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DSN Newswire

1000+ Attend Dallas Heart2Heart Conference

Debra Peek Haynes speaks at Heart2Heart conference. © Chris Morgan Photography

More than a thousand people turned out to Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas on Saturday, October 12, 2013, for a Heart2Heart talk on heart health and the healing properties of a healthy diet.  The Heart2Heart conference is a project of passion for Friendship West First Lady Debra Peek-Haynes.  “I want people in the African-American community to take control of their health,” she told the audience as she shared her journey to healing by eating healthy.

Mrs. Peek-Haynes’ passion for holistic healing developed 22 years ago when five top physicians told her she would not be able to get pregnant.  With the help of a holistic gynecologist, Mrs. Peek-Haynes changed her diet and was able to give birth to her daughter, Abeni, who is now 21-years old.

“I was told I was in premature menopause and my cycle had stopped,” Mrs. Peek Haynes said.  “My cycle restarted in two months after I changed my diet.  I was pregnant within a year.”

Mrs. Peek-Haynes says she ate a lot of dark greens and seaweed during that time.  ”We have to learn how to eat right to live better and have energy,” Mrs. Peek-Hayes told the crowd.  “We also have to teach our children how to eat right before they develop bad habits.  There are consequences to eating bad food.”

Mrs. Peek-Haynes cautioned the audience to stop eating white sugar and flour. “White sugar is a drug.  It is toxic.  Use natural sweeteners like agave and Stevia instead.”

The crowd laughed as Mrs. Peek-Haynes told them to be careful of the oils they use, “What is a canola?  Have you ever seen a canola?”  She then gave tips on the best types of oil to use for marinating, baking and sautéing.

Her presentation was full of tips on different foods and their healing properties as well as substitutes for bad food ingredients.  She concluded her presentation by cooking up some healthy collard greens and a vegetarian stir-fry that included raw cashews and a delicious seasoning sauce made with fresh ginger.  Men from the audience who sampled the food gave it a thumbs-up.

Although Debra Peek-Haynes is not a licensed health professional, she can explain how to avoid many health problems like diabetes and heart disease by having a proper diet.  She provides practical tips from a layperson’s perspective in her new book, The Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Living.  In it, she describes how to substitute good ingredients for bad ingredients as well as exchanging good habits for bad habits.  The book is a guide for the entire family on how to develop a healthy lifestyle.

During the Heart2Heart Conference, Dallas cardiologist Dr. G. Mark Jenkins gave the audience some food for thought on heart health.  “Forty-seven percent of black women have heart disease,” Jenkins told the audience of men and women.  “Health insurance is great, but it doesn’t equal good health.  If you don’t eat right and take care of yourself you will get sick.”

Jenkins warned that the circumference of a woman’s waist should not be larger than 35 inches.  He added, “If you are 30 pounds overweight, it is the same as being a diabetic.”

The Title Sponsor for the Dallas conference was AARP.  Lawrence Randle, with AARP, gave the crowd a quiz on the Affordable Care Act while explaining the importance of having health insurance.  Other sponsors included Kroger, American Airlines and Home Depot.

In addition to healthy lifestyle tips from Mrs. Peek-Haynes and Dr. Jenkins, the Heart 2 Heart Conference included fitness tips from Dallas personal trainer Ava Combs, inspiration from gospel artist Angela Blair and laughter from the perspective of comedian/actress Ajai Sanders.  Body-language expert Linda Clemons was the dynamic Mistress of Ceremonies.

Immediately following Mrs. Peek-Haynes’ lecture and cooking demonstration, attendees participated in a food tasting.  The food samplings not only included Mrs. Peek-Haynes’ healthy recipes, but also food samples from healthy chef Cassondra Armstrong, author of Good Food Good Meat; Gwendolyn Jenkins, author of Recipes for a Neo Southern Lifestyle; and culinary-team leader Mary Helen Ponder.

Mrs. Peek-Haynes is preparing to take her conference on the road for a 12-city, mega-church tour in 2014.

For more information on Mrs. Peek-Haynes and her book, visit

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