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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

A Heart for February .... and Chocolate!

Feb 06, 2014 05:10AM

Dear Readers,

I won’t forget the day the phone rang and with a few simple words, I understood that my 57 year-old father had died of a massive heart, alone in his Florida condo. He left just as his own father had, who died at the same age, in a diner in Akron, Ohio many years before. In my father’s case, there was no warning. He seemed relatively healthy, although his lifestyle, like many others of his generation, included a 2-pack-a-day smoking habit.

Likewise, my step-father suffered from chronic heart disease for years. He was lucky to live near the renowned Cleveland Clinic and had his first heart surgery in the early 1970s. He lived for decades after, but was often dealing with heart-related disease, until he died in 1997. My fondest memory of my step-father was a conversation in which he acknowledged, through tough-guy tears, that his deepest regret was that he would never see his five-year-old granddaughter, my dear daughter Lara, grow to be a young woman.

Chronic heart disease ravages many families, such as mine. I am pleased to offer in this month’s magazine a report on the newest thinking about heart disease. Linda Sechrist’s feature, Rethinking Heart Health starts with the ground-breaking work conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish and those who have followed his lead, filling in the knowledge that with proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, along with love and support, chronic heart disease is reversible. This research includes work by integrative cardiologist, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, who focuses on vices of stress, overeating processed and sugary foods, along with inflammation, as the real causes for heart disease.

To fully enjoy a healthy heart, research shows that each person’s state of mind contributes to general wellness. To complement our theme on heart health, I offer to you the latest from NY Times best-selling author and meditation leader, Sharon Salzberg, who has just released her latest book, Real Happiness at Work. In speaking with Natural Awakenings contributing editor, Grace Ogden, Salzberg reveals how meditation can help bring joy to the often joyless work experience. 

To find our happiness at home, I had the great privilege of spending some time with NY Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin, who has just brought to paperback, Happier at Home. Rubin gives an honest account of the challenges and the utter joy in finding happiness within your family, in your neighborhood and as a parent.

There are lots of other gems in this month’s edition as well, so I hope you enjoy. Most importantly, I hope that these articles help to bring healing and happiness into your own life!

With warm wishes –


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