The Dottie Fuqua Women’s Heart Support Network was built on the foundations of flourish, nourish and thrive. Flourish is about mindfulness and stress relief, while nourish focuses on healthy eating and thrive is focused on purposeful movement.
Area women will get to take part in a 21-day healthy eating challenge starting Monday, June 8. To kick things off and prepare for the challenge, Avril James, the program coordinator for Fayette and Newnan, will lead an interactive discussion on moving to a whole foods, plant-based diet, on Thursday, June 4 at 5 p.m.
“The benefit of a whole-foods, plant-based diet is bountiful and well-researched: improved cardiovascular health, better outcomes for Type 2 diabetes, and decreased incidences of cancer,” said James. “These foods are also less calorically dense, aren’t processed, and help people reduce their total cholesterol, lower their blood pressure, and reduce their sugar intake.”
James will check in with participants during the 21-day challenge. They will all have menus and a grocery list to make the challenge as easy to follow as possible.
“There will be a lot of chopping involved, but not a lot of heavy cooking,” said James. “We will also record the discussion so that participants can reference it throughout the challenge.”
Piedmont Women’s Heart Support Network will also host two lunchtime virtual workshops focused on nutrition in June. “All About Lipids” at noon on Thursday, June 11 with Barb Conlon, a nurse practitioner; and “Healthy Home Cooking Using Pantry Staples” at noon on Tuesday, June 30 with Healthy Chef “Partyologist” Nancy Waldeck.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many of the programs offered by the Women’s Heart Support Network have moved on-line. James has found they have been a lifeline for many women in the area. “We’ve seen the number of participants double in many of these programs, including the weekly meditation and yoga programs,” she said. “They give women of all ages a chance to decompress and engage with others to reduce feelings of isolation.”
In addition to meditation, which is offered every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and yoga, which is offered every Wednesday at 6 p.m., there are special events scheduled for June that will focus on mindfulness and stress management.
Jennifer Butler, M.D., will lead “Goodnight Sleep Heart” on Wednesday, June 3 at 5 p.m. The discussion will be based around the importance of sleep for total health and wellness.
Honey Judith Rubin will lead “Speak Peace” on Saturday, June 6 at 11 a.m. The workshop is aimed at nonviolent communication. This is a system which changes your understanding of human interactions, empowers with empathy, and may greatly reduce your own self-judgment. The goal is for participants to learn to communicate with others and themselves, increase their empathy skills, and learn a meditation practice.
Research has shown that women with heart disease are more likely than their male counterparts to suffer from a condition called myocardial ischemia when they are under mental stress. Myocardial ischemia is the abnormal restriction of blood flow to the heart, and it can increase the risk of a heart attack or death from heart disease.
“Stress reduction is so important to heart health,” said James. “When you are dialed up, your heart is beating faster, your blood pressure is higher, and your heart is stressed, strained, and fatigued. When you can take deep breaths, center yourself and relax, your blood vessels will open and your heart health and brain function will improve.”
The Women’s Heart Support Network started at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and expanded to Piedmont Fayette, thanks to generous donations from Fayetteville resident and Piedmont Foundation Board Member Vicki Turner. The program further expanded to hire a full-time program coordinator and began serving Piedmont Newnan thanks to a grant from the Cigna Foundation.
All of the classes offered are on-line and are free.
Learn more about The Women’s Heart Support Network and these free programs, as well as register, at www.piedmont.org/womensheartsupport.