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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Linda Dances & Cooks to Stay Heart Healthy!

Meet Linda!
Westminster Fibers has been a big support system for Jimmy Beans Wool since the very beginning in 2002 - and now with our expansion into fabric! Linda Pratt is the Consumer Marketing Manager for Westminster and while she doesn't have a heart-wrenching Stitch Red story, she sets a fantastic example of how to stay healthy, be aware of what goes into your body (and how much), and reminds us that we are only as old as we feel - all valuable lessons to remember! 

Why did your company choose to get involved with the Stitch Red campaign? What does the Stitch Red campaign/fighting heart disease mean to you and those you work with?

Jimmy Beans Wool began purchasing Rowan Yarns from Westminster Fibers when the business opened in 2002. Since they, we have had a great collaborative business relationship, supporting Laura and Jimmy Beans Wool in several projects (and we couldn't be more thankful for their support!) 

While we have always respected Laura's talents as a merchant, we remain in awe over her ability to move awareness of her business and the entire hand-knitting industry into mediums outside of our normal channels. Through her hard efforts, Jimmy Beans Wool has become a recognized retailer in the national media and government.

So soft & squishy - Rowan Lima "La Paz"
When Laura first proposed the Stitch Red project, and working with The Heart Truth®, we knew Westminster Fibers had to be involved. We all could relate to heart disease - it had taken the lives of many close to our personal and corporate families. It was already part of our personal and company lives; many of our staff chose to eat healthy at lunchtime and others participated in walking daily or exercising outside of the office.

What product did your company create for the Stitch Red campaign? What was the inspiration behind it?

We offer the proceeds from our beautiful Rowan Lima yarn in the vivid La Paz red shade to support the Stitch Red campaign. Lima is a super-soft baby alpaca mixed with a bit of merino wool and nylon for strength. The red shade we offer is very deep ruby, which mirrors our support and belief in this cause. 

Westminster Fibers has also supported Knit Red with four garments. Three Rowan designers - Kim Hargreaves, Sarah Hatton and Martin Storey all offered signature designs in a variety of our best-selling Rowan yarns. We added a fourth design when top North American designer Deborah Newton agreed to design her leaf lace and cable cardigan in our SMC Select Silk Wool - a luscious aran-weight blend.

What's a heart healthy tip and/or recipe you would like to share?

What a cookbook collection!
I love to cook. At last count, I own about 90 cookbooks. I am most inspired by Mediterranean and Southeast Asian cooking. I love adding spinach to a meal - either simply sauteing in a bit of olive oil with a little sea salt and ground pepper, or adding garlic, onions, tomatoes, spices and making an Indian-inspired saag. 

I have recently become a convert to food journaling. I am obese and although I have tried to eat thoughtfully for years, it was not until I started journaling on the My Fitness Pal program, that I was able to address portion control.

At any time during the day I can see where my calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. levels are. It's become a positive motivator. I am finding this an achievable challenge and share my findings with three friends who are also participating, so there is common understanding and support. 

What gets your heart racing?

I have been participating in group exercise classes for over 20 years. I've taken classes in high, low and plyometric aerobics; step, cardio, kickboxing, funk and salsa dancing, and free weight classes. It is something to look forward to after work or first thing on a Saturday morning to start the weekend off right!

Zumba Lady Gaga day! Linda is in the upper right corner!
For the last three years, Zumba is what gets my heart racing about four times a week. For me, it is the perfect exercise program. The music is formatted to create an hour-long interval workout that increases my heart rate and burns calories faster for hours afterwards. Short breaks between songs guarantee that I am able to stay hydrated and still keep the aerobic intensity level I need. 

The other attraction is, of course, the music! It's a fresh world-inspired beat with some of the same songs that you hear on the radio. It keeps my heart pounding, my brain clear to focus on the movement and intensity and overall, I feel younger than my years (we like to remember that we are only as old as we feel!) The atmosphere in the studio before, during and after class is warm and cheerful. I've met and kept many friends from class - which is another health benefit!

Zumba is really taking exercising to a whole new level! We think the big attraction is being a part of a fun, energizing class where you don't think about the activity as a chore; just enjoy the tunes and have fun - oh, and burn calories while you're at it! What do YOU enjoy that gets your heart racing?

Thank you, Linda for sharing your story!

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