Good heart health is focus of Go Red for Women Luncheon in Denver

She may have been preaching to the choir — most everyone who attends the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Luncheon understands the benefits of eating well — but chefNikki Shaw knows that a friendly reminder never hurts.

So the wife of Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw took care to remind the 410 guests that it's just as easy to eat foods that are good for you as it is to grab a fat- and calorie-laden fast-food item to gobble on the go.

Knowing that some mornings she'd be rushed to the point where she wouldn't even have time to cook a vegetable-filled omelet, Shaw said she would steam or grill an assortment of vegetables on, say, a Sunday evening and then grab a handful to eat in the car as she drove carpool or headed to an appearance.

"Once I started eating veggies for breakfast, I noticed I had energy through the roof. They gave me mental clarity and the energy it takes to balance home, career and our kids' activities."

Go Red for Women, chaired by HealthONE president/CEOSylvia Young and emceed by media personalities Christine Chang and Denise Plante, is sponsored by Macy's and presented by the American Heart Association as a way to emphasize that incorporating good heart health practices into daily life is easier than one might think.

Shaw, a finalist on Season 3 of "The Next Food Network Star" and host of "Today's Flavor," a radio show streamed on 107.5 WBLS in New York, is also a featured chef for a number of entities, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Kaiser-Permanente, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association.

After lunch — a heart-healthy meal of chicken and veggies prepared by Ruben Garcia, chef at the Ritz-Carlton Denver — many of the guests remained for a cooking demonstration led byTanya Winfield, who had been a contestant on Season 15 of "The Biggest Loser," and to check out displays from a dozen or so companies that focus on healthy living.

From left, Mauren Tarrant, Christine Benero and Gretchen Hammer.

Kaiser-Permanente's Dr.Jandel Allen-Davis co-chaired the luncheon and presented the 2014 Impact Awards to a group that included the AHA's Teaching Gardens program, Great-West Financial, Irene Lofland, vice president and general auditor for DCP Midstream, and the family of the late Rekesha Harris. Harris, who had been a spokeswoman for the Go Red for Women program, died in January after being diagnosed with what was described as an extremely rare form of heart disease.

Jennifer Alderfer, left, and Becky Adix.

Trisha Hood, who has attended each of the 10 Go Red luncheons held in Denver, was there with her daughter, attorneyChelsey Russell, and a group of friends that included Louise Richardson, Cindi Burge and Gail Johnson.

Others supporting the cause were Mile High United Way's chief executive, Christine Benero; former Heart Ball chairmenCharlie and Patti Nelson; Kim Bimestefer, regional president for Cigna; Diane and Tom O'Connor, chairs of the AHA's Cor Vitae philanthropic giving society; Kimberly Arnold, who heads the Circle of Red donor group; and Jennifer Evans of the Polsinelli law firm.