East Texas cardiac patients grow heart-healthy habits

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TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL) – An outdoor garden is allowing some cardiac rehabilitation patients to grow fresh produce along with heart-healthy habits.

In six raised beds outside the Christus St. Michael Rehabilitation Hospital, various vegetables are grown. Patient-planted and cared for from seed to plate.

“We’re called the CROP Club, it’s an acronym that stands for Christus Reapers of Produce,” said Carol Blair, cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation supervisor.

The CROP Club’s members are folks in cardiac-pulmonary rehab looking for a fresh start.

“I got healthy after I had a heart bypass surgery,” said Benny Herrington. “Had to get my act together.”

According to organizers, health guidelines suggest half of your plate should consist of vegetables, and raising the food by hand helps encourage more mindful meals.

“I was a meat and potatoes kid and then when I got older, I started liking vegetables and spinach and greens,” said Marshall Huff.

“There’s nothing like a fresh tomato or bell pepper that kind of gets them excited about their diet and eating better for their heart,” said Blair.

The club’s harvest is shared with other patients excited for the fresh food and help with a more heart-healthy diet.

“They love it. They scarf ‘em up in a hurry,” said Huff.

Organizers said the plants growing in the garden are symbolic of the patients’ growth in their rehabilitation journey.

The CROP Club tends to their garden year-round, rotating what they grow by the season.

If you’d like more information about the club, you can contact the Christus St. Michael cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation department at (903) 614-4262.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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