Category Archives: heart failure

Oscar Night Guilt Free Nachos

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Oscar Night Guilt Free Nachos

I was walking this morning and trying to decide on something fun to make to snack on tonight while watching the Oscars! I usually will just do white air popped popcorn with salt free seasoning. But I think tonight needs a fun snack!

I decided on some yummy guilt free nachos! Super easy and of course low in sodium!

Depending on the size you are feeding just adjust portions accordingly. I am just cooking for me so I baked it in a small loaf size pan.

First I put in a layer of low sodium tortilla chips. I use Marine Coast Vegetables Sea Chips, they get their slight salt flavor from seaweed and kelp instead of salt, so they are only 65mg sodium per 17 chip serving.

Top the layer in 1/2oz of finely shredded Swiss cheese. Then add another layer of chips and 1/2oz of Swiss cheese.

Place in 250 degree oven for approx 10 min to heat and melt the cheese.

While the chips are in the oven, chop 1/4 cup fresh tomato, 1/4 cup low sodium sour dill spears, and 10 Santa Barbara Olive Co. Low sodium black olives.

Take chips out of the oven and top with chopped mixture and spoon on top 2tbsp Walden Farms Bacon Vegetable dip.

The tray I made is about 2 servings, calories per serving is 245, and even better is the low sodium of 227mg per serving!!

I dare you to find a low sodium nacho with this much flavor and fun for you next snack night!!

If you find one be sure to let me know 😉

Let the countdown begin…

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Let the countdown begin…

It was a really good activity day today. I think it was due to the nerves driving me to get in as much cardio as I can before my tests. Started the morning with a nice mile walk with Sammie dog. Managed to take time at lunch to get in another 3/4 mile. And even got in an after work walk with Sammie dog again. According to my FitBit tracker, I got in 7600 steps so far today! Not bad at all, and I feel great!

I have had a great food day as well. Yummy crumpet and egg whites that I posted for breakfast. Salad for my mid morning, and homemade no salt added chicken veggie and rice soup for lunch. For dinner I decided to cook a good size plate of food since I have to fast after midnight. (So there is also room for a late snack)

Tonight’s creation is 98% lean turkey patty, topped with creamy Swiss cheese, sautéed mushroom spinach and Vidalia onion, on a bed of kelp noodles.

The meal is super simple, spray a sauté pan with cooking spray and start to cook onion and mushroom on low heat so they sweat and make a nice moisture in the pan. Add fresh spinach and mix. Cover pan so the spinach will sweat and cook down.

In a skillet, spray with cooking spray and cook turkey patty until fully cooked, turning half way through to evenly cook both sides. In the last 2 min top the patty with Swiss cheese and cover skillet to help steam melt the cheese.

While the Swiss in melting, go back to the mushroom and spinach mix and take a spoonful and put on top of the Swiss turkey patty. With the rest add a handful of rinsed kelp noodles and 1 tablespoon low sodium Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly until noodles are warmed through and softened.
You can add any no salt spices you would like to taste. I love just the natural flavor of mushroom and spinach so I don’t add any spices to this dish.

Place the noodle mix on the plate and top with the turkey patty and enjoy!

Healthy and filling dinner for only 256 calories, 10 carbs and 211mg sodium! Thanks to the kelp noodles we cut approx 200 calories that traditional spaghetti noodles would add, as well as cut approx 35 carbs!

Grab a big plate, eat up and feel no guilt! Your heart will thank you!

Rick’s Pickles

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I have managed to find an amazing selection of low sodium pickles!!! You can find them at Ricks picks. They are out of New York and a little pricy but totally worth it if you love the taste of a deli dill pickle but without all the sodium that is so bad for you!!

Here are some of my favorites from their selection!!

sliced dill pickles
low sodium pickle

slices of life

sliced dill pickles

$9.99 | 15 oz.
Here’s a simple pleasure: our traditional sliced dill pickle in an aromatic brine. These crispy slices are made with the freshest kirby cucumbers and premium spices, so treat yourself to this classic with your next sandwich. Slices of Life are a popular craving of expectant mothers … celebrate your life with the pickle ofpregnancy!
whole dill pickleslow sodium pickle

kool gherks

whole dill pickles

$9.99 | 22 oz.

Kool Gherks are our aromatic take on the traditional whole dill pickle. Crunch them whole or slice them up thin and serve with cheeses, charcuterie, even on bread and butter. We use a lot less salt than most picklers, so the brine is great for sipping, and a wonderful aid to digestion. Kool Gherks were prizewinners at the Rosendale International Pickle Festival.

our everyday, anytime pickle.low sodium pickle

classic sours

our everyday, anytime pickle.

$7.99 | 24 oz.

We all puckered up to simple, classic flavor of deli spears as kids. Now we can revisit delicious past with these crunchy, all-natural pickles… minus gunk of artificial ingredients.

Calculate Heart Attack Risk

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Do you know how these controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome?

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • being overweight or obese
  • physical inactivity

It’s essential that you measure your risk of heart disease and make a plan for how to prevent it in the near future. Use this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease in the next 10 years. It will also check to see if you may have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that greatly increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes. This Risk Assessment can be use by people age 20 or older who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.

After you have finished using the tool, you can print a copy of your risk assessment results, risk factor summary report, metabolic syndrome assessment and action plans for those areas you need to work on in order to reduce your risk.

Learn your Risk Graphic Text

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-Risk-Assessment_UCM_303944_Article.jsp

One of my favorite snacks

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Posted by Elise on Apr 16, 2007

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

I can imagine, that if you didn’t grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you’ve always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes

METHOD

How to Cook an Artichoke

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

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2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.

5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.

artichoke-3.jpg6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to Eat an Artichoke

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

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2. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

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Continue until all of the petals are removed.

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3. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

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Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

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Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

In addition to following a healthy diet and incorporating important heart nutrients, you must also exercise to maintain the health of your heart. Exercise can help you prevent as well as reverse heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, you should include a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, three to four days a week.

Why is exercise important?
Many studies have proven conclusively that making improvements to and maintaining your physical fitness will significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease and all other illnesses. Put simply, regular exercise keeps your body in a healthy condition, and a healthy body can ward off disease much better than an unconditioned one.

Let’s take a look at the various types of exercise and why it can improve your health:

Aerobic Exercise
The word aerobic means “oxygen-producing”, and as such aerobic exercise stimulates the production of oxygen. Aerobic exercises include those where you are in motion including walking, running, biking, swimming, etc., exercises which make your heart rate increase for an extended period of time.

When your heart rate increases, this means more blood is being circulated around your body, providing necessary oxygen to your cells and tissues. Regular aerobic exercise is very important for maintaining heart health.

Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise comprises short-lived, intense bursts such as sprints and weight lifting. Whereas aerobic exercise is best for cardiovascular strength and endurance, anaerobic exercise is best for muscle strength and flexibility. This will help you maintain your health and avoid injury.

Should you do aerobic or anaerobic exercise?
Although it depends on the time you can allot to exercise each day, we recommend a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise if possible. This way you can improve your cardiovascular health as well as increase your muscle strength. Adding stretching to your routine will also warm up and loosen your muscles so you can avoid injury.

Following are the many benefits of a regular exercise routine. It’s easy to see why exercise is so important:

1. Improving cardiovascular efficiency – heart & lung functioning.

2. Improving strength and endurance.

3. Increasing energy levels and metabolism.

4. Relieving stress and tension.

5. Increasing range of motion and flexibility.

TIPS AND TRICKS

1. Before you start any exercise program, consult your physician to make sure you don’t have any heart conditions or other health problems that might prevent you from safely performing certain exercises. Your physician also might be able to recommend a program that is right for you.

2. Set aside time each week to exercise, and make sure you are consistent. Try to work out at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, with a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activities (i.e. running on the treadmill and lifting weights).

3. Start slow! Don’t rush into an exercise program. Rather, take your time and ease into it, increasing your time, intensity and/or weights gradually as you go along. You will see much better results like this, rather than going overboard with it.

4. Make sure you stretch before and after exercising. It is important that you warm up before you begin any activity, and cool down once you are finished. if you do not adequately stretch your muscles before and after you exercise, you will be much more susceptible to injury or muscle tearing. We recommend 5-10 minutes of warming up before you begin, and at least another 5 minutes of cooling down post workout.

5. Keep water with you at all times, make sure you are hydrated throughout your workout.

6. Maintain a steady workout regimen. Sporadic workouts are not the way to go about it. Stick to a schedule. Also, make sure you maintain a heart healthy diet and include important heart nutrients to improve and maintain your heart health.

BBQ Vegetable Chicken Kebabs

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We had a few days of humid and rainy weather so the BBQ has been out of commission most the week. However who can pass up a good Chicken Kebab?

It is such a simple meal to put together. As I have stated on many occasion I love the natural flavors of vegetables. This certainly hasn’t always been the case, but it is amazing how the pallet can change. Once a junk food, fast food and greasy food addict, I now find myself fully satisfied by natural healthy food. I love the absence of the groggy feeling that always came from the overindulgence of high fat processed items. I have grown to love the lack of hangovers and withdrawals from my life.

This morning I woke up and got homework completed, cooked breakfast, and did some research regarding the Jehovah Witness view of creation and the age of the earth. My husband and I had a conversation about this topic yesterday, and I needed to go searching for the proper information to help sway his opinion. It seems that he was under the misinformation that Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in the scientific evidence that the earth dates back as much as 4 billion years. So I had to find out for my self, and to my joy, in the publication Was Life Created it is stated that geologists have shown that the earth is 4 billion years old and astronomers have formulated that the universe may be as much as 15 billion years old and that this does not contradict Genesis because it is an indeterminate amount of time that the creative days took. Fundamentalist Christians believe that the creation days were literal 24 hour days, however there is no foundation for this. Moses referred to all 6 creative days as one day, and even when Jehovah called the time of light day and the time of dark night, this indicates that the term day is relative to different periods of lengths of time.

It seems that I have managed to poke a small hole in my husbands theory that he already knows all the answers that they are going to give him, and that they don’t agree with his view.  I must have been visibly overjoyed and full of energy because my husband asked if I had gotten into his coffee and was high on caffeine. This was not the case, I was just full of joy and a spiritual contentment. I hope that over time I can begin to inch through some of the things he is so convinced that he has to fight against. At least this is one we can mark off the list.

However back to my Kebabs, I used a combination of mushroom, onion, sweet mini bell peppers, and boneless skinless chicken tender pieces. The chicken tenders were marinated in greek yogurt, garlic powder and dill. Cut all the veggies and chicken into about 1 inch cubes and skewer alternating items leaving space for even cooking.

 

 

Grill the skewers on a hot BBQ until the vegetables have a lovely char and the chicken tender cubes are cooked all the way through.

 

 

 

Moving Forward

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It is amazing how quickly things can change. Hard to believe that 4 months ago I was in a bed in an ICU unit. If there was ever a testament to the power of healthy lifestyle changes, I would be it!

In 4 months I have managed to keep strong and clean my life of the toxins of alcohol, and cigarettes. I have improved the quality of my health through proper nutrition that includes low fat, low sugar and most importantly extremely low sodium. I have increased my ability to move and workout. In relation to that I have also lost 32 pounds, thanks to my new lifestyle!

My heart ejection fraction has improved from 20% to 35%! I no longer have trouble with dizziness and blurry vision when I walk. On the other hand I have been able to walk 1 mile every day in the last 2 weeks. Today was a test of my endurance, I increased my walk to 2 miles!! It was a push, but I did it! 

From not being able to walk to the mail box, to walking 2 miles in my rural area is a wonderful improvement! I am so amazed and proud of the changes I have made and the strength that I have found to not only keep it moving forward, but learn to love it!

Honey Mustard Dill Chicken

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I officially made it through the first week of school without any major problems. Adjusting to the extra work is harder then I thought, but it is all falling into place. I have managed to walk with my dog a mile every day. Tomorrow is the 1st, and I have planned to extend the walk to 2 miles! I have been doing the 1 mile walk for 2 weeks now, so I think I am ready to up the distance. I will take it easy, and of course have my phone, in case there are any problems. I am so happy with the progress I have made so far. I finally broke the 280 mark, my weight is down to 278. That is down 32 pounds from when I got home from the hospital January 6th. I have officially been free of alcohol, cigarettes, salt and caffeine for 122 days. Hard to think back to just one month ago, I could barely get down the driveway to the mail box. It is amazing what a difference good nutrition, good doctors,  positive attitude and a spiritual foundation can make! 

I have fallen behind on posting here, but I also have fallen behind on making fun food. Have to admit there have been a few nights of salads, and bowls of fruit. 

This meal however was super yummy, and pretty easy! 

Ingredients for 2 servings:

8oz boneless skinless chicken breast tenders

1tbsp Honey mustard

1 tbsp dill 

1tbsp greek yogurt

1 cup White rice

1 cup Summer squash slices

Mix the greek yogurt, dill and honey mustard together and coat the chicken tenders. Place in covered container in fridge and let flavors mingle for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375° place chicken tenders on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 min depending on size, turning once. Always cook chicken until there is no pink left in the middle.

The rice is just prepared as indicated on package, and topped with spray butter and pepper. The Summer squash is sliced about 1/2 inch thick and grilled in a skillet that has been sprayed with butter flavor cooking spray. I love the flavor of summer squash so I choose not to season them, just let the natural grilled flavor come through. This is one easy, healthy and low calorie meal.

The beginning of awesome things to come

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Yesterday was the first day of my new online classes. I have decided to pursue a bachelor degree in Business management and technology. Iwill be taking classes online and thanks to transfer credits it will only take me until 2/2014 to complete!

I have already in the last 2 days found that it is going to take some work to balance my time. The new responsibilities added to my days  have left me lacking in time for all my workouts and cooking and housework. I think tomorrow I will sit down and create a schedule of duties and decide how to balance things better. The last thing I would want to do is get discouraged, or let any of my other healthy life activities slip.

I have faith that Jehovah will steer me in the right direction and allow me to find the right balance for my life. There are many people that are far busier than me. I have no children to raise or job schedule to work around, so this should be no problem at all, as long as I stay focused and driven.

Tomorrow I have to get back in the kitchen and create satisfying food for dinner, rather then just settle for a cheese sandwich like this evening. Most important in these initial stages of adjustment is to not let my nutrition slide!! My food is what gives me joy, energy and life!