Cardio Ideas During COVID and Travel

Currently, I’m out of town taking care of some family matters. Due to the tight schedule, I chose a hotel close to the airport for convenience.

As we’ve discussed before, in order to lower blood pressure naturally, it’s important to consistently get cardio exercise. Before the days of the pandemic, I would hit the hotel gym after dinner and use the treadmill. However, due to the current Delta variant causing concerns, even though I’m vaccinated, I decided to be a little more cautious. The gym was very busy throughout my stay, so I had to get a bit creative. An alternative is going outdoors to take a walk, however my hotel wasn’t located in a very safe area for extensive walking.

That’s when I realized I could use the stairway within the hotel to get some pretty serious cardio. Of course, be sure to wear good walking shoes, hold onto the rail if necessary, and if you already have pre-existing balance issues, proceed with caution! Also, don’t forget to bring your hotel key card and cell phone.

Climbing stairs really gets my heart pumping, and after going up and down from floor one to nine about 3 times, I got an incredible workout! It also felt safer from COVID since there was no one else in the stairway. Remember, ideally you move continuously during the activity so your heart can become stronger!

Not to mention, it was super convenient to just lace up some shoes and skip the fuss of the gym or driving somewhere else.

The only downside was the complete and total lack of view 😆. Nothing exciting about a hotel staircase. However, I did reach my goal of getting heart-healthy exercise!

Have you found creative ways to incorporate exercise into your day?

My “gym” for today! Not very exciting but it got the job done!

Quick Sardine Salad for Lunch

Do you ever have a busy day ,and you don’t feel like putting together an elaborate lunch but still want to be mindful of choosing heart healthy ingredients? Today, I decided to dig around in my fridge and throw together a simple canned sardine lunch salad. I also had a big handful of unsalted brown rice crackers on the side that didn’t quite make it into the picture (because I ate it all too quickly! Ha!). It’s important to pair salads with a carb because in my experience, if you don’t, you’ll just be starving later and decide to indulge in something less than ideal.

Quick Sardine Salad Recipe


  • Salad greens of your choice: I like baby spinach or arugula
  • Canned sardines: I choose the ones canned in olive oil
  • Radish: Slice it up into halves or quarters
  • Chives: chop up enough for a small handful
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce of your choice
  • Lemon or Balsamic vinegar


  1. Combine all ingredients except chives.
  2. Garnish top of sardines with chives and very small dash of hot sauce
  3. Squeeze fresh lemon over salad or a splash of balsamic vinegar
  4. Serve with some no salt crackers on the side
  5. Eat it all and enjoy!

Hope you enjoy this quick, easy, heart healthy, low sodium lunch! Working on lowering blood pressure naturally does not have to be complicated or fancy. I love that canned sardines are ready to be consumed at any time and require minimal prep.

Yes, there is salt added to canned sardines, so the simple trick is to reduce the salt content of all the other ingredients around it! That way the overall salt content is not too high. Balance is the key.

What’s your go-to quick and healthy meal?

Quick low sodium sardine salad lunch
Quick low sodium sardine salad lunch

Making Cereal Lower Sodium

One of the hardest parts of a heart healthy diet that may lower blood pressure naturally is avoiding excessive amounts of sodium. Salt is a huge part of our prepared foods industry. Try walking down a breakfast cereal aisle in the supermarket and reading the nutritional labels. Almost all the cereals many Americans (myself included) enjoyed as children are loaded with added salt. Even the supposed healthier cereals have a ton of added salt too! Why? The reasons are abundant but 2 that come to mind are: 1) salt helps to preserve foods and 2) salt makes food taste good!

Well that’s annoying; I don’t want to cut out cereal all together. I love cereal! My favorite treat as a child was a giant bowl of Frosted Flakes enjoyed with some cold milk. I used to eat straight from a box of HoneyNut Cheerios as a snack!

I know, I know. I’m an adult now, and I care about my heart health, so I should always make healthier breakfasts like hardboiled eggs, fresh fruit, and oatmeal. Well, I certainly enjoy cooking healthy meals often, but sometimes I’m just in a rush and want something quick and easy.

Are you ready for the super easy tips to make your favorite cereal lower sodium?! Okay, here it is!

  1. Pour half the usual amount of your favorite cereal into a bowl.
  2. Add some plain, unsweetened, unsalted puffed wheat, puffed millet, or puffed rice to the bowl.
  3. Enjoy with your favorite milk!

The concept is simple. You still get to enjoy the cereal you love, but now there is half as much sodium as you usually consume! Is it a perfect system? Definitely not! However, it is a quick and easy way to cut some extra salt out of your breakfast! Plus, puffed wheat, puffed millet, and puffed rice have their own additional nutritious benefits! Also, they add some extra bulk and help you feel full enough.

I usually buy my puffed wheat, millet or rice from Whole Foods Market. It’s plain and does not have any other additives. I’ll include some links to the products below:

Here are some links to the puffed wheat, millet and rice that I buy:

To be honest, they are probably not very exciting to eat on their own, because they are plain! No salt, no flavoring, no sugar. You will get some flavor from the half portion of the favorite cereal in your bowl. It’s about efficiency and compromise. I hope you found this small tip to be helpful! Have a great day and wishing you great health!

The only ingredient is: Wheat Puffs! Add this to a smaller portion of your usual cereal to lower the amount of salt!

Rice Cakes: Simple Yet Versatile Snack!

Do you like snacking? I love snacking. Sometimes it’s frustrating having high blood pressure, because I have to be so selective about what I eat. If you take a look at the nutritional label for most yummy treats such as cookies and crackers, they are loaded with salt. It’s intense how overly reliant we have become on salt to add flavor to so many foods.

Then I met the versatile rice cake. What a fun discovery on my journey to lower blood pressure naturally by eating a low salt diet.

In our local Whole Foods Market here in California, it’s possible to find rice cakes that are unsalted! It’s pretty exciting for me, because I use it as a blank canvas to make my rice cake snack art. Ok I don’t really make art. Haha! I just put lots of different toppings on it to enjoy! The rice cake by itself is a bit plain, so it’s all about how you dress it up. Have fun and be creative!

Some toppings for unsalted rice cakes I enjoy include:

  • mashed avocado with lime, cilantro, and minced garlic
  • maple syrup
  • honey
  • unsalted peanut butter plus jam
  • unsalted almond butter plus a drizzle of maple syrup

You get the idea! The possibilities are endless. The salt is not endless. WOOHOO! Do you have any ideas about yummy toppings for rice cakes? Please leave a comment and let me know!

This is my favorite brand of unsalted rice cake! I found it at Whole Foods Market.

Sweet Potatoes, More Than a Thanksgiving Treat!

For those of you in the United States, you know that sweet potatoes often make their sweet appearance on the Thanksgiving table. Today, I want to share that the health benefits of this magnificent root vegetable make it deserving of a place at the dinner table more often than just once a year! In fact, I serve sweet potato as the main carb in my lunch or dinner at least 2 times a week!

Sweet potatoes can help lower risk for cancer, improve blood sugar control, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower chances of eye disease such as macular degeneration, and so much more!

How Do Sweet Potatoes Help Lower Blood Pressure Naturally? Long story short, sweet potatoes are a rich source of potassium and magnesium. Potassium helps to remove extra sodium and fluid out of the body. Magnesium helps blood vessels to relax. Both of these superstars join forces to lower your blood pressure naturally and make it easier for your heart to pump blood around the body! Of course, the science is more complicated than this. To prevent these blog posts from being too boring and textbook like, if you want more details, please do refer to the reference links toward the end of the page.

Tonight, I enjoyed roasted sweet potatoes (see recipe here; I left out the salt and it was still fabulous), steamed green beans, cabbage and tofu with just a dash of teriyaki sauce for flavor. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. I often like to think about it as bringing different pieces together. I happened to have these ingredients, so just decided it would be just find to serve them as a meal together!

Remember, keeping healthy meals simple can help you stay true to this habit of heart healthy eating! Don’t get sucked into making complicated healthy meals unless you have time to do so. Lofty goals of fancy meals too often might result in frustration and suddenly, McDonald’s drive through is looking more enticing! Focus on what’s reasonable for you.

See below for my simple dinner tonight! Heart healthy, delicious, good for leftovers and fantastic for this journey to lower blood pressure naturally!

How do you prefer to enjoy sweet potatoes? Would love to learn some new recipes!

sweet potato lower blood pressure naturally
Sweet potatoes can help lower blood pressure naturally!