Culinista Kitchen®,  Health

Follow Your Heart (Health)

by The Culinistas

(as part of our Wellness Through Food: Way to Your Heart series)

Heart health is important to think about even from a young age. That’s why we’re dedicating our latest Wellness Through Food initiative to the topic. A lifetime of eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and managing stress can help your heart go pitter-patter.

But a healthy heart is about more than biometrics, which is why we sat down with relationship expert and podcast host Sophie Kwok to talk about the benefits of human connection on your stress levels, the number one myth when it comes to matters of the heart, and the importance of not taking your relationships for granted.

Here’s what she has to say about protecting your heart when it comes to love and relationships.

The Culinistas: Why do you think some are half-hearted about heart health?

Sophie Kwok: It’s not something we are traditionally taught to really prioritize. In my experience, the western world prioritizes success over everything else and it is not a sustainable way to live. 

TC: What’s one easy step anyone can take to protect their heart?

SK: Physically, 30 minutes of movement every other day is a simple thing that your heart will thank you for. Whether it be walking, jogging, dancing, or really anything you love to do, make it a habit. 

TC: What’s the biggest impact of a healthy relationship on heart health?

SK: There have been multiple studies that show the quality of our relationships directly impacts our health and longevity. It has been said that loneliness is more deadly than obesity and smoking. In a recent Love Intently podcast episode, we talk about how human connection is one of the best ways to get out of our stress cycles. When we don’t learn how to effectively get out of stress cycles, we can create burnout and other health problems. Relationships aren’t meant to be transactional or efficient. The more we can focus on the quality of our relationships rather than the quantity, the better. 

TC: What’s the biggest myth about heart health?

SK: Someone else is responsible for making your heart happy or complete. You are the only person responsible for your happiness and health. Others in your life can support you but they cannot create health for you. It requires intention and action. 

TC: What is one dish or food that is the way to your heart?

SK: Sushi, I’ve been obsessed with it for as long as I can remember. 

TC: What’s your go-to cure for a broken heart?

SK: Working out, gelato, coaching or therapy. Initially, it’s tempting to eat your feelings away but it doesn’t take long for that to feel pretty awful in your body. I try to focus on as many healthy habits as possible as I know I will feel better with time. 

TC: What’s one thing you’ve always had your heart set on, but never tried?

SK: Going to an elephant sanctuary! I have always felt so connected to elephants and it would be a dream to visit a sanctuary. I just haven’t had the opportunity to. 

TC: What’s something you’ll always hold near and dear to your heart? 

SK: The people in my life and the quality of the relationships I have with them. It hasn’t always been this way and I never take for granted how far my relationship with my parents has come! 

TC: Tell us about a time you followed your heart and it paid off.

SK: I started relationship coaching, it was something I always wanted to do but there was initial imposter syndrome around it. I studied relationships religiously for 5 years and once I took on my first client and saw the massive shifts they were able to make in their lives and relationships, everything was worth taking the leap of faith. 

We asked Sophie to select six of her favorite dishes from our Way to Your Heart menu:

White Bean Hummus & Crudités

smooth dip with balance of za’atar & depth of sage

Halibut with Lentil Pepper Ragout

seared halibut with stewed red peppers & red lentils

Meatballs with White Beans & Pesto

beef, white bean & pine nut meatballs with parsley-oregano pesto

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

a tahini-crusted cauliflower with a sweet chive sauce

Grilled Stone Fruits

elevated fruit salad by treating each ingredient with extra attention

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

A super moist, dairy-free, vegan chocolate cake

Follow along with our Way to Your Heart initiative on Instagram