Jul 28 2014

Heart Health

By: Jhesika Menes

1489252_1505418629683678_510730635_nMizado's Lobster Tacos

 The annual Red Dress Run has been a global Hash House Harriers tradition since 1988. For those unaware of the story, it is common to hear that the red dress signifies the H3's support of the American Heart Association, which isn't far off, as the AHA is one of the many organizations the event backs. The actual history behind the ensemble's origin is a funny story. In 1987, a young woman had flown to Southern California to reunite with an old high school friend. That friend drove her to Long Beach to introduce her to his running group and the experience of a hash run. Despite her ill equipped attire of a red dress and heels, she decided to jump in rather than wait it out in the truck. Her outfit has been cataloged ever since the group's hash run the following year when the San Diego chapter sent the woman a plane ticket to attend the inaugural Red Dress Run. Hundreds of male and female runners adorned in red dresses hit the streets while the Lady in Red suggested the H3's hold the Red Dress Run annually to raise funds for local charities.

Here in New Orleans the sponsorship spans over 30 charities and includes many beloved local food vendors, bars, and musical acts.  Everything is a party in the Big Easy – no other place in the world screams YOLO like we do. The American Heart Association has been an ever-present figure at RDR's nationwide, standing committed to supplying free blood pressure tests, education, and first aid to everyone that visits their tent. AHA volunteer of 10 years Carolyn Weaver explains, “We love that New Orleanians incorporate their philanthropic deeds with a good time. I know some of the people do it because it is just something fun, but those who go out and receive pledges for their mileage really help the association with their donations. It's not just the monetary benefit either; the runners, especially females, have helped us spread the word about heart health and our Wellness in the Workplace and  Walking Programs.” 

The AHA has been busy promoting their Go Red for Women personalized experience forum embarking on a journey through the struggles and understanding of female heart attack survivors. While heart disease is the number one killer in women, men also have to be mindful when it comes to cardiovascular health. High cholesterol accounts for the many cases of Coronary Artery Disease in American men, and Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the leading cause of stroke in both men and women. 

Using healthy diet habits and staying physically active are the best ways to combat cardiovascular diseases. Omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in fresh coldwater fish, are great for your heart, while limiting the omega 6 fatty acids commonly found in some meats, eggs and oils is beneficial for maintaining a healthy ratio of omega 3's in the blood. While on the topic of fish, Pêche dons a menu covering all bases of preparation. Shrimp, seafood platters and specials from the raw bar are creatively curated while freshly shucked oysters on the half shell come with a cocktail sauce and red onion vinegar thats so good you'll want to drink it. The drum meets the table in a piping hot cast iron pan where it swims in rich bubbling sauce, proving flavor and presentation are equal parts in the establishment. A whole grilled fish can be ordered for one or for a family, and depending on your hunger, the sizable sides could potentially suffice for a meal. Service is impeccable – our server Shaun shape-shifted into different people multiple times throughout the night. The shared platform supplied a sense of personalized attention to detail and speedy return on orders, just what someone would expect from Chef/Owners Ryan Prewitt, Link Restaurant Group's Donald Link, and Cochon's Stephen Stryjewski. 

Seafood is ablaze at Mizado on Metairie Road. Turning a healthy choice into a delicious meal is easy with the lobster tacos – which are anything but average. The meat of one poached and chilled lobster tail comes wrapped in fluffy romaine and gains it's texture from shredded phyllo. They can be spicy depending on the pepper, so beware of the jalapeño tucked inside. In this dish, the visual is as pleasing as the taste. Ralph Brennan's Red Fish Grillsports a dinner menu decked out in fresh seafare. On the 'Get Fit with Ralph' menu, the wood grilled lemonfish dish is a healthy serving of grilled fennel, mineral rich sautéed baby kale, and sweet potato purée. 

Fish and seafoods aren't the only way to achieve tasty nutrition conducive for heart wellness. Fare: Food For Health supplies selections for the health conscious and allergy inflicted with no less taste or attention to detail. Fresh blended juices packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals pair well with an impressive variety of gluten, soy, and dairy free goods. Game changing salads, like chicken, shrimp, and jumbo lump crab and citrus, fly out the door along with other handcrafted prepared foods. The brand's thoughtful design comes via Alicia and Matt Murphy,chef and owners of the Irish House. The couple started clean eating in their own kitchen to benefit their allergy riddled children's quality of life. Having gotten in a lot of practice, it's no wonder the menu never ceases to impress, although having 5 little taste testers at home, I imagine, is quite helpful. The culinary power couple continues to test recipes and juice blends providing an always changing, seasonally influenced selection of items.

Keeping your cholesterol at bay in addition to staying physically fit is a no brainer when paying mind to the ole ticker. Cigarette smoking is an unforgiving habit that should be kicked while moderate drinking, if not abstained from completely, should be considered. Even though it's hot as hell, opting to walk or ride your bike instead of taking the car is a surefire way to get some decent exercise in. Remember: the more you work you put in for your heart, the more work it will put in for you! 

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