Monthly Archives: March 2012



Last weeks blood work came back perfect. My cardiology team thinks we finally have the right dosages on my medications. My blood pressure has come up a bit, I am sitting around 95/56 most days. This is an acceptable range to go ahead with the cardioversion that had to be postponed. The procedure is scheduled for Thursday the 5th at 1pm.

Unfortunately this conflicts with the memorial at the Kingdom Hall that evening, but I decided that my health is more important and the longer we wait the less chance this will work. So Thursday I will be praying to Jehovah that this works and helps to improve my life even more than it already has been.


Adventure Trying to Eat Out


Had a busy day, out and about yesterday. Got lots of laundry done, Mrs. Geneva showed me where the Habitat for Humanity thrift store was, as well as the library. While we were in Covington we stopped at Piccadilly for lunch. The thought was that since this was a place that had a cafeteria style, you pick and choose the pieces of the meal you want, it should good choices of food for me to eat there.  Think again. Upon arriving the food smelled great, and the variety was wonderful. I went straight to the vegetable section to see what they had to offer, a lovely colorful array for choices, red potatoes, broccoli, corn, carrots, Lima beans, green beans.

I immediately notices that all the vegetable choices were all rather juicy looking pans. Now of course this could be from sauces, or just water and natural condensation from a steaming process, so I had to ask how they were prepared. Turns out most of the vegetables were cooked in a bacon base, and the others were cooked in a butter base. None of them were just steamed without any sauces or butters. So I explained to the woman that I am on a very low salt diet and need just plain vegetables with out any seasoning or sauces. She proceeded to shake her head and just plainly say “Well you best just go down to the salad then”. No offer to see if they could possibly steam me some thing, not a shred of interest in accommodating my needs, just a direction away from her section. 

So I proceeded down to the salads at the end. Now mind you, this is not a salad bar, this is a bin of lettuce and a bin of tomato and they put up a line of  little side dish bowls with a touch of lettuce 2 slices of tomato and then sprinkle with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Well again I can not just grab and go with cheese and bacon. So I ask this lady if it would be ok to get a little plate with 2 servings of just the lettuce and tomato, no cheese or bacon. She was nice and did this for me without hassle. I also noticed some little fresh fruit bowls, made sure they weren’t canned fruit in a syrup, and added them to my tray. They had no low sodium options for dressing, and you would have thought I was speaking Japanese when I asked if they just had plain vinegar, so i grabbed a couple lemon wedges from by the tea and called it a meal.  I grabbed a root beer at the end of the line, since it was the only non-caffeinated choice other than water. This little lunch cost me $7.50.

Lucky for me, I had a container Planters Nut-rition mixed nuts and some Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips in the car. So I topped my lettuce with a handful of those and my squeezed lemon and it made a tasty salad in the end. 

Now I don’t want this to discourage anyone into thinking that you can’t eat out and enjoy a meal with friends. You can! I had food that was needed to fuel my body for the rest of the afternoon, we had great conversation, we even ran into another member of our kingdom hall and had a nice talk with him as well. All in all it was a nice lunch. 

The lesson in all of this experience is the importance of asking questions, and not being afraid to find out how things are prepared.  I like to think of it in the same way as someone who has allergies, you would not take a chance that something was prepared with an ingredient that could send you into an allergic shock would you? In addition, just as someone with allergies would carry an Epipen, or a diabetic may have to take their Insulin with them when they go out, I like to make sure I have no salt snacks in my purse or car. This way I am never stuck without options of things to eat. To me it is no different, this is a part of my medical process, my food is a key ingredient in my recovery and is as valuable as any of my prescriptions. 



90 Days


January 1st I was laying in an ICU unit attached to machines. I was faced with the daunting decisions of how to go forward and survive and live a full life, with heart failure. It seemed so overwhelming at first. When I came home, my head was swimming in all the guidelines I had been given, restrictions I had, and worries regarding how I would ever be able to follow it all. 

90 days later, I have found a great balance in my life, and managed to make it fun. What I thought was going to be a very hard task, giving up salt, caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes all at the same time, turned out to be a great adventure. I had to have a conversation with myself, did I want to live a long happy life, and fight my addictions? Was I strong enough to fight this fight every day, one day at a time for the rest of my life? Yes, I was! 

From the very start I have had to change my relationship with food. I have had to change my relationship with alcohol. I have had to change my relationship with life!  I have been determined to be a survivor, not let this condition disable me. If there are things that I can do to strengthen my heart and improve my quality of life, I am going to do it. 

I have strengthened my relationship with god. I have asked and allowed him to provide me with the strength to keep up this fight and to win the daily battles. This has opened my life to an amazing support system of people and teachings that give me faith in myself. I am not sure exactly what it is, but I am sure that god has a purpose for me, and this is all part of the process of learning and growing.

When it comes to the food in my life, at first, I thought it was going to be a long boring life of under seasoned food that was just necessary to live, but no longer fun. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have had more fun, already, researching ingredients, reading labels, tasting herbs and spices, and finding the best resources for shopping. I quickly learned that this was neither a bland or boring way to cook or live. Soon after I started this lifestyle, my taste buds started to change and the foods began to taste better, the seasonings began to have a depth and flavor of their own. As my mind and body began to adjust and overcome the longstanding addiction to alcohol, so did my taste buds overcome their addiction to salt. I never knew how amazing natural foods tasted. never did I know the depths of flavor that herbs and spices have on their own.

I have for a long time have had a screen saver on my computer that I created that said “nothing tastes as good, as skinny feels”. I have had to change that because my relationship with my life has changed. I no longer live with the “diet” mentality, thinking constantly about all the things I can’t have, wishing I could have those things that I shouldn’t. I love the the things I eat, and even more I love the healthier steps I am taking in my life. Rather than being miserable, and gasping for air, and hoping I don’t die. I now live, create, smile, enjoy and look forward to everyday I have. I appreciate every little step in life and every accomplishment on a daily basis. My life is no longer a search for a buzz, a party, or comfort food  to forget my worries. My life is exactly what it should be, it is a Life that is being lived healthier, happier and will hopefully be longer and forever full of new foods, spices and fun. 

Daily Numbers


*** Always check with your doctor before starting any diet restricted to below 1200 calories per day.  My caloric intake is extremely low due to my current medically sedentary lifestyle. The average adult should have a caloric intake of 1500 – 1800 calories per day***

Weight Calories Sugars Carbs Fat Protein Cholesterol Sodium Fiber
282.4 1448 64 99.5 66.54 30 215 1227 19

Swiss Salsa Chicken and Stir Fry


Today’s adventure combines my love of Salsa and swiss cheese! A lot of the time I don’t plan I just go into the kitchen and stare into the fridge and start tossing things together. Voila…sometimes it is good and sometimes it isn’t so good. Lucky for you, today we have a good one to put on the record.

This is a simple dish, consisting of chicken and a frozen stir fry mix with some added celery for some extra crunch. I generally just use cooking spray for stir fry vegetables and very little seasoning (unless I am using a stir fry sauce for a dish). I have grown to love all the natural flavors that come out when you cook vegetables. It is your choice to season your vegetables with any variety of herbs and spices you like, if needed. or choose a vegetable mix that has great strong flavors that compliment each other. I really love Birds Eye Broccoli Stir Fry Blend. This has a nice mix of broccoli, carrot, mushroom, onion and watercress. I sometimes add extra mushrooms, celery, or carrot depending on the craving I am having at the time.


4 – 2oz. Chicken breast tenders

1 slice aged swiss cheese

3 tbsp Newman’s Own Organic Mild Chunky Salsa

1 tbsp Mrs Dash Chicken seasoning mix

2 cups Broccoli Stir Fry Mix Birds Eye

2 stalks of Celery Chopped


Pre-heat oven to 375

Coat the chicken breast in chicken seasoning blend. Place on baking sheet and top each piece with 1/2 tbsp of salsa. Bake for 15-20 min depending on size of tenders. Place a strip of swiss cheese on top of each tender and bake for additional 5 min, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

While the chicken is baking, cook stir fry mix. spray skillet with butter flavor cooking spray and stir fry the frozen vegetables until warm but not totally cooked. At that point add the celery. This way the celery will not get over cooked and soggy, and will add a crunch to the dish.


Daily Numbers


*** Always check with your doctor before starting any diet restricted to below 1200 calories per day.  My caloric intake is extremely low due to my current medically sedentary lifestyle. The average adult should have a caloric intake of 1500 – 1800 calories per day***

Weight Calories Sugars Carbs Fat Protein Cholesterol Sodium Fiber
282.4 1000 30.04 87.15 23.67 26.96 247.5 701 15.82

Not Your Average Pickle?


The one thing I have missed the most…PICKLES! My favorite snack is the crunch of a dill pickle. I would eat them by themselves, on a burger, wrapped in a slice of cheese, even drink the brine out of the jar! No wonder I have a heart problem, I was pickling myself .

Many times a week I would make a sandwich that just consisted of mayo, sharp cheddar cheese and dill pickle on white bread. When it comes to pickles I would attack them like a toddler left alone with Halloween candy.

Well in a few days the void may be over! I have found a source of NO SALT PICKLES!! It is $7.00 for a 32oz jar, so i ordered one jar to see how they are. Believe me if they are good I will be ordering a lot more 🙂 Rather than the normal 300-400mg sodium per oz, these have 0mg sodium and only 12 calories per oz!

Stay tuned for the verdict on the flavor and pickle craving satisfaction…the waiting for delivery is the hardest part!

Next in Pickles >>
Price: $7.00
Item Number: 55309
Sodium per Serving: 0mg
It’s What You’ve Been Waiting For! 
A Sodium Free Gourmet Dill Pickle!
Buy it exclusively here at Healthy Heart Market!
It Is A Delicious Crunchy No Salt Dill Pickle With A Touch Of Garlic and Red Pepper.
  • It Is Salt Free!
  • Zero Sodium Per Serving! Compare this to an average of 250-300 mg sodium for a single serving salted pickle!
  • No salt substitutes or potassium derivatives have been used in making our pickle.
  • It is Fresh & Hand Packed in California.
  • All Natural flavors have been used, with a unique special blend of spices to compensate for not using salt.
  • No Artificial Flavors or Colors have been used!  And No artificial preservatives.
  • Two year shelf life when unopened and stored under a cool and dry environment.
  • Sold in a large 32 ounce glass jar.
  • Our special No Salt Dill Pickle recipe was developed by Delicious Concepts.  Email questions/comments to:

A Special Note from Healthy Heart Market regarding our unique No Salt Pickles: “Our No Salt Dill Pickles are a new taste experience and should not be compared to a salt brined pickle. They are pleasingly different. So, prepare yourself for a great new taste. Be health conscious and enjoy them!”

Nutritional Facts:
Serving size: 1 ounce (about 1/2 pickle)
Servings per container: about 20
Calories: 12
Total Fat: 0g
Sodium: 0mg
Total Carbohydrate: 2g
     Dietary Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 0g
Ingredients:  Fresh cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, sugar, natural calcium chloride (maintains crunchiness), garlic, spices, chili peppers, mustard seeds, natural flavors, polysorbate 80, extractives of turmeric (natural color).
Imported Herbs & Spices. No artificial flavors or colors. No benzoates, sorbates, potassium chloride or artificial preservatives.

Daily Numbers


*** Always check with your doctor before starting any diet restricted to below 1200 calories per day.  My caloric intake is extremely low due to my current medically sedentary lifestyle. The average adult should have a caloric intake of 1500 – 1800 calories per day***

Weight Calories Sugars Carbs Fat Protein Cholesterol Sodium Fiber
283.4 1221 91 155 35 68 100 390 14

Busy, Busy, Busy….


It has been a couple days since I posted, Sorry about that. I have been feeling much better the last few days since Dr. Hanna lowers some of my medication. I haven’t been getting dizzy and no blurry vision, YAY! My blood pressure is coming up a little, this morning I was up to 103/65, this is a huge improvement from the 64/44 i was at a week ago. I go do blood labs tomorrow, so we will find out how my kidneys react to the medication changes. I get short of breath really fast, and my heart races faster since the changes, but at this point I would rather breath heavy then not be able to see. I sure hope the blood pressure stabilizes soon and they can do the cardioversion. Then maybe I can have even less symptoms to deal with.

Since I have had more energy and the ability to move around more, I got some house cleaning done, some good grocery shopping done (I actually made it through the whole store without losing my vision) and been able to do some rearranging around the house. it feels so good to be able to get up and do something!

Saturday was weekly bible study, and Sunday I was well enough to get up and make it to the Kingdom Hall for Watchtower Study. I always feel so much better about my ability to fight this health battle when I get to make it to fill my spiritual plate. Just being around such positive people and learning all the great things the bible has to offer makes it easier to get through each week. I thank god all the time for each day I manage to get through with out a set back. It is certainly by the grace of god that I have had the strength to quit smoking, drinking, caffeine, and salt all at the same time. Many people struggle each day with just one of those battles, I have managed to endure all four battles for 86 days now. I know that I by no means have been fighting alone, and I appreciate it every day.

I am also very excited to say that I have enrolled in an online Bachelor degree program. Since my mother works for Charter College, I can use their family waiver program and complete my degree online for free. I figured that as long as I can’t work, and am stuck at home with all this extra time on my hands, I may as well be learning something. I decided on Business and technology. I will be learning things like computerized accounting systems, e-commerce, project management and employment law. I am a sick individual and these subjects all have me very excited.

I have a few things in the works in the kitchen, I will port them as soon as I get the last tweaking of preparation right. I also have had requests for a list of some of my favorite no sodium seasonings and spice mixes…these are also soon to come.

Hope you all had a blessed weekend


Daily Numbers


*** Always check with your doctor before starting any diet restricted to below 1200 calories per day.  My caloric intake is extremely low due to my current medically sedentary lifestyle. The average adult should have a caloric intake of 1500 – 1800 calories per day***

Weight Calories Sugars Carbs Fat Protein Cholesterol Sodium Fiber
284.6 1070 16 83 60 85 392 1248 13