Tag Archives: getting used to it

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.

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.

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!

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

Healthy Heart Mexican Cheese Ball

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There is a wonderful shopping resource online for low sodium food, Healthy Heart Market I have spent a lot of time shopping through their sauces, dressings, spices, and mixes and am so amazed with some of the choices. The first thing I have tried is this Mexican Cheese Ball Mix. I do have to say it is Super Yummy! I opted to use whipped cream cheese rather than the standard, because in reading the labels, the sodium was a little lower. The whipped cream cheese from Winn Dixie has only 65mg sodium in a tablespoon as compared to the 95mg in the whipped Philidelphia. This is also a bit lower than the 105-200mg in the standard cream cheese.

The result, i think, was a more fluffy creamy dip mix, rather than a firmer consistency to be molded easily into a ball. I didn’t mind this at all, I was just making it for dip to go with my Hint of Salt Wheat Thins, that have a great offering of only 55mg sodium per 16 cracker serving!

I popped in a movie and snacked on crackers and dip right along with the hubby just like old times! There is always a solution to help make the lifestyle changes feel more normal, you just have to take the time to look for them and adjust. Happy dipping and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Mix Mexican Cheese Ball Seasoning Mix with 1/4 cup of water and let stand and reconstitute for 5 min.

Mix the reconstituted seasoning mix with 2 8oz packages for cream cheese. For a tighter mixture to make the actual ball form, it is better to use the regular cream cheese. For a lighter dip type mixture use the whipped cream cheese. I prefer the whipped cream cheese because it is lower in sodium.

After mixing together, refrigerate for 2 hours, to allow flavors to mix well. form into a ball or just serve as a dip, whichever is preferred.

**sorry there is no picture of the finished product, it was almost gone before I remembered to take a picture 🙂 **

COURSE

 

 

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. 

 

 

90 Days

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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. 

Not Your Average Pickle?

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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
Quantity:
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: flayvrs1@aol.com

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.

Shake This…..Not That!

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When ever I talk to someone new about living on a low sodium diet, the response is usually the same.

“I couldn’t live without salt”

“OMG how boring your food must be”

“Doesn’t it suck to eat bland food”

“Don’t you miss flavor?”

Maybe it is the fear of the unknown. Maybe it is all the cooking shows that show things constantly being salted. Maybe it is celebrity chefs like Anne Burrell telling people that you have to use salt to have flavor. You see this on almost every cooking show on air.

I am here to tell you, there are a ton of flavors other than salt! I am constantly having to combat the preconceived notion that low and no salt food is bland. The only flavor it is missing is the flavor of salt. Don’t get me wrong, when I first started this adventure, I was afraid of what I would miss. No more salted popcorn, no more canned chili with corn chips, no more spaghetti sauces. Once I got past the focus on what I couldn’t have, I got to start the fun search for what I could have instead.

Like I mentioned earlier we got rid of the microwave. The shelf that it lived on has now become a great place for my spices and bottles of vinegar and oil.  With just one glance you don’t get the slightest notion that this is a house lacking in any flavor. In our kitchen we took that……….

And replaced it with this…..

 

Food full of flavor, REAL flavor! Take it from me, not only will you quickly learn to love the fresh myriad of flavors when you use a full array of spices, but you will actually grow to detest the taste of salt. When that nasty little sodium granule hits your mouth it will actually turn you off.

A no salt life isn’t something to dread. It is something to enjoy, to share, to face with the zeal of any great adventure! It is like the yellow brick road to the  Emerald City and the Great OZ, where I will find myself along side the Tin Man with a happy health life and a happy healthier heart!

 

Missing Some Freedom

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Haven’t had much energy the last few days. It took all I had to write a post for you all yesterday. Just looking at the computer screen made my eyes strain and my vision go blurry. This is a problem I usually have when I get up and move around, this is the first time I have had it just sitting down. 

Been spending most my time in bed or on the couch this weekend. Hubby is great and won’t let me get up to do anything other than go to the potty. He is very worried, I can see it in his face. My blood pressure has been really low all weekend, averaging 75/44. The doctor has said on many occations that my low blood pressure is normal, dur to the medications I am on. Though it is usually low, this is a little lower than usual, so I have planned to make a call to my cardiologist tomorrow. 

We have adjusted my medication almost weekly, to try and get the right balance for my blood pressure, and my dizzy spells and vision problems. Eventually it has to all work out right. I just try to hold my head high and keep faith that it will all work out.

I really hope that the cardioversion takes care of some of these problems. It is so hard to be so young and full of energy, but not have the ability to get up and do all I want to do. Just the simplest activity and I start to lose my vision. It is like having a huge spotlight shinning in your face. Everything get’s super bright, and I can’t make out details on anything. I can see colors, but no faces, or specific shapes, I can’t read when it happens, and of course because of this I can’t safely drive anymore. 

It is hard to come to grips with the loss of such things. I have always been independent, I have always been the driver. From the time I started delivering pizza after high school, to the year trying my hand at cross-country truck driving, being behind the wheel has always been relaxing to me. Anytime I needed to relax I could just put on music and go for a drive. This has to be what I miss most. 

I was never a runner, of a sports player, or even an outdoor type person so it doesn’t bother me to much that the outdoors activities are so treacherous to me now. Just the fact that I can’t go off on my own and take a long country drive and clear my head…it isn’t the same when you have to be driven around. When you have a driver with you, it isn’t the same, you can’t just cry, or scream, or pray…you don’t have the freedom you do when it is just you alone.

This is what I honestly miss the most sometimes.