Change Must Happen

During a conversation with a friend, she told me about someone she knew who had a heart attack in January. Unfortunately for this person, he was not making any changes to his eating habits. His wife said she was too tired when she came home from work to cook and he said he didn’t know how. He continued to eat the same convenience foods and eat the same restaurant foods –  the same ones that contributed to his condition in the first place.

This saddens me, because it doesn’t have to be this way. This person should keep in mind that the foods he ate and the habits he had are what brought him to his heart attack, and medicines alone will not prevent another. Changes must be made.

My husband was committed to avoid repeating his experience and so he took his recovery very seriously. And so did I. We cleaned out the cupboards and removed the foods that contributed to the heart attack and I started cooking better meals. We stopped going to restaurants and he started going to the gym. Over a year later and 50 pounds less (for each of us)   –  he’s doing very well and has reduced his risk for future heart events significantly.

I understand it may be hard for some of you; some of you may not have a spouse/partner who is willing or able to help. But there is so much information out there, so many resources, you must make this your priority. If you don’t have anyone to cook for you perhaps this is the time you can learn. You must take your doctor’s recommendations seriously and you must make changes. As the saying goes “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. Please, make the changes now.

Reach out to friends and family, reach out to me – let’s work on making the changes so you can continue to live and become healthier day by day.

Getting on the Instant Pot Bandwagon + Instant Pot Fried Rice Recipe

I’ve been hearing about the Instant Pot for several months, and although I’m willing to try new things and be a (fairly) early adopter, I’m not one to jump on fads. When I first heard about it, I thought it was going to be another fad/trend like the magic bullet or the dancing the Dougie.  But I continued to hear about it –  and since I’ve long  been a pressure cooker cooker I decided I wanted to try the Instant Pot. And boy am I glad that I have!

My ONLY issue is finding recipes – or should I say ‘healthy’ recipes that suit the heart healthy/diabetic person. I can find plenty of meat, Keto and  vegetarian recipes, but many are high in fat or sugar. I’ve also become frustrated with many of the sites because there are SO MANY  ads that pop up all the time… and mailing list requests, and other pop-ups that seem to get past my pop up checker. I might have to explore this need and see if I can help fellow cooks resolve this issue.

Today, I’ll start with a nice and simple recommendation – fried rice. Please check this blog for  more information about Instant Pot cooking and for the fried rice recipe, which has the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups white rice prepared and cooled
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 T garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups peas and corn frozen
  • 3 T soy sauce*
  • 3 large eggs

*My only changes would be to change to brown rice and to substitute the soy sauce for a product such as Naked Coconut Soy Sauce Substitute, to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe (they claim 65% less sodium than regular soy sauce). nakedcoconut soysauce alternate

Other’s Experiences

Sometimes hearing about other people experiences related to heart health issues and how they recovered and how they deal with ‘life after’ can be helpful. We (the medical teams, the patient, the family) spend a lot of time concentrating on how the physical body recovers and what has happened (i.e. surgically) and what needs to happen (i.e. medications, changes in movement and food, etc) but we often forget that there are mental and emotional changes too.

Some people go through guilt (I should have taken better care of myself), anger (why did this happen to me?) and shock (how could this happen to me?) and fear (when is the next one? will I survive another one?), sadness (I will never be like I was before) These are all common and valid emotions. If you feel any of these emotions, please please reach out to your doctor or other other health professionals for advise, counselling and maybe even medication, such as anti-depressants, if your doctor approves.

Some change their perspective on life – for example J definitely ‘does not sweat the small stuff”. He no longer worries about certain things, often not even letting some things “in”.

Not to capitalize on celebrity, but below is a video from the director Kevin Smith, who at 47 years old had a heart attack and had a stent put in his LAD artery. I like his recount of the situation as I think it might help some of you to hear another survivor’s story. I also like his outlook at the end surrounding some controversy concerning comments made by Chris Pratt – Kevin’s response was “don’t fight about that”.

Here’s the video I’m referring to (sorry I can’t seem to find a better copy without making you log into Facebook):

Warning – adult language is used. //cdnapisec.kaltura.com/p/591531/sp/59153100/embedIframeJs/uiconf_id/6740162/partner_id/591531?iframeembed=true&playerId=kaltura_player_1413478522&entry_id=0_eiwz2lp4Also, here’s a link explaining the Widow Maker Heart attack 

 

Pumpkin Chili Recipe (Meatless)

This is a very good recipe that I’ve tested several times – even on picky eaters, and they loved it. They were surprised there was pumpkin in it.

Total time: approximately 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped small
1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
(i.e. ED Smith 100% pumpkin, per 1/3 cup: 0mg sodium, 100 mg potassium)
1 cup  no salt added canned tomatoes, diced not puree
(i.e Unico, per 1/2 cup:5mg sodium, 290mg potassium)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock, or water
1 can no-salt added black beans (15 oz), rinsed
(i.e. President’s Choice Blue Menu, per 1 cup: 5 mg sodium, 550 potassium)
2 cans no-salt added kidney beans (15 oz each), rinsed
(i.e. President’s Choice Blue Menu, per 1 cup: 10 mg sodium, 550 mg potassium)
1 tbsp cumin
1-2 tbsp chilli powder
pepper, to taste

  1. In a large pot, cook chopped onion for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add pumpkin, rinsed black beans, rinsed kidney beans, vegetable broth or water and stir well. Add cumin and chilli powder. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Garnish with chopped green onion or small amount of low-fat shredded cheddar cheese. Can also be served with homemade wholewheat bread or buns. Or some Low-Sodium Tortilla Chips
    lowsodiumtortillachips

This recipe keeps well and is great for lunches.

 

Changing What You Eat

Based on J’s condition of having a heart attack AND diabetes we revised his diet by:

-reducing sugar  -replacing with Splenda products

-reducing sodium -replacing with herbs, spices, sodium replacements (be cautious of high amounts of potassium used in some products)

-reducing fat – including switching from whole milk to 1%, reduced fat cheese (limited quantities due to salt content), switching to Olive Oil margarine

-reducing meat – we eliminated red meat and switched to more of a plant based diet, although we did have some skinless, lean poultry and fish; also added protein with more nuts and seeds

Possibly the biggest changes were (1) not eating in restaurants and (2) limiting processed/premade food. The majority of our grocery shopping was raw ingredients as I cooked almost everything. Including making whole wheat bread so I could control the amount of sugar and salt in the bread.

Continue reading “Changing What You Eat”