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My Healthy Valentine

February 14, 2012

Greetings, lovebirds! The most (or least, depending on your cynicism) romantic day of the year has everything: hearts, candy, chocolate, flowers, and chubby flying babies with projectile weapons.

V-Day doesn’t have much meaning for me, although I do enjoy any excuse to cook a special meal (stay tuned for that post tomorrow!). But I started thinking about how February 14 could be repurposed as a celebration of fitness instead of a day of sugar and dating pressure.

One of my biggest inspirations for being healthy is my father. We’re a lot alike, actually– both stubborn, both happier when we’re exercising regularly. Dad kayaks every day, and goes for long walks when boating conditions keep him off the river. But he also has a genetic tendency toward elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure, which motivates him to stay active and make good dietary choices. The few times he’s had health issues, doctors have told him that his level of fitness probably prevented more serious complications. I can’t think of a better reason to start thinking about your long-term health than that.

So my proposal for today is simple: don’t just tell someone you care about them. Show them! Take care of yourself, so you’ll be around and in good health for a long time. Instead of candy hearts, use this day as a reminder to think about your own cardiac system. Are you getting enough exercise? Choosing good fuel for your body?

February is Heart Health month, and there are some great tips for good practices (and recipes!) at Women’s Health Magazine and epicurious. In the spirit of love and friendship, help someone you know take better care of themselves, too:

1. If working out feels like a chore, partner up and have some fun. Try a game of tennis, or just go for a long walk in the park.
2. Instead of going out to eat, swap recipes and cook healthy meals together.
3. Give the gift of health! Instead of sweet nothings and empty calories, take your main squeeze salsa dancing. Or rock-climbing! Or if the fastest way to your spouse’s heart is through their stomach, surprise them with something delicious yet healthful, like a set of exotic spices.

By this point in our relationship, my Husband Elect knows I don’t need flowers to feel adored, and I’m definitely not the “I love you BEARY much” stuffed animal type. He finds ways to express his love that fit both of our personalities, and that makes the gestures that much more thoughtful. This week I’m going in a million different directions: setting up wedding plans, taking a writing class, leaping tall buildings in a single bound. You know, the usual. One thing I haven’t been able to do is plan our meals for the week!

I was on my way out the door, resigned to buying lunch today, when my guy handed me a plain white takeout bag. “Keep this cold,” he said. “And enjoy!”

I didn’t peek all morning, although the suspense made it hard to concentrate on my work. When lunchtime finally rolled around, I opened the plain white bag to find an equally plain black box.

When I lifted the lid, the contents were even more exciting than a fancy chocolate assortment:

On the 14th of February, my true love gave to me....

Not everyone would think to say it with sushi, but it was the perfect quick and filling lunch for a hectic day!

Check back tomorrow, when I share how I returned the favor.

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From → Food, Health, Sushi

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