Tag Archives: Me

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

Fruit Lables

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Talking Fruit

How to de-code the information on those little stickers
By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

While unpacking groceries, you pull out the bag of apples and decide to eat one then and there. You take it over to the sink, wash it off and — with some effort — peel off the little sticker. Pausing to look more closely at the sticker you wonder, “What do those numbers mean?”

As much as we may dislike them, the stickers or labels attached to fruit do more than speed up the scanning process at the checkout stand. The PLU code, or price lookup number printed on the sticker, tells you how the fruit was grown.

As reported by Maria Gallagher, in the June 26, 2002 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, by reading the PLU code, you can tell if the fruit was genetically modified, organically grown or produced withchemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.

Here’s how it works:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8. For example,

A conventionally grown banana would be:
4011

An organic banana would be:
94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be:
84011

The numeric system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, a Newark, Delaware-based trade group for the produce industry. As of October 2001, the board had assigned more than 1,200 PLUs for individual produce items.

Incidentally, the adhesive used to attach the stickers is considered food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren’t edible.

Do you REALLY know what’s in your dinner?

Today, 7 out of every 10 items on grocery stores shelves contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. In other words, scientists are using new technology to transfer the genes of one species to another, and these altered foods are in the market stream. And yet many scientists have concerns about the safety — to people, wildlife and the environment — of this process. That’s why consumers in Asia and Europe are demanding that their food be free of genetically modified ingredients.

To learn more about food safety, GM (genetically modified) foods and what’s wrong with them, and what you can do bring about changes:

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.

 

 

 

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!

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!

Busy, Busy, Busy….

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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

 

Sweet Potato Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Since I didn’t have to continue to worry about my cardioversion, and I didn’t have to fast, I decided to cook instead. In the past I found my self dealing with adversity or disappointment with unhealthy comfort food and a lot of whiskey. This time I took the conscious effort  to keep on my life path and avoid all the harmful crutches.

I have learned well from past experiences, that in my life there is never just one drink to relax, or just one comfort treat. It may be one this time but then the door is open and the next time it is 2. Or the next time it is easier to talk myself into “needing” a drink to relax. The next time the bothersome event is a little less important. Next thing you know “the dog is barking too much and annoying me, I need a drink” or I have been good all week a drive-thru burger won’t kill me turns into “Friday is treat day”, then becomes “weekends don’t count” . 

This is not a diet, this is not a punishment, this is a LIFE. On any given day I enjoy the food I eat, I do not go hungry, I do not deal with hangovers. This is not something I need a break from, or a treat for dealing with it. This time this is a mindset and a lifestyle. The demons that would like to sway my actions to the negative can fight with me all they want, this is one battle I am happy to fight and even happier to win.

Yesterdays little battle was won, and the prize….this supper yummy stuffed dinner….

INGREDIENTS

3 Bell Peppers

1 Carrot

1 Stalk of Celery

½ White Onion

6 Cloves of Garlic

1 Med Sweet Potato

1 Med Summer Squash

1 Tbsp Cumin

1 Tbsp Paprika

1 Tbsp Onion Powder

1 Tbsp Raspberry Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tsp Creamy Horseradish

1 Tsp Ground Red Pepper

1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce (low sodium)

2 Slices Aged Swiss Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375ºF

Wash and trim all vegetables thoroughly, peel the sweet potato and carrot. Cut the tops off the Bell pepper and clean and wash out all the seeds and veins. Save tops of peppers to use in baking. Put Peppers aside for later.

Bell peppers waiting to be stuffed

Finely chop the onion ans saute it in a skillet on med heat until translucent and slightly caramelized. While the onion is cooking, either by hand or in a food processor, chop all vegetables (excluding Bell peppers) to a very fine chop. Add prepared vegetables to the skillet with the onions. Add dry seasonings and the red wine vinegar, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce and saute on medium until carrot and sweet potato start to get tender, stir frequently so not to burn the bottom of the skillet.

Spoon vegetable mixture into the cleaned bell peppers and place the tops on them to create a lid steaming effect for filling. Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for about 1 hour. Remove from oven and remove tops and place ¾ slice of Swiss cheese on the top of stuffed pepper. Place back in oven for about 20 min, until cheese is bubbly and browning. Remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 min and serve.

Fresh out of the oven

Inside the peppers

With just the use of herbs and spices and letting the natural flavor of the vegetables come through, you get a great amount of flavor and very little calories or sodium.

As in recipe on stuffed pepper is Approx: 136 Cal / 4g Fat / 120mg Sodium/ 22 Carbs/ 6 Fiber/ 13 Sugar / 6 Prot

This dish can be switched up with a variety of fillings, such as rice, ground beef, beans, or even added cheeses or cream cheese to give it a creamy texture. One variation I also enjoy is to use portabello mushroom chopped and sauteed. It adds a great mushroom flavor and the texture resembles ground beef. When making changes to the filling just be aware for the added calories, fat and sodium.

Happy High Flavor Healthy Heart Eating


T-minus 24 hours

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It is the countdown, tick, tick, tick. The final 24 hours before I go in for my Cardioversion. In the rational side of the brain I know it is a simple procedure, they do it all the time. I know there is only a slim chance that anything will go wrong. The rational side of my brain is only part of the equation. It is the irrational, emotional side that won’t stop thinking about all the “what if’s”

 

I have never been put to sleep before. I have talked to people that have resistance to anesthesia, and others that have trouble waking up. I don’t know how I will react to it. On the other hand there is the actual procedure. Will it even work? The cardiologist said that, with an EF of 35%, I am right on the edge of the guidelines to even try and convert. There is a chance it won’t work. There is also a chance it will only work for a short time and then we will have to do it again.

 

In January, when I went in for my angiogram, I talked to a woman who was there for a pacemaker. She had had cardioversion done 23 times in 7 years. This tells me logically that it is a common procedure, and also that it may have to be done every few months.

 

There is that nervous part of me that wonders if I should take the time to write down instructions and wishes, just in case something goes wrong? Should I make sure to call all the important people just to say I love you? Is it irrational to think of these things?

 

I really want it to work. I want to get some sense of normal back in my life. I want to go out and walk the dog. I want to play at the river. I want to go shopping in the French Quarter. All these things I can’t do now because I get so tired so fast and my vision fails me.

 

Please just let me go back to being a 33 year old woman with her whole life ahead of her. If this is some thing that I have to do over and over every few months, at least it should be easier after this first time, when I already know what to expect.

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.