Positive things for heart health

I’m going to have a major operation tomorrow: a hip replacement. I have had to go off of blood thinners and stop taking various supplements – like glucosamine for mild arthritis and multivitamins – which can also thin the blood a bit. Meanwhile, a friend of mine was asked to start using a salt substitute (yuck!) This caused me to think long and hard about the lifestyle changes that can also lead to heart health.

GO LOW SODIUM: The typical American diet is simply rotten with excess salt. And I am not just talking about fast food; nicer restaurants usually add much more than we need. Plus it’s simply astounding how much sodium there is in most pre-made foods you can get at the grocery store. But you can cook simple salt-free or lower sodium things yourself. I try to keep my sodium under 600 mg a day. That’s almost impossible with pre-made foods but incredibly easy – and quick! – if you cook things yourself.

No Salt Herb Blend | Just A Pinch Recipes

Here are some simple rules to follow.

(1) When shopping, read the label and check the sodium content before buying things. At first you’ll be shocked and horrified! Example: a simple can of green beans or corn usually has 1,000 mg of sodium, or more. Prepared spaghetti sauce is also shockingly sodium laden. Even raw chicken or turkey may have been “brined” – soaked in a salt water solution.

Beef jerky is actually preserved in salt and reading the label will tell you that jerky, like bacon and most salty snacks, is off the menu on a lower sodium diet. But lots of yummy things are on that menu, and chances are you’ll love them.

(2) Join an online low sodium or no salt cooking group. There are several.

(3) Attitude matters so treat low-sodium eating as an adventure. You’re on a quest to find new favorite foods and recipes. You’re not being held back – you’re exploring!

(4) Low salt does not mean no salt, so you can use a little but as you ramp down the amount your taste buds are used to you’ll be surprised how little it takes. Example: if you put the salt IN a stew or soup you need 1/3 of the amount you’d use if you put it ON those foods.

(5) Should you eat at a restaurant, your safest choices for low sodium are plain meats, simple breads, and salads with the dressing on the side. Be sure to let your server know that you want no extra salt added to your meal and be ruthless in sending things back if they come to your table coated with obvious salt. Example: Texas Roadhouse always rolls their plain baked potatoes in butter and then coarse salt. I sent my tater back for a salt-free one.

Just look at the salt clinging to that baked potato!

YOU’VE GOT TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT. No, I do not mean go to the gym or start jogging. Just…move more. I started cutting things up for cooking while standing instead of doing the work seated. I experimented with a standing desk. I asked my husband to let me be the one to go get the mail from our RFD mailbox on the street. I started walking through the grocery store to buy things instead of ordering things online. And I set a timer so that I would get up from my sedentary writing and editing work every hour and take a “stretch break” where I did a little housework or ran errands. It all adds up!

I Like to Move It Madagascar - Acapella cover by Jessica Hartono ...

Moving is good for your heart. It’s also amazing for your lymphatic system, which does not have a circulatory system like your heart and is totally dependent on moving your muscles to make it flow.

DRINK MORE WATER because water flushes out excess sodium, and the proper balance between sodium and potassium in your bloodstream is necessary for heart health. Again, the typical American diet fails us here. We seem to be addicted to artificial sweeteners, caffeine, artificial colors, and alcohol.

Try this as an experiment. Try ordering something to drink in a restaurant that has no caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, or booze. Usually, all that’s available is water, seltzer water with lemon or lime, juice, milk, decaf coffee, and maybe O’Doul’s. Good luck finding anything else to drink that’s healthy!

Restaurant Beverage Menu: Schlotzsky's Beverage/Drink Menu

My aunt used to call water “Adam’s Ale” and wondered why we drank so little of it. She was right.

ROUGHAGE, FIBER, WHATEVER YOU CALL IT, Fruits and vegetables matter. And getting your “five a day for better health” is a bare minimum. (I always respond, “Only five?”)

Archive - California Agriculture

Again, think of it as exploring. Try something new! I recently tried poblano peppers to make chilies rellennos. It was AMAZING. I also learned how to use fresh asparagus in a stir fry and tried star fruit for the first time.

Baked Chiles Rellenos With Chorizo Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere

THE SPICE MUST FLOW. Spices are a much heart-healthier way than salt to add flavors to your food. And I’m not just suggesting the tried and true low salt standby – Mrs. Dash (although it’s okay.) Again – experiment! Add cinnamon to your oatmeal, fresh-grated ginger to your stir fry, thyme to your beef stew, garlic to your broiled shrimp, oregano to your clam chowder, or Tabasco sauce to your omelet.

While you’re at it consider using not just squeezing lemon wedges on your fish — try squeezing a lime wedge instead. Lime is simply astounding on lobster and many fish dishes. I love lime squeezed on fish tacos.

In conclusion, eating foods that are heart healthy can be a culinary adventure. Go for it!

Caturday celebration!

I’m writing this to let you all know that our wonderful kitty, Koushka, has completely recovered from his recent serious illness. He’s still gaining back strength and muscle mass, but otherwise he is back to his old and wonderful self again. Here are a few cat pics to show him in his best light.

Cat…and mouse.
The mini house panther reigns.

My grandmother was a Gibson Girl

Say hello across time to my mother’s mother, Elisabeth Bohme Good.

I never met her. She was still alive when my mother had me but died when I was about one year old, because my mother was a menopause baby, a surprise child born when my grandmother was in her late 40s.

I think my grandmother was beautiful. I know she was smart. Elisabeth was a college graduate in an age where women rarely went to college, and a teacher, as well has the head of her local Presbyterian church’s missionary society. She married a Westinghouse engineer who was blackballed for trying to stop dangerous factory conditions via a union. Her father was the head of a Lutheran seminary in Germany, who emigrated to the USA in the early 1800s, and his father was a German rabbi who decided that Yeshua had been the messiah after all.

And that’s my Throwback Thursday post. Thanks for reading.

It’s Book Quote Wednesday!

Today’s Book Quote Wednesday keyword is “Need.” Here’s a quote from WRITING THE ENTERTAINING STORY about what you need to do if you’re making part of your novel into a short story. #bookqw

“Wendy S. Delmater has a lot of balls to title her book Writing the Entertaining Story. What in the world makes her think that she knows the secret? …Editing. That’s what Wendy brings to Writing the Entertaining Story. She has read and evaluated, compared and analyzed reams and reams of unpublished work in her efforts to pick winners from the slush pile. Her advice in this book is practical, immediately applicable, and comes from her hard-earned time in the editor’s seat.” – from the foreword by James Van Pelt  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WZ6V87Z/