to-ready buttons, amplified volume and talking caller ID. These features are helpful for folks with hearing loss, low vision or limited mobility.

Enjoy indoor exercise

Move your body by walking in place or doing laps around the house. Wearing a pedometer or heart rate monitor can encourage movement as your watch your progress.

Prevent dehydration

Winter dehydration is a real risk, especially for the elderly. Remember to eat well-balanced meals that include a lot of vegetable and fruits and drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is another very important cold weather safety tip.


Make sure your car is winterized and equipped with an ice scraper, travel fluid, hat, gloves, cell phone and a travel blanket in case you become stuck or stranded. Remember to pay attention to travel warnings or advisories during winter weather. Stay indoors until everything clear.

Keep your walkways, entrances and driveway shoveled and salted. If you are not able to do it yourself, arrange to have it automatically done when needed. If you are able, help the seniors in your life by keeping their driveways and walkways safe, bringing in their mail and newspapers and offering to drive them to the store or appointment.



Red Cross power outages

National Institute of Health cold weather safety

Otsego County Commission of Aging – Otsego


The Weather Channel

Great Lakes Energy Outage Map

Consumers Energy Outages

DTE Energy Outages

State of Michigan Power Outage



Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon-Sauteed Apples and Cilantro Rice plus Apple Bread Pudding


Serves 4

As promised another heart healthy holiday meal recipe to keep you Healthy For Good! Delicious and juicy pork tenderloin with tasty cilantro rice and decadent apple bread pudding

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 1-pound pork tenderloin,all visible fat discarded
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive, canola, or corn oil
  • 4 apples (any variety) cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small cup, stir together the allspice and pepper. Sprinkle onto the pork. Using your fingertips, gently press the allspice mixture so it adheres to the pork.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the pork on all four sides (about 1 minute on each side), or until browned.
  4. Transfer the pork to a baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pork 145°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  5. Meanwhile, in the same skillet, still over medium-high heat, cook the apples and cinnamon for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the apples are soft, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  6. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 minutes. Slice the pork. Serve with the apples on top.

Cilantro Rice

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 medium green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, covered to keep warm
  1. Stir the cilantro, green onions, and lemon juice into the cooked rice.


Apple Bread Pudding

Serves 4

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie brown sugar blend
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves or ground allspice
  • 6 slices light, whole-grain, or multigrain bread (lowest sodium available), cubed
  • 3 medium apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • ½ cup raisins, unsweetened dried cranberries, fresh or unsweetened dried blueberries, or chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (optional)

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