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Heart Month Tip #9: Eat your veggies

February 9, 2015

From Lauren Greig, Heart patient

Vegetables are the very foundation of a healthy diet. Along with fruits, veggies are a veritable fountain of youth. They’re rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber—and a multitude of research studies link them to a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and other serious diseases.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans eat fewer than half the 5-7 recommended daily servings of veggies and fruit. Lauren Greig and the refugee farmers with Global Gardens are working to change that by growing a wide range of beautiful and delicious veggies for the community to buy—from early spring through late fall.

Global Gardens is a program of the Idaho Office of Refugees, and it’s about much more than providing fresh veggies for local farmers’ markets. This community agriculture program supports refugees who raise their crops not just for money but often for healing. “Many of our refugees use farming as a means to recover from the trauma they’ve suffered,” Lauren says.

As Global Gardens’ program assistant, Lauren worked with St. Luke’s Healthy U to set up a produce stand and community-supported agriculture (CSA) pick-up spot in front of St. Luke’s MSTI in Boise this past summer. “We’ll be back again this year,” she says, “offering fresh, local, spray-free produce every Monday afternoon (3:30-6) during the growing season.”

You can learn more about Global Gardens and purchase a CSA share to receive fresh produce each week this summer by visiting their website at globalgardensboise.org.

Lauren’s heart says “moo”

Just a year ago, Lauren was struck by a bacterial infection that affected the mitral valve of her heart. She underwent immediate surgery to replace the valve, followed by a week in the hospital and three months in cardiac rehab. And appropriately for a woman who works in agriculture, her new valve came from bovine pericardial tissue—the tough tissue sac that surrounds the heart of a cow. Seriously. She now has a “bovine bioprosthetic valve” beating within her chest. Even Lauren has a hard time believing it. “Sometimes I feel my heartbeat and I just go ‘wow,’” she says.

Join us to learn about heart-healthy cooking and nutrition at free seminars during Heart Month. Coming up next: Iron Chef of Cardiology, presented by cardiologist Dr. David Kemp. This seminar will be held on Wednesday, February 11, at 6 p.m., at St. Luke’s Magic Valley, in the Oak Rooms on the lower level. Registration is recommended.