Matters of the Heart

nutritional tips soup vegan recipes vegetarian recipes yoga & fitness Feb 06, 2019
Matters of the Heart

Did ya’ll know that February is American Heart Month? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in United States. So it’s no surprise that it’s the #1 cause of death for African Americans and women making it super important to me as a proud member of both of those groups. But it’s also important to me because I lost one of my favorite people, my grandfather, to a heart attack.

February is American Heart Month

I can still vividly see my grandfather after his bypass surgery laying in the hospital bed. As a kid he was unrecognizable to me due to the swelling and what looked like a million tubes and machines surrounding him. I don’t wish it on anybody or their loved ones.

Our lifestyle choices, especially our diets, play a critical role in preventing and reversing heart disease. So this month EPP will be all about matters of the heart. I’ll be posting tips and recipes to keep your heart healthy (check out a few below!).

My grandfather, Percy McKay Pryor, was brilliant and funny. He had a great laugh. He loved Snoopy, music and books. He was sharp from head to toe - stayed fresh every day, you hear me! He was a fighter, overcoming alcoholism and battling heart disease. He used to recite Paul Laurence Dunbar poems while sipping coffee. He was swag before there was such a thing.The personification of cool. This is for you Grandpa P. Hope we're making you proud. See you when I get there.

Bodacious Beans

Beans, beans they’re good for your heart. The more you eat them… the longer you’ll live. Guess it doesn’t have the same rhyming quality but it’s true.

Beans are AH-Mazing for you. They straddle the fence between both the protein and vegetable food groups. They’re loaded with protein, iron and zinc like you would find in other sources of protein like meat. But they also contain nutrients found mainly in vegetables like fiber, folate and potassium. You’re getting the best of both worlds with beans.

Researchers have linked beans with weight loss, lower blood pressure and regulation of blood sugar, insulin levels and cholesterol. The fiber, folate and phytates (antioxidant compounds found in whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds) found in beans may also help reduce the risk of stroke, depression and colon cancer. Need I say more? Beans are superfood rock stars. Guess that’s why people call them musical fruit. Ok, that was too far. Recipes below.

Tuscan Bean Soup

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 2 medium carrots, diced

  • 2 stalks celery, diced

  • 1 medium zucchini, diced

  • 1 yellow squash, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

  • ¼ tsp dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 32 oz vegetable broth

  • 2 (14 oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice

  • 3 cups chopped kale (ribs removed)

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar or sugar in the raw (or 1 tsp honey or agave)

  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

  • Shaved parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for topping (optional)

  • Crusty bread for dipping


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, zucchini and squash. Cook for 4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme and rosemary. Stir in broth, beans and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low. Add chopped kale. Cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Use a potato masher or spoon to mash some of the beans in the pot.
  4. Add salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Top with parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. Serve with crusty bread for dipping!


Looking for more bean recipes? Give these a try!

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