By Stephanie Hodgson
16 Nov

The Drive-Thru Diaries

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making my way through the drive-thru of my favorite fast food restaurant just yesterday, everything I know and what’s being said about eating healthy and living right didn’t seem to matter. What with new mocha frappes this, and super combos that, one can easily forget.

Seriously, my age, my current weight and my bulging belly (and no, I’m not pregnant), not to mention my congenital heart disease, should all be enough to concern me about my eating and exercise habits.

Yes, I know, I can make healthier choices at some fast food chains, but it’s hard to do when you see all those “good” choices.

Today, we know that we can prevent some diseases, including acquired heart ailments. And, most of these illnesses can be prevented by our lifestyle and choices we make.

Recently, I watched a program on CNN about former President Bill Clinton’s heart disease (acquired). He is known for having frequented fast food restaurants on his morning jogs while in office.

The story highlighted his past heart surgeries and procedures. After speaking with a trusted doctor about his health and future, Bill Clinton decided to give up his old habits, and he made his decision to eat a vegan diet. He has since shed about 20 pounds and says he feels great.

I have CHD—heart disease that I was born with and that I could not have prevented—yet, the program made me think about my heart, how hard it has to work, and how I’m treating it. After all, don’t we still have to watch out for the same acquired problems not to develop?

Having CHD makes me more aware of how I feel when I do eat right and exercise often. And each time I fall for the quick and dirty fast food choices, I become sluggish and sometimes taste the food for two days.

My idea of eating healthy is really not through the drive-thru. I would much rather have more whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables, such as raw walnuts, avocados, blueberries, apples and salads. A vegan diet, like former President Bill Clinton is following, is a goal of mine.

Given the seriousness of how ill my heart is, I am going to do my best to keep my heart healthy and functioning at its highest potential. I see ways where I can prevent myself from getting any sicker than I already am through proper diet, exercise and rest.

So, this month, I’m getting back on track.

One of the main things that my doctors say will help me is using my oxygen. And I also know that our hearts work better if they don’t have all these other problems going against them.

When I do follow these choices, I feel I can breathe better, I have more stamina, and my weight usually goes down.

As a CHD patient, I am grateful to be alive. Following any healthy diet will never close the one inch diameter hole in my heart, but not following any healthy routine will cause more problems with my heart, and this choice is in my control.

Are there other ways in which you work hard in order to help give your unique heart a fighting chance?

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The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.