A few weeks ago I was at my pulmonolgist for the first time regarding my adult-onset asthma, and looking at my current protocol and symptoms. They did a lung function test to see what was up with my lungs, and, in the doctor's words, see if there's any damage from my smoking days. As you might know, smoking is one of the leading risks of heart disease. I haven't smoked regularly in about 18 years, and about three years ago I started again, smoking about a cigarette a day, until a year and a half ago.
I was quite scared to potentially see smoking damage, but fortunately my lungs are in the clear, and don't have any signs of smoking damage. I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older, or the mom of two kids now, but my health is becoming more of a priority – not just for me, but for them too. The lung assessment reminded me that the choices we make now impact on the future to some degree, and don't we owe it to our kids and ourselves to parent as healthily as possible, for as long as possible, and to take care of our heart health? And don't we owe it to our kids to give them a healthy lifestyle?
I don't think achieving good heart health is about doing anything extreme – I think it's about a balanced diet (not all the wine or all the sweets), and moderate exercise (not necessarily running marathons with the kids, but going for walks together or playing in the park). Even long before I had my children, and in my mid 20s, I realised I needed a lifestyle change as there was more smoking and eating than exercising and any form of wellness. Exercising, quitting smoking and eating moderately (I cut out calories and fat)literally changed my life and attitude, and in addition to around 20kg, I also shed inhibitions and poor health
I dont always get the balance right, especially with a few kilograms still to lose post baby, but the more mindful and harder working I am with my health, the better I look – and feel (no surprises there!)
Flora put together an incredible video, reminding us of the importance of looking after one's health – if only to be there longer for our kids.
In the interest of your and your kids' wellbeing, Flora has a great recipe for pumpkin fritters, which make for a great winter breakfast (or dinner, if you're anything like me) f. I made them the other day to try the recipe, and it took me back to my youth when my mom used to make them for me. These are easy to make, and it could be fun to involve the kids too. If your kids are averse to veggies, this could be a way to get them onboard and eating their daily dose as the fritters are tasty, and a little sweet.Flora Cinnamon Pumpkin Fritter
Preparation time approx.15 minutes
1 cup cooked pumpkin, mashed and well-drained
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
5 ml Robertsons cinnamon
7 ml baking powder
15 ml sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Flora Gold, for frying
Preparation per step:
- Make sure that your pumpkin is very well drained. Beat eggs and add to pumpkin and mix.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the cinnamon sugar and Flora Gold. Mix well into a thick batter.
- Heat a heavy based frying pan. Add a little Flora Gold. Drop heaped tablespoons of batter into pan, but not too close together.
- Fry until bubbles form on the top surface. They should now be firm and golden on the underside.
- Flip over and fry on other side.
- The fritters will puff up slightly while cooking. To test, press lightly on the fritters. When done, they will tend to spring back.
- Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve warm with plenty of crunchy cinnamon-Flavoured sugar and topped with Flora Gold
Variations: You can use butternut instead of pumpkin in these fritters, or even use sweet potato or creamed sweetcorn.