Dr. Cheryl Y. James has been a HeartSmarts ambassador since 2013. She is a lead ambassador in the South Jamaica, Queens area of New York but teaches and provides HeartSmarts programming throughout New York City's five boroughs. Since completing the HeartSmarts training, Dr. James has become a leader in cardiovascular health education in her community. She offers HeartSmarts classes as well as provides workshops and seminars regarding the risk factors of heart disease. To schedule a HeartSmarts class or workshop with Dr. James, complete the information in the contact link below.
Greater Springfield Community Church
Maranatha Baptist Church
New Jerusalem Church
Presbyterian Church of St Alban's
St Alban's Congregational Church
God's Battalion, Brooklyn
Harlem Witness Project, Women's Group
Allen AME Senior Center
NCNW Organization, Queens Chapter
Alphi Phi Alpha Senior Center
SNAP Senior Center
Rochdale Village Community Center
Jspoa Senior Centers
Emblem Health Center Seminar, Cambria Heights
113th Precinct Community Council
Calvary Baptist Church
Shelton Houses Senior Living Facility
Prior to participating in the HeartSmarts plant-based study, I dibbled and dabbled in my efforts to give up meat. I would be good for a couple of days, but who can resist fried chicken or pork chops? And it always tasted so much better after I decided to stop eating it.
I had begun yet another purge of meat from my system when HeartSmarts I began. The information provided to me allowed me to stay on track. Much to my surprise, this time I found I wasn’t tempted to cheat and I started enjoying new recipes.
By the time of HeartSmarts II, I was pretty much on a roll. While giving up red and white meat was easy, I decided to remain on seafood. And I was pretty good with it until I read the chapter 2, pages 61 and 62. I knew it would be difficult to give up fish (at least I wasn’t frying it!!), but I began cutting down my consumption. At this point I’m on track for not growing fins and gills.
Because of the study, I now incorporate a number of fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts in my meals throughout the day. The rainbow chart is very helpful because it’s so easy to fall back on that which you’re used to eating. I’ve expanded my palette. Eggplant and squash, which used to cause my eyes to cross, are now among my favorite vegetables. And, yes, I am guilty of eating a hearty salad for breakfast and rejoicing that I’m not hungry a couple of hours later. (Can’t say the same for oatmeal.)
Where have my food explorations led me? Vegan mayonnaise – I’ve both made and purchased it. Hated it either way! Vegan butter – love it! Frozen plant based prepared “meat” – I like soy breakfast bacon and tolerate breakfast sausages. Not crazy about “meat” patties. The thing about these soy based “meat” substitutes is that they are heavy on sodium. I prefer making my own patties from scratch. Also, once you read that you are eating “meat”, you feel cheated no matter how palatable the taste. I ordered from a Jamaican restaurant vegan “curried goat”. I love me some curried goat, ok? What I was served tasted alright. I didn’t feel inclined to send it back, but it wasn’t “goat” by any stretch of the imagination. A couple of weeks later, from another Jamaican restaurant I ordered vegan vegetable stew. Loved it. It was a similar recipe to the “curried goat”, but since I was eating it with no expectation of it tasting anything like meat, I could enjoy it as offered.
My husband and I took a two-week 4,000 mile road trip during the study. Things learned: (1) dates and walnuts were a delicious appetite suppressant; (2) thank God for Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, although I steered clear of Burger King for at least 3 weeks after we returned home; (3) if we found a restaurant that offered great non-meat choices, we ate in and ordered take out for when we were back at the motel; (4) I had no guilt plunging head first into meat meals once we reached our daughter’s home. I knew I would recover once we hit the road again; (5) I gained no weight which is something I could never say that coming off of vacations in the past. Thank you HeartSmarts!
One last comment – Dr. James was an excellent facilitator. She was knowledgeable, funny and honest. She knew it would be hard for us to commit 100% to what was being asked of us, but she really helped us stay the course. I truly appreciate her.
Sharon D. Banks
St. Albans Congregational Church
I thought I was finished with graduations, but today shows that you don't know what opportunities lie ahead in life. When it comes to our health, you know how it is for some of us. We start out whole-heartedly declaring that we're going to join a gym, faithfully workout regularly and lose those pounds; but gradually or sometimes not so gradually, we lose interest for one reason or another and revert back to our old habits.
The HeartSmarts program captured my attention because of the interesting session topics with a twist-the scriptures associated with each topic. These scriptures are the glue keeping me focused on the long-term plan for my health.Chapter 5 is an important goal for me and a personal challenge. "Present your Bodies as a Living Sacrifice"-Aim for a Healthy Weight. Romans L2:L "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."
Even though I knew that being overweight is unhealthy in general, I now focus on it as a risk factor for high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease
and stroke. Now l'm exercising regularly. Since the beginning of this program, I have lost five pounds. Yeah!!! And !'m on my way to losing more. Losing weight is also improving my joints by lessening the pressure on them. I have already noticed the difference especially when climbing stairs. l've learned so many important health facts including knowing the healthy numbers I should attain besides blood pressure and total cholesterol. The HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose numbers are vital to overall health. The invaluable information contained in the HeartSmarts program is guiding me toward better personal health and that of my family. l've spoken with several people about HeartSmarts and have one person who is looking forward to having Dr. James present the program in her church.
111John1:2 "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
“I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me”
Proverbs 14:30 – A Heart at Peace gives Life to the Body!
I want to Thank our Wonderful Instructor, Dr. Cheryl James, Ambassador & Facilitator for the Heart Smarts Education Program for bringing us this great workshop. This information is so much better with an instructor to guide us, inform us, answer our questions, share and to interact with us. Dr James helps to bring it all together! I also thank all our participants, especially my fellow Wonders of Wisdom Retirees Ministry (WOW) who gave up our time slot to learn this valuable information.
So, like in previous years about this time, I continue eating the holiday goodies & treats, slowly feeling the calories increase and the doldrums begin. I start exercising, but still eat & eat & eat! Got to lose that weight! I was very excited about starting the Heart Smarts Program in September as I knew it would give me a headstart to losing all the weight I needed to lose and look svelte, curvy & Great by January, my birth month! The education I received was more than about just losing weight! The program is a trusty guide, a supplement, a tool that I can rely on towards a healthy nutritious lifestyle change! From week to week I listened and realized that I should think more about what I am putting into my mouth! Read the Food Labels! Be physically active! Make Colorful Food presentations on my plate (I learned from Mom)! Less Sugar! Less Salt/Sodium, Less Fat! Know My Numbers! More Veggies/Fruit! Less Meat! Make Better Food Choices! I loved the simple tips & suggestions (boiled parsley, ginger/garlic, lemon, etc.) offered by Dr. James. This program is Spiritually Based for we need to be informed as to what God said if we are under His authority. I need to take care of my body with good nutrition,so I can go out and Do God’s work! My doctor was so impressed when I spoke to her about this program. I am gradually educating her about a few things. I will no longer accept from her, “Your lab work is good.” I will say to her, “What ARE my numbers.” And the best part I am proud to say is that from now on, I Will Know My Numbers! My family history includes, Hypertension, Diabetes & High Cholesterol! A Heart Attack claimed my father at age 51! That is too young to die! I did lose a few pounds and a few inches off the waist! I am here to proudly say because of my participation in the Heart Smarts Education Program, my posttest readings & all my lab work were normal or near desirable! What a Wonderful Testimony!
So now, let us continue to share this valuable information we all learned in the past 12 weeks! Just as we continue to grow in our relationship with God, we must also equip ourselves with knowledge & skills to live our BEST Life!