In March the American Heart Association (AHA) hosted a conversation and cooking demonstration online to promote easy ways to improve eating habits for your heart and mind. Entitled Simple Cooking with Heart, more than 290 registrants had access to the lively program that was kicked off by the AHA executive director, Soula Antoniou. “At the American Heart Association, we’re all about bringing people together. Preparing great tasting meals that are good for your heart is easy and sharing time together with loved ones over a meal is good for more than just your heart, it’s good for your overall well-being.”

An interactive discussion followed, led by WUSA9 Anchor, Get Up DC’s Annie Yu and experts from Kaiser Permanente, including, registered dietician and licensed nutritionist, Jessica Davis and, chief of cardiology, Dr. Ameya Kulkarni, who also serves on the board of directors for the American Heart Association, Greater Washington Region. The topics ranged from the food, body and mind connection to tips for kids to get involved with cooking and getting more variety in for those picky eaters. Note a pro-tip mentioned by Dr. Kulkarni,” you can hide a bag of spinach in pasta sauce!” Viewers enjoyed a cooking demo by Dr. Kulkarni and his family showcasing a simple recipe of buffalo white bean hummus and sweet potato chips that was easy to make and enthusiastically kid-approved!

This is the first in a series of three free online conversations, co-hosted with Kaiser Permanente, based on the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good pillars: Eat Smart, Move More, Be Well. The goal is to provide intimate experiences for community members to access experts in these areas and to have meaningful discussions to foster better health and well-being.

“A heart-healthy diet is good for a lifetime,” said Dr. Kulkarni. “Healthy lifestyle behaviors – such as regular physical activity and avoiding exposure to tobacco products – are key at any stage of life to lower the risk of developing things like high cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Any incremental change you can do can have benefit.”
“One thing I like to share with my patients is to give yourself some grace. Eating well doesn’t have to be daunting. Know that at every meal, you have the opportunity to make a healthy choice again. If you happen to have an indulgent meal, the next one you have can get you back on track,” said Davis.

The full program can be viewed on the AHA’s Eastern State YouTube Page and will be followed up on April 6 at 5:30pm ET by the next conversation entitled, “Make Every Move Count” led by WUSA9 anchor Larry Miller. Spring is here and warm weather is calling us to get outside and get active. Hear from local Kaiser Permanente experts, physical therapist Sebastian Cohen, DPT, and lifestyle medicine specialist, Dr. Elisabeth Kramer on how to get back into a workout routine. We’ll also spring into action with international fitness entertainer, Laurent Amzallag! Register here: or email

The final conversation in this series will take place on May 18 at 12:15 p.m. and will focus on how mental well-being impact your heart health. Mark your calendars – we hope you join us!

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