BetterU 2014 – Week 8

Welcome to week 8 of the BetterU Challenge! (New here or want to find out more about this program? Jump back to the week 1 information here!)

Special thanks to Marni Hughes and Q13 Fox News – they are helping spread the word about the Go Red BetterU program! We are looking to help YOU participate right along with us. Are you going to join in on the BetterU program with us? If so we are honored to have you here! Leave messages below to say Hi, ask questions and shout it out that you’re doing the #GoRedBetterU program on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and more!

Here is the link to the segment on Q13 news with from May 13, 2014. Chef Kirsten discusses the BetterU program information to help the participants learn how to achieve healthier blood pressure as well as how to make meal time less stressful with Meal Kits! Check out the post for the Meal Kit recipes, plus 8 more recipes you can make from one meal kit! Catch up with Shirley and Kristi this week as well! Here  are some clips from their video diaries. Check out how great they are doing! Here is the recipe for Chef Kirsten’s Healthified Sweet Potato Topped Shepherds Pie from the segment on Q13!

Q13 fox

Week 8

Week 8 of the Go Red BetterU 12-week health makeover focuses on blood pressure. May is American Stroke Month – did you know that high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke? Find out more about high blood pressure, why it matters, symptoms, treatment and more from the American Heart Association website by clicking here.

Stroke Month



We are ¾ of the way through this journey learning how to have healthier hearts and bodies and lower our risk factors for heart disease and other lifestyle-related diseases. I hope you are all feeling better than you did 8 weeks ago!

According to the American Heart Association high blood pressure is a sign that the heart and blood vessels are being overworked.

Untreated high blood pressure can damage and weaken your arteries.

Untreated, high blood pressure can lead to atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure.

According to the CDC 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure.

In 2010 high blood pressure was projected to cost the United States $93.5 billion in health care services, medications and missed days at work.

According to an estimated 3% of children have preventable high blood pressure.

I myself had dangerously high blood pressure up until I was 25 years old, it started in my teenage years. I also have a family history of high blood pressure, most due to controllable factors. My brother does have high blood pressure from genetics, as he has Polycystic Kidney Disease. He does have to control his blood pressure through medication no matter what, but he still strives to lead a healthy lifestyle to further help control what he can. When I ate better and moved more my blood pressure lowered naturally (along with shedding excess weight by doing these things) and I maintain a healthy blood pressure now with a healthy lifestyle and making healthy choices.

High blood pressure is often silent, many people have high blood pressure and don’t even know it. Know your numbers. Pharmacies and fire stations are great places to check your blood pressure occasionally for free. If you need to check your numbers more often, at-home blood pressure monitors are easy to use and allow you to monitor more close.


Good news! High blood pressure is manageable. Find out what you can do to enjoy wellness and live at your healthiest potential! According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure can be controlled through these 8 ways:

  1. Eat a better diet (focused on in-depth in weeks 2 and 5) which may include reducing salt.
  2. Enjoy regular physical activity (focused on in-depth in week 3)
  3. Maintain a healthy weight (focused on in-depth in week 5)
  4. Manage stress (See this wonderful article about managing stress from John Hammerly, from the AHA website)
  5. Avoid tobacco smoke (we will focus on this more in Week 11)
  6. Comply with medication prescriptions
  7. If you drink, limit alcohol
  8. Understand hot tub safety


From the AHA: “Managing blood pressure is a lifelong commitment; make a pledge to do so starting today for yourself and for those you love. Listen to your doctor, read the sound medical information on the American Heart Association website, and act on the information to live a heart-healthier life.”

Notes from the meetings:

The ladies had a fun and sweaty workout with Zumba instructor Vidette! We had a blast, everyone participated at their own pace. Many of the women said they are definitely going to make Zumba a part of their workout routines! Dancing to fun music – now THAT is a fun workout!



Have a wonderful week and congratulations on Week 8 towards a BetterU!

Chef Kirsten Signature

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Verdant Health Commission

Lynnwood Rec center



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