Category Archives: Just me

Saturday Afternoon Veggie Roast

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Saturday Afternoon Veggie Roast

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On a lovely Saturday afternoon, with the breeze blowing through the open windows and the sound of cows in the back ground, it is a great time to toss and roast a variety of fresh veggies to snack on!

I have found this to be the easiest salt free healthy snack to give me the sensory crunch that is can snack on all day without guilt. I do a whole tray full and then put in a Tupperware container and just leave on the counter to snack on all day as I do stuff around the house.

What can be easier than this:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Cut fresh veggies to medium chunks. You can use anything you like. Today I did baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts!

Toss the veggies in 1tbsp of oil, I prefer coconut oil but you can use any oil you like! I have used peanut oil also for a fun taste.

Once the veggies are coated lightly in oil, I like to sprinkle with salt free seasoning. Today I used Mrs. Dash Caribbean blend. There are so many good salt free blends that it is almost limitless possibilities of flavor.

Spread the coated seasoned veggies on a cookie sheet in a single layer.

Place in oven and roast until desired doneness. I like a little crisp on mine, so I leave them in for about 30-40 min, until the smaller pieces start to blacken on the edges.

Take them out and let cool until you can eat them. I like them just by themselves, but you can use any dip also if you like! Walden farms make a couple good calorie free, carb free, gluten free dips, but they do contain sodium so best to use just a little bit of them if your diet is very sodium restrictive like mine.

HAPPY SATURDAY AND ENJOY!!

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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!

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!

Salt Substitutes

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I have had a few questions, and suggestions about Salt Substitutes. There is a few things to concider when you look into salt substitutes.  There are a range of substitute products

Salt consists of sodium chloride, and table salt often has iodine added in. Salt Substitutes are usually potassium chloride. There are also products like Morton’s Salt Lite that is a mix of sodium and potassium. When looking at the nutrition content in the 1/4 tsp serving of these products,

Salt (590mg sodium)

Diamond Crystal Salt Sense flake salt (390mg sodium)

Morton Salt Balance (440mg sodium, 200mg potassium)

Morton Lite Salt Mixture (290 mg of sodium, 350 mg potassium)

Morton Salt Substitute (0mg sodium, 610mg potassium)

Nu-Salt (0 mg sodium, 530mg potassium in 1/6tsp)

No Salt Original (0 mg, 650mg potassium)

lo-Salt (170mg sodium, 450mg potassium)

Biosalt (230mg sodium, 300mg potassium)

As you can see there is a lot of choices with a wide range of nutrition values. 

I had been wanting to do a seafood boil, since we live in Louisiana and it is crawfish season! I managed to find a no sodium liquid concentrate crab boil seasoning. This was a very happy find for me, since I previously thought boil was out of the question because the traditional Zatarain’s granulated boil seasoning has 5110mg sodium in 1/2oz. But the concentrate also calls for salt or salt substitute to be used. So, Of course, Just to be safe I asked my doctor about the use of substitutes when I saw him on Wednesday. This is the explanation I got from him regarding salt substitutes….

For some people, a salt substitute can be a good option for adding flavor to food without adding sodium. On the other hand, too much potassium can be bad too. Normally the body flushes out excess potassium through the kidneys, but people with certain medical conditions may have problems eliminating sodium which can lead to high potassium levels – a condition which can be dangerous. These include people with kidney disease, diabetes, and heart failure.

People who take certain medications are also at high risk of potassium imbalances if they use a salt substitute. These include certain blood pressure and heart medications. Even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can contribute to potassium imbalances in people using salt substitutes. For this reason, anyone who has medical problems or is using a blood pressure medication, heart medication, or anti-inflammatory should consult with their doctor before using a salt substitute.

Basically as a person with heart failure I need to avoid the potassium just as much as the salt. Think about the fact that Potassium Chloride is the lethal of the drugs used in the lethal injection used on death row. Though death by potassium is not a common thing, but it is possible. An adult can have serious medical reactions including death from as little as 10 tsp of potassium chloride. There are also cases of infants stopping breathing and even death with as little as 3/4tsp. 

I do not use or recommend salt substitutes in any of my cooking. I prefer herbs and spices for flavor. As I have said before, it only takes about 3 weeks of no salt cooking for your taste buds and cravings to change, and you will not miss(and even grow to despise)the taste of sodium. 

**This post and all posts on this blog are by no means meant to make any medical recommendation or decisions for anyone. Always consult a physician before making any major changes in you diet or exercise routine.

Sources: Nu-salt, Morton Salt, Biosalt, Losalt, Alsosalt, Potassium risk assesment UKSodium and potassium intake and risk of cardiovascular events

New Workout Charts

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My weight this morning was 280. I am down 29 lbs since I went to the hospital on Jan1st 2012. Actually, I weighed 335 when they checked me in, but by the time I got out of ICU I was at 309 because of the fluid that they took off or me. So I don’t count 335 as my starting point, I go with the 309 base weight after.

Since my A-Fib has converted and I have much more energy, it is time to start a workout routine. SO today I put together simple routines to get started 3 days a week with the dumbbells I have here at home.  I will also be walking the dog daily, planning on at least 20-30 min to get the heart going and burn some calories. I got out and walked her a mile in 30 min today, that is about 150 calories burnt so it is a start.

Here is a copy of my chart I made up to keep track of my workout, I did different sections of the body on Mon, Wed, and Fri, and added dates and boxes to mark off when I complete each exercise . Hopefully this keeps me on track to an even healthier me.

Tomorrow is my follow up EKG and Blood work to make sure my heart is still beating correctly. I have been feeling better than I have in years so I am sure this will be a good doctor visit. God has been on my side for this journey and continues to help give me the strength to steer my path in the right direction and to continue to improve my health and wellness.

Monday I start college again, It has been 7 years since I left my studies and I am ready to get back into the swing of it. I will be finishing a Bachelors in Business Management and Business Technology. Luckily I have enough transfer credits that I will finish these degrees in just 2 years. I am excited to have something new to fill my time and stimulate my brain.

Everything continues to look up and improve each and every week, I can’t wait to see what God has for me next!

WORKOUT CHART

Strength and Power

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Thursday turned out to be the most amazing day I could have had. After a long sleepless night, I went to the hospital for my scheduled Cardioversion. Frightened and shaking I was directed into a room to get in a gown and hair cap and wait to go to the ICU for the procedure. The nurse came in and put the IV in my arm, she then allowed my hubby and Mrs. Geneva to come in to wait with me. Soon after the man came in to do the EKG to make sure everything was ok to continue. 

After about 5 min, the nurse came back in and to all of our surprise, and great delight, the EKG showed a regular rhythm. She said the cardiologist would be in to talk to me in a minute.  When he came in, I am not sure who had a bigger smile, me or him. He explained that it seems my heart has converted itself out of A-fib. This can happen in some cases, and we just have to keep monitoring it, in case it goes back into A-fib.

Of all the scenarios that I had run through in my head, all the possible outcomes I had imagined, this was never one of them. Wednesday evening I made sure to call my grandmother and my mother for comfort, to both them and myself. I prayed to Jehovah for the strength to endure whatever lay ahead. I never ask him for anything unreasonable, or place any ultimatums on him. I know that in life things will happen that are not as we wish them to, so I try to always just simply pray for strength and wisdom. I find it unfair to ask him to “make sure things go alright”, mainly for the reasoning that there is no planning the outcome just strength in traveling the path.  

As I was getting ready to leave for the appointment on Thursday morning, the phone rang and Mrs. Geneva called to make sure all was going ok and that she would meet us at the hospital and her and her family were praying for me. She also was so happy to tell me that my hubby’s Uncle Sam had called her the night before. This was such a great thing to her because Sam is a teacher and Elder in New York at the Jehovah’s Wittiness Headquarters, for him to take the time to call her and thank her for all she had done for us was very special. We hadn’t talked to Sam in a few weeks so he didn’t know that I was going into the hospital the next day, until Geneva told him. Not even 2 minutes after I hung up from Geneva’s call, Sam called to let us know that he and his wife were praying for me and hoped all would be alright. immediately after that call, the state of Louisiana called to let me know that my medicaid was finally approved and that all my hospital bills, dated back to January 1st, would be covered. It was such a weight off my chest to know that the $24k in bills that have been haunting me were finally taken care of. 

On the ride to the hospital I thought about how amazing it was that, of all days for Sam to call and introduce himself to Geneva, he called the day before my Cardioversion. At just the right moment he was directed to call me that morning when I needed a little extra strength and love. The power of this simple action brought tears to my eyes. At that moment I was sure that everything was going to be ok, and that I was being surrounded with all the support I would need for anything that lies ahead.

Thanks to the outcome of the EKG, and my heart converting on it’s own, I was able to just get dressed and return home. This also gave me the ability to attend the Memorial for the Lord’s Evening Meal at the Kingdom Hall that evening. This was to be my first Memorial, as I have just began to study in the last year. I was rather disappointed when my Cardioversion was scheduled for the same day, but I found the procedure far to important to re-schedule. To my joy and amazement, I was blessed with the ability to attend in the end. I am constantly amazed at the changes in my life since I have opened up to the power and love of god.

Such a wonderful, strengthening and amazing series of events that happened. What a great testament to the path I have been traveling. What better solidification of daily strength to continue this fight to eat, and live healthy. if the last 3 months of this journey has been able to result in the my heart accomplishing a conversion on it’s own, what is next? I will be excited to see what the results of my next Echocardiogram are in a couple months, will my heart be stronger?

I thank god for the strength, the power and the love that has been injected into my life and continues to empower me every moment!

The Waiting Game…Again…

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Once again I am sitting around the house, waiting for my appointment for my Cardioversion. I feel like I am stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario. Wasn’t I just here? Waiting for Thursday to come?

I keep thinking about the procedure. How will I react to the Propofal? How will I feel afterwards? Will it work? If it works, will it last?

The cardiology team said that if we wait too long, there is less chance that they can convert me out of A-fib. I keep thinking back on the end of the year, before I ended up in the hospital. I was sick for months, getting progressively sicker. My A-fib was diagnosed on January 1st, but I was sick a lot longer, so there is no real telling exactly how long I have been in A-fib. What if it has already been too long? What if this doesn’t work? What is next if this doesn’t work?

I have found myself just staring at my laptop, not really doing anything productive, just stuck in a zone. I can’t seem to focus on anything.  I can’t seem to find anything to successfully distract me and pass the time.

So many questions, that have no answers, but to just wait and see what haqppens….please God let Thursday come and be a success.

Adventure Trying to Eat Out

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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.