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Valentine’s Day

Town Clerk Andrew Raia, Bride and Groom Christine and Gerard Tully. Photo from Town of Huntington

Wedding bells rang again this year in Town Hall on Valentine’s Day, as Town Clerk Andrew Raia, chief Marriage Officer for the Town, presided over eight marriage ceremonies. “It is a privilege to unite these couples and share in the excitement and happiness of their special day,” said Raia.

The intimate ceremonies included a Town Board room decorated as a Valentine’s Day-themed wedding chapel, mood lighting, and traditional processional music. Each wedding ceremony included a rose and a cake presented by Town Clerk Raia and La Piazza Cucina Italiana & Wine Bar in Melville donated gift certificates to all of the happy couples.

 

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Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in a scene from the film. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

By Jeffrey Sanzel

Romantic comedies cover a broad spectrum. Whether classics, such as It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story, or The Shop Around the Corner or contemporary favorites, like When Harry Met Sally, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Love Actually, most viewers have their personal favorites. 

On the low end are unwatchable travesties, usually humorless and coarse (thank you, Holidates, for ruining an entire year’s worth of celebrations). The majority play somewhere between, floating in that B-/C+ range on the bell curve. They are watchable but by-the-numbers predictable or just fail to reach their potential. Marry Me, now playing in theatres and streaming on Peacock, is guilty of both. 

Singing superstar Katalina “Kat” Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) is poised to marry the younger Bastian (Maluma) in a spectacular event. The combination concert and ceremony will play to five thousand “guests” and twenty million watching from around the world. It will also unveil the titular duet. Just before she is about to enter and take her vows, an online news source posts video of Bastian carrying on with Kat’s assistant. After a speech about “love is a lie,” Kat selects an unwitting audience member to be her husband. He is math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), who happens to be holding his daughter Lou’s (Chloe Coleman) “Marry Me” sign. He comes onstage, marries her, and the story begins. 

The premise is ridiculous, but there is an opportunity for both humor and insight if one embraces the idea. The opening shows preparations for a celebrity wedding in all its excess, both the over-the-top production and the media coverage. How much more interesting would the film have been to continue this path, emphasizing the misplaced values and the constant internet hype? Instead, the story becomes painfully predictable. 

Kat’s people convince Gilbert to continue in the faux marriage so she can “change the narrative.” Because he is such a good guy—the windbreaker is a dead giveaway—he agrees. But, of course, they fall in love. She takes him to openings; she teaches his mathalon students to dance. It is all precious and precocious. 

The supporting cast is reduced to ciphers, with Sarah Silverman playing Gilbert’s best friend, a school guidance counselor, who is the “kooky sidekick.” John Bradley (interesting in the execrable Moonfall) and Michelle Buteau play Kat’s considerate handlers. But they are given so little character, they function more to move things along, reminding Kat that she has a photoshoot or a plane to catch. The banality of their performances is no fault of theirs. Maluma, a gifted singer, is given the caricature Latin lothario. Coleman does well enough as Gilbert’s daughter, caught between divorced parents and trying to fit in her new school.

But the film’s sole reason is Lopez and Wilson, and, unfortunately, they seem uncomfortable much of the time. Lopez is saddled with the worst of it; she is the star who is lonely in the crowd. Lopez is a charismatic performer, which shines through when she is allowed to sing. Here, she engages fully, and these are the brighter spots. Wilson is trying to channel an everyman but just comes across as clueless (projected through his use of a flip phone). 

There is not so much a lack of chemistry as no fusion. Kat and Gilbert are quickly too comfortable yet remain distant, mouthing speeches that are a patchwork of cliches. It is as if someone has cut up Hallmark cards and pasted them together as a script. In this case, the someones are John Rogers, Tami Sagher, and Harper Dill, who penned the pedestrian screenplay (based on a graphic novel by Bobby Crosby). Director Kat Coiro fails to bring any originality or point of view.

Many obvious moments will either satisfy expectations or just annoy. The whimsical challenge: Kat will attempt to function without assistants; Gilbert will go on social media. (The arc lasts all of three minutes and then is forgotten.) The requisite surprise birthday gift:  A visit to a childhood amusement park. The romantic date:  They chaperone the school dance. The build-up to consummation: It might be the first time in fifty years that anyone has been inspired by Robert Goulet’s “If Ever I Would Leave You.” The final obstacles involve the Grammy Awards and the big math event, lacking stakes and tension. So much for conflict, contrast, and texture.

One of the major missed opportunities is mentioned in passing. Kat is “north of thirty-five.” Far more interesting would have been incorporating the fears of a not-young-star in a youth-centric culture. Lopez would have brought both depth and dimension to this element.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you want. If you hope for wit and originality, Marry Me does not deliver. But, if you can accept a bland if not unpleasant movie, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

Rated PG-13, Marry Me is playing in local theaters and streaming on Peacock.

Red Velvet Heart Pancakes

The Perfect Pancake for Your Valentine

(Culinary.net) Finding something unique and special to do on Valentine’s Day for your significant other can be a challenge. Every year, the day to celebrate love rolls around and every year it may seem like you’re out of ideas. Many people feel the same way. However, with just a couple bowls, a cookie cutter and a skillet, your Valentine’s Day could start off a lot sweeter.

Try these Red Velvet Heart Pancakes, which are one of a kind and a delicious way to spend your morning with your loved one. Celebrating the day of love has never been easier.

Add your favorite pancake toppings like butter, syrup, powdered sugar or raspberries. In the end, you will have yourself a scrumptious breakfast, made with love and as sweet as can be.

Kids also love the fun shape and color of this breakfast. It’s a neat way to have them help in the kitchen and make a meal for the whole family.

Valentine’s Day is a big reason to celebrate. You don’t have to stick to the same flowers and chocolates as last year. Mix it up with this delectable recipe meant to spread some love on a significant day.

Find more breakfast recipes and sweet treat ideas at Culinary.net.

Red Velvet Heart Pancakes

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for garnish

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

30-40 drops red food coloring

nonstick cooking spray

syrup, for garnish

powdered sugar, for garnish

raspberries, for garnish

Directions:

In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In medium bowl, whisk egg. Add buttermilk, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla extract and food coloring; whisk until combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Spray heart-shaped cookie cutter with nonstick cooking spray and place in skillet. Add enough batter to fill heart. Cook 2 minutes. Remove heart cutter. Flip pancake and cook 1 minute.

Serve with butter, syrup, powdered sugar and raspberries.

Note: If mixture is too thick, add water until desired consistency is reached.

See video here.

Just a few of the cookies designed by Kim Carter of Rolling Pin bakery in East Setauket. Photo by Rita J. Egan

During the pandemic, small business owners have been looking for ways to get customers’ attention. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, a local bakery is providing an option that stands out from the average box of chocolates.

Kim Carter, of Rolling Pin, holds one of the cookies she decorated. Photo by Rita J. Egan

When people first walk into Rolling Pin bakery in East Setauket they’ll spy on the shelves colorful cookies wrapped in individual clear bags. The works of art are created by Kim Carter, the bakery’s decorator, who is currently busy preparing cookies for Valentine’s Day featuring cute couples, colorful lovebirds, adorable animals and more. Every holiday for about eight years, Carter said she comes up with novelty cookies for customers to purchase to give away as gifts and Feb. 14 is no different.

When Evelyn Haegele began working at the bakery a few months ago, she was floored by her new co-worker’s talents. Her cookies are “just incredible,” she said. “Each one is a work of art. I felt like, ‘Kim, you really deserve to be noticed.’”

Carter has been working for the bakery, which is owned by David Dombroff, for 13 of the nearly 27 years it has been open. The decorator said as each holiday approaches she looks for inspiration by searching on the internet. She said each cookie takes a different amount of time to create. Making the sweet treats involves a few steps, from first baking them to then cutting them into different shapes. She then creates backgrounds for each cookie by dipping it in a color she has chosen. After the background is ready, she creates the outline for the cookie and fills it in freehand.

Just a few of the cookies designed by Kim Carter of Rolling Pin bakery in East Setauket. Photo by Rita J. Egan

“It takes practice and there has to be the right consistency of the icing,” Carter said. “If not, it will be running or too soft or too hard to squeeze.”

In addition to cookies, Carter decorates cakes, too. Before she started working for Rolling Pin, she worked for various bakeries and has 20 years of experience in the field. Carter’s decorating talent is one that naturally came to her.

“Since I was a kid I just liked art,” she said. “Then, one day, I said, ‘Hey, I can decorate a cake. I see people doing it. I can do it.’”

Her favorite holiday cookies are the ones she makes for Easter, Halloween and Christmas, and the decorator said she feels bad during Father’s Day because it’s one of the holidays that’s difficult to come up with themes that would be fitting for a cookie.

The bakery also takes custom orders for parties and showers. Sometimes, Carter said, the shapes are unique, and she creates a temporary cookie cutter out of tin until she can find one to buy.

Haegele said her favorite cookies since she started working at the bakery are the Halloween and Christmas cookies, including one that was shaped like a snow globe with sugar that looked like glass.

“What she did was amazing,” Haegele said.

 

The Rolling Pin bakery is located at 1387 Route 25A, East Setauket.

This year’s Love My Pet was a great success with over 90 adorable pet entries submitted from pet parents along the North Shore. While we couldn’t get all entries in print, they are all online here in alphabetical order for your enjoyment. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Maybe it is a Hallmark holiday, but with St. Valentine’s Day approaching, love is definitely in the air. Perhaps Chaucer started it with his poetry about Valentine’s Day in the 14th century. There have been many iterations since. At the least, it’s a time to reflect on the loves in our lives. And there are many. Let us count them together.

Saint Valentine’s Day has traditionally been associated with romantic love, as people—give each other material declarations of their affections. These start with cards, some of them originally composed and handwritten, others store bought and ceremoniously delivered. Red roses are the usual accompaniment and perhaps even generous amounts of chocolate. All of that helps to endure a cold winter’s day and night. It certainly helps the local economy.

So many other loves exist, some of them deeply in our hearts. The love we bear for our children makes for family bonding. It has been said that if children loved their parents as much as parents love their children, the human race would end because the children would never leave their homes. From the marvel at first sight of those tiny fingers and toes to the day we walk them down the aisle to start their own families, we love them, disregarding all the aggravations that happen in between. For most, this is an indissoluble love.

And yes, most of us truly love our parents, the mother who taught us to read, the father who taught us to swim. We go from thinking they are all-knowing demigods to wondering if they are the stupidest humans on earth, and ultimately to respecting them for all they have given us despite their various shortcomings. We are awed by their indestructible love for us and at the same time acknowledge that they are but human. 

We have been impressed with the number of entries for our Love My Pet section that is running in the newspapers and on the website and social media this week. We certainly love our pets, maybe because they can’t talk. And they are unfailingly loyal and forgiving. Well, dogs, are. I’m not so sure about cats. In some cases, we regard them almost as our children. 

A carpenter of undetermined ethnicity, who was doing some work in our house, once pointed to our golden retriever and proclaimed, “In my next life, I want to come back as an American dog.” 

We love our true friends, those who are there to prop us up when we fall as well as those who share our good times. We can also genuinely love our teachers. A caring teacher can make a profound difference in the direction of a child’s life. For example, my sixth grade teacher, in an unexceptional neighborhood elementary school in New York City, stayed after hours, for a few weeks, to coach half-a-dozen of us so that we might pass a citywide test for an exceptional junior high school. Two of us did, and to this day I love that woman, though after that year, I never saw her again.

We can love members of our clergy, who are predictably there for us with advice at critical times and with solace at times of deep loss. Yes, that is their job, but some do their jobs beyond measure. We can love our doctors, who take an oath to watch over our health, but again, some are deeply caring. For these people, we are more than grateful. They love us, and we love them back.

We can love the natural world around us, a world that is filled with songbirds and butterflies, squirrels and foxes, wild turkeys and seagulls to delight the senses. We love the first sight of crocuses announcing the beginning of spring and the early flowering magnolia trees. 

If we are lucky, we can truly love our jobs. For us, they are more than a source of livelihood, more even than a career. They are a calling. They propel us out of bed in the morning and often are the subject of our last thoughts as we go to sleep at night. They coax out the best in us and provide us with unique satisfaction.

Finally, we need to love our lives. Sometimes to do so takes re-contexting and perhaps re-adjustment. That love seems like a worthy goal. 

Photo from Harbormen Chorus

Love always finds a way! Even in the midst of uncertain times singers can express affection over the internet. This year again the Harbormen Chorus has prepared a “Virtual Singing Valentine” to be delivered to those Special Sweethearts out there. 

By digitally combining individual vocal renditions, their Director Rob Ozman was able to create a combined quartet effect to delight the viewer. For $35 they will email you a link which opens up to a classic, endearing Love Song for your Valentine, with your name attached. Please call Mr. Cupid soon (by Feb. 7 in time for Valentine’s Day delivery) to reserve your virtual presentation at 631-644-1029.

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Valentine’s Day penny postcard circa 1909-1911. Image from Beverly C. Tyler's collection

By Beverly C. Tyler

The celebration of Feb. 14 began as an ancient Roman ceremony called the Feast of the Lupercalia. It was on the eve of the Feast of the Lupercalia in the year 270 that Valentinus, a Roman priest, was executed. According to an article in the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in December of 1493, “Valentinus was said to have performed valiant service in assisting Christian Martyrs during their persecution under Emperor Claudius II. Giving aid and comfort to Christians at that time was considered a crime, and for his actions Valentinus was clubbed, stoned and beheaded.” The Roman pagan festivals were spread over the world as the Romans conquered various lands.

Valentine’s Day penny postcard circa 1909-1911. Image from Beverly C. Tyler’s collection

In Britain during the middle ages, these customs were observed and Alban Butler describes that “to abolish the heathens’ lewd, superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls in honour of their goddess . . . several zealous pastors substituted the names of Saints on billets given on this day.” It is also thought that when the early Christian church reorganized the calendar of festival they substituted the names of Christian Saints for the pagan names and allocated Feb. 14 to St. Valentine.

The tradition of sending messages, gifts and expressions of love on Valentine’s Day goes back to at least the 15th century. In 1477, in Britain, John Paston wrote to his future wife, “Unto my ryght wele belovyd Voluntyn – John Paston Squyer.”

By the 17th century, Valentine’s Day was well established as an occasion for sending cards, notes or drawings to loved ones. An early British valentine dated 1684 was signed by Edward Sangon, Tower Hill, London. “Good morrow Vallentine, God send you ever to keep your promise and bee constant ever.”

In America the earliest valentines that are known date to the middle of the 18th century. These handmade greetings were often very artistically done and included a heart or a lover’s knot. They were folded, sealed and addressed without the use of an envelope. Until the 1840s, the postal rate was determined by the distance to be traveled and the number of sheets included, so an envelope would have doubled the cost.

In 1840 Nichols Smith Hawkins age 25 of Stony Brook sent a valentine to his paternal first cousin Mary Cordelia Bayles, age 18. The original does not exist, but her reply, written two days after Valentine’s Day, says a great deal. “Much Esteemed Friend – I now take this opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that I received your letter last evening. I was very happy to hear from you and to hear that you hadent forgot me and thought enough of me to send me a Valentine. I havent got anything now to present to you but I will not forget you as quick, as I can make it conveinant I will get something for you to remember me by.

“You wrote that you wanted me to make you happy by becoming yourn. I should like to comfort you but I must say that I cannot for particular reasons. It isn’t because I don’t respect you nor do I think that I ever shall find anyone that will do any better by me. I sincerely think that you will do as well by me as anyone. I am very sorry to hear that it would make you the most miserable wretch on earth if I refused you for I cannot give you any encouragement. I beg to be excused for keeping you in suspense so long and then deny you. Believe me my friend I wouldn’t if I thought of denying you of my heart and hand. I think just as much of you now as ever I did. I cannot forget a one that I do so highly respect. You will think it very strange then why I do refuse you. I will tell you although I am very sorry to say so it is on the account of the family. They do oppose me very much. They say so much that I half to refuse you. It is all on their account that I do refuse so good an offer. I sincerely hope that it will be for the best.”

We don’t know the members of Mary’s family who opposed her marriage to Nichols. Was it her parents who had died in 1836 and 1838 respectively, or the family members that Mary most likely went to live with when she became an orphan at age 16 or 17? Whatever the circumstances  their love for each other continued to bloom.

Four days after replying to the Valentine letter, Mary again replied to a letter from Nichols.  “Dear Cousin – I received your letter yesterday morning. I was very sorry to hear that you was so troubled in mind. I don’t doubt but what you do feel very bad for I think that I can judge you by my own feelings but we must get reconciled to our fate. . . Keep your mind from it as much as you can and be cheerful for I must tell you as I have told you before that I cannot relieve you by becoming your bride, therefore I beg and entreat on you not to think of me anymore as a companion through life for if you make yourself unhappy by it, you will make me the most miserable creature in the world to think that I made you so unhappy. . . I must now close my letter with my love to you. – This is from your most unhappy cousin M__________________ ”

At least two other letters, written the following year, were sent to Nichols from Mary. The letters continued to express the friendship that existed between them. The story does not end there. Mary’s letters are in the Three Village Historical Society archive collection.

On Feb. 11, 1849 (three days before Valentine’s Day), Nichols Smith Hawkins, age 34, married Mary Cordelia Bayles, age 27. Coincidentally, Nichols parents, William Hawkins and Mary Nichols were married on Valentine’s Day in 1813. Nichols and Mary raised three children who lived beyond childhood (two others died in 1865 within a month of each other). Nichols was a farmer and the family lived in Stony Brook. Mary died January 30, 1888 at the age of 66 and Nichols died February 10, 1903, at the age of 88. They are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Stony Brook.

Valentines became fancier and more elaborate through the second half of the 19th century. After 1850 the valentine slowly became a more general greeting rather than a message sent to just one special person. The advent of the picture postal card in 1907, which allowed messages to be written on one half of the side reserved for the address, started a national craze that saw every holiday become a reason for sending a postcard and Valentine’s Day the occasion for a flood of one cent expressions of love.

Beverly C. Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Rd., Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit tvhs.org.

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METRO photo

What would Valentine’s Day be without images of a golden-tressed boy armed with bow and arrows? The arrows represent feelings of love and desire, and they are aimed and cast at various individuals, causing them to fall deeply in love — or fall out of it.

In Roman mythology, the boy is known as Cupid and is the son of Venus, the goddess of love. Portrayed as a cherubic and mischievous toddler, this magical boy was purported to be the matchmaker of gods and mortals alike.

For students of Greek mythology, Cupid represents Eros, the Greek word for “desire.” He was the son of Aphrodite, Venus’ Hellenistic counterpart, and would play with the hearts of mortals and gods, sometimes leaving mayhem in his wake. In Greek mythology, Eros was more teenager than bubbly baby, and capitalized on his status as a heartthrob rather than the cherubic status of Roman mythology, according to Richard Martin, a Stanford University professor. While Cupid may have been an adorable imp, some historians say Eros had a darker side, going so far as to describe him as calculating and sinister — forcing the wrong people into lovelorn matches.

According to Museum Hack, while Cupid could make people fall in and out of love, he also was once in love himself. In this telling, Cupid is a young man when Venus learns that a mortal girl is born with such great beauty that others start to forget to worship Venus, adoring this girl instead. Upset about the misdirected adoration toward this mortal, Venus asks Cupid to have the girl, Psyche, fall in love with a monster. Cupid agrees, but once he sees Psyche he “accidentally” hits himself with one of his own golden arrows and falls in love with Psyche. The resulting match does not prove easy, and through a series of unfortunate events, Psyche must prove her love to Cupid and accomplish various tasks to win back his heart. Eventually, Psyche does and achieves goddess status.

Cupid has been portrayed both as a young man and child through Renaissance art and beyond. When Valentine’s Day became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, Cupid was linked to Valentine’s Day celebrations due to his matchmaking abilities. His popularity only continued in the early 20th century, when Hallmark began to manufacture Valentine’s Day cards featuring Cupid.

Cupid helped push people together in ancient mythology, and he can even be the catalyst for modern day matchmaking as well.

Stock photo

Building heart-healthy habits improves the likelihood we’ll be around for those we love

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

This February, we celebrate both Valentine’s Day, an opportunity to celebrate those we love, as well as American Heart Month, a chance for us to build awareness of heart-healthy habits.

The good news is that heart disease is on the decline due to a number of factors, including better awareness in lay and medical communities, improved medicines, earlier treatment of risk factors and lifestyle modifications. We are headed in the right direction, but we can do better. Heart disease is something that is eminently preventable.

Reducing our risks

Risk factors for heart disease include obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes. Unfortunately, both obesity and diabetes are on the rise. For patients with type 2 diabetes, 70 percent die of cardiovascular causes (1). However, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking have declined (2).

Inactivity and the standard American diet, rich in saturated fat and calories, also contribute to heart disease risk (3). The underlying culprit is atherosclerosis, fatty streaks in the arteries.

Another potential risk factor is a resting heart rate greater than 80 beats per minute (bpm). In one study, healthy men and women had 18 and 10 percent increased risks of dying from a heart attack, respectively, for every increase of 10 bpm over 80 (4). A normal resting heart rate is usually between 60 and 100 bpm. Thus, you don’t have to have a racing heart rate, just one that is high-normal. All of these risk factors can be overcome.

When medication helps reduce risk

Cholesterol and blood pressure medications have been credited to some extent with reducing the risk of heart disease. The compliance with blood pressure medications has increased over the last 10 years from 33 to 50 percent, according to the American Society of Hypertension.

In terms of lipids, statins have played a key role in primary prevention. Statins are effective at not only lowering lipid levels, including total cholesterol and LDL — the “bad” cholesterol — but also inflammation levels that contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease. The Jupiter trial showed a 55 percent combined reduction in heart disease, stroke and mortality from cardiovascular disease in healthy patients — those with a slightly elevated level of inflammation and normal cholesterol profile — with statins.

The downside of statins is their side effects. Statins have been shown to increase the risk of diabetes in intensive dosing, compared to moderate dosing (5).

Unfortunately, many on statins also suffer from myopathy (muscle pain). I have had a number of patients who have complained of muscle pain and cramps. Their goal when they come to see me is to reduce and ultimately discontinue their statins by following a lifestyle modification plan involving diet and exercise. Lifestyle modification is a powerful ally.

Making lifestyle changes

The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, a prospective (forward-looking) study, investigated 501 healthy men and their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The authors concluded that those who consumed five servings or more of fruits and vegetables daily with <12 percent saturated fat had a 76 percent reduction in their risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who did not (6). The authors theorized that eating more fruits and vegetables helped to displace saturated fats from the diet. These results are impressive and, to achieve them, they only required a modest change in diet.

The Nurses’ Health Study shows that these results are also seen in women, with lifestyle modification reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Many times, this is the first manifestation of heart disease in women. The authors looked at four parameters of lifestyle modification, including a Mediterranean-type diet, exercise, smoking and body mass index. There was a decrease in SCD that was dose-dependent, meaning the more factors incorporated, the greater the risk reduction. There was as much as a 92 percent decrease in SCD risk when all four parameters were followed (7). Thus, it is possible to almost eliminate the risk of SCD for women with lifestyle modifications.

Monitoring your risk of heart disease

To determine your progress, we use cardiac biomarkers, including inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index. 

In a cohort study of high-risk participants and those with heart disease, patients implemented extensive lifestyle modification: a plant-based, whole foods diet accompanied by exercise and stress management. The results showed an improvement in biomarkers, as well as in cognitive function and overall quality of life. The best part is the results occurred over a very short period to time — three months from the start of the trial (8). Many patients I have seen have had similar results.

Ideally, if patient needs to use medications to treat risk factors for heart disease, it should be for the short term. For some patients, it may be appropriate to use medication and lifestyle changes together; for others, lifestyle modifications may be sufficient, as long as patients take an active role.

By focusing on developing heart-healthy habits, we can improve the likelihood that we – and those we love – will be around for a long time.

References:

(1) Diabetes Care. 2010 Feb; 33(2):442-449. (2) JAMA. 2005;293(15):1868. (3) Lancet. 2004;364(9438):93. (4) J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010 Feb;64(2):175-181. (5) JAMA. 2011;305(24):2556-2564. (6) J Nutr. March 1, 2005;135(3):556-561. (7) JAMA. 2011 Jul 6;306(1):62-69. (8) Am J Cardiol. 2011;108(4):498-507.

Dr. David Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit www.medicalcompassmd.com.