Taking Your Recovery Seriously

Almost everyone I talk to has a personal experience relating to heart issues – either they themselves – or someone they know has experience with  heart attack or stroke, open heart or by-pass surgery or stents etc. Most are following the expert’s recommendations and making changes to their diet and ways of life, but every now and again, I hear someone tell me a story about someone that does not. These individuals don’t make an effort to lose weight, they continue to make poor food choices including poor quality foods and/or consuming large quantities of alcohol. Maybe they don’t know how to change, maybe they don’t have the support network, I’m not sure of the answers (I will share if/when I do have a better explanation  – or perhaps you’d like to comment?)

I acknowledge that I am not a medical professional, nor am I an expert in the field, but truly it doesn’t take an expert to realize that you need to follow the advice your health care professionals are giving you. Their recommendations are not to be ignored.

If you take away one thing from this blog, I strongly urge you to listen to the professional’s advice and make the recommended changes to your diet, take your medications, incorporate physical fitness into your life, follow through with the Cardiac Rehabilitation programs offered at your hospital, keep your meetings with the dietician or nutritionist. If these programs and services are offered to you, like they are here in the Vancouver area – please take advantage of these opportunities.

If you do not want a repeat “performance” you must make the changes.  There’s an old saying “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got”. Not making changes  will most likely bring you right back to having heart trouble again. For you or your loved ones, I’m sure you don’t want to go through all that pain again. Your future depends on it.

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Reading Food Labels (the “Coles Notes” version)

For the Eight Mystery of the World, we add ….. FOOD LABELS!!!

Food labels are difficult to decipher, even the nutritionists and dieticians comment about the variances between them and how tough they can be to decipher. What does it all mean?

Here’s a few quick comments, but I’ve also included some links to articles written by the professionals for you read as well.

SERVING SIZE The first thing you need to pay attention to is serving size. Some items have very small serving sizes – for example “three crackers”. If the serving size is small, and depending on what is broken down on the label, you may want to by-pass the product all together as you’ll may have a tough time sticking to the serving size and end up with too much fat or salt etc.

SALT FREE/SODIUM FREE – be cautious of foods that are labeled as sodium free, often they make up the flavour (or preservative properties) of the sodium by using POTASSIUM instead. For many heart patients, a little potassium might not be so bad. In fact, some of you may have had your dietician recommend you eat more bananas for the potassium. But if you have kidney issues along with your heart issues, you will need to be very cautious of added potassium in these items.

Continue reading “Reading Food Labels (the “Coles Notes” version)”

Grocery Shopping/Meal Planning -Vegetables

Almost all of us should be including more vegetables into our diet, but the majority of us just don’t want to go through the bother of preparing them – especially in the middle of cooking. It’s so much easier to skip the salad and put it off for another day, and then another day and another until we have a drawer full of furry, rotten mush.

My trick is to prepare all the vegetables after I come home from shopping – before I put them into the vegetable drawer where they often serve our a live sentence and don’t become a part of our well-balanced diet.  Once they were prepared, they go into storage containers or plastic baggies (i.e. Ziploc) and they were labeled with a small piece of masking tape to ensure they are identified easily (for all members of the household) and  used quickly.

vegetables-vegetable-basket-harvest-garden.jpg Continue reading “Grocery Shopping/Meal Planning -Vegetables”

Breakfast Meal Plan- Oatmeal

pexels-photo-216951.jpegOne of our ‘go to’ breakfast meal plans consists of Oatmeal, Toast, Yogurt and a Banana.

We make larger batches of oatmeal and then heat them up each morning as we need them.

We prefer the Sultana raisins over Thompson because they plump up nicely. This is also why we put them in with the boiling water, so they’ll get nice and juicy.

By adding the eggs, the oatmeal seems to be more satisfying and we don’t feel hungry as quickly.

Here is our recipe for Eggy Oatmeal :

Continue reading “Breakfast Meal Plan- Oatmeal”

What’s for dinner?

Prior to J’s heart attack he did all the grocery shopping but after being released from the hospital he had to take it easy. All the walking that’s required to shop is a lot for someone recovering so I had to take over. Previously he was quite the foodie and loved to eat well but now we had to completely overhaul what and how he ate. We now had to keep in mind his diabetes (low sugar)  PLUS a heart smart diet (low-fat, low salt).

Reducing sugar and fat are not too difficult since so many packaged foods focus on these but almost all packaged/processed food is too high in salt. J had been advised to have less that 2300 mg of sodium (approx. 1 teaspoon). We now had to read all product labels and it was shocking to see the amount of salt in canned and packaged foods. Even foods that say “no salt added” still contain amounts often too high for the serving size (more on this coming soon).

Here’s our initial grocery listing:  Continue reading “What’s for dinner?”