Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some struggles

So, I have had some struggles with this lifestyle change.

First and foremost are the people that believe it is their job to tell me that eating like this is going to kill me.  I really just want to punch those people--because obviously, the way I was eating before was good for me.  I got to spend three days in the accommodations offered by the ICU because of my pre heart attack habits.  I had my heart attack on October 13 and I didn't start this lifestyle until Jan 1.  That means I spent all the time in between researching the options I had to stay alive.  So I have done all this research and someone on a nutrition high horse steps up to say I'm not being healthy.  They haven't done any research, they just like eating meat and they don't want to hear it might be unhealthy. Even after all I have read and the research I have done, I would still eat meat if as a cardiac patient I didn't think it would lead me to another heart attack.  The fact is, what I eat from now on will play a large part in determining if I live.  Because of this, I choose to eat to live.  What that means for me is a whole grain, plant based diet.  I don't push it on anyone.  I think everyone should do the research and decide for themselves.  This is what irritates me about those on a nutrition high horse.  They ask, I tell and then they seem truly offended.  I never felt offended if someone told me they were vegan.  I thought it was weird, but I kept my opinion to myself--to each his own.    Now I am one of those people who is a vegan and, quite possibly a little weird!  Don't judge what is different than what you know--you never know what the motivation is--mine is to eat different from most so I don't have to take 5 pills a day.

My other big struggle has been coffee.  For years I have drank my coffee with powdered creamer and sweetener.  So when I started this, I used vegan sugar and flax milk.  It just was not the same taste.  I thought then that I would go with black coffee--I hated that.  So, I decided that if I can't drink coffee like I want, then I might as well not drink it.  On Sunday, I took the coffee pot off the counter.  I also do not like tea--to say that I hate the taste of tea would be an understatement.  I am now struggling not to sneak soda now and then.  I lost the struggle tonight and had a little diet orange soda.  Soda is my last struggle...tomorrow is another day and I shall try again.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quick Note

A quick note about the link I posted to the Skinny Bitch book yesterday.  The book is much the same information as the others, but I should throw a bad language and cruelty to animals warning out there for you!  I enjoyed it, but some of you might not.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

So, I went out to Houlihans last night.  I ordered the veggie burger and had them leave off the sauce and cheese.  I ate the bread--it was really good.  I had a baked potato with salsa as my side after them messing up the first side.  They took so long that the bartender comped our food.  The food was really good and since Beth and I were just gabbing, we really weren't that concerned about how long the food took.  It was nice of her to comp it though.  I had  two glasses of white zin.  I can have four ounces a day of alcohol.  I probably had eight last night.  That makes a total of about 12 oz I have had since my heart attack.  I love wine, but quite honestly, 4 oz is not worth cracking open a bottle.  I can have 4 oz of any alcohol, so if I really wanted to, I could shoot 4 oz of straight vodka, but my shot days are long gone.  All in all, the dining out wasn't too bad and I had a great time seeing my old friend.

I do have some guilt that everyone will need to plan around what I can eat when we make plans.  I suppose at some point I will get over it.  Most of my friends would rather have me alive and for that I am blessed.  I have great friends.

I posted a link to the book Skinny Bitch earlier today.  I did download it and started reading it--these ladies are hilarious and it should be an interesting read. 

I hope everyone has a good day. Tomorrow, some of the struggles I have!

This Book Sums it Up

I found this book while surfing Amazon.  I will have to see if it comes in a Kindle edition:
Skinny Bitch

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Food Day!

Today was food preparation day.  I parsed out blueberries and grapes into containers to take to work.  I cut up kiwis and red and yellow peppers as well as made a week of leafy green salads.  (No iceberg lettuce, it isn't worth it nutrient wise.)  I sliced up sweet potatoes in my food processor that the hubby got me for Christmas.  I use the food dehydrator to make those into sweet potato chips.  I sprinkle them with a little table blend Mrs Dash.  They turn out really good!!

Normally, women might be upset by getting a small kitchen appliance for Christmas, but not me!  If you remember yesterdays post, I posted about not getting along that well with my kitchen.  Because I take Plavix and aspirin everyday, cutting myself is not a good thing, so I am glad to have it:) (They are both blood thinners).  This keeps my house from looking like a crime scene!

I also made some more hummus--I make my own because I don't eat any added oil and store bought hummus has a lot of oil.  I have found because I am not using any added oil, cannellini beans (white kidney beans) work best.  They are a little moister than garbanzo beans.  I use two cans of cannellini beans, the juice from one lemon, garlic, and a dash or two of Braggs Liquid Aminos (you can find it at a store like Whole Foods--it is vegan soy sauce).  Put it all in the food processor and  blend till smooth!  Very easy.

I use the hummus as a base for my salad dressing.  I don't measure, so you just have to find the taste you like.  I take a whisk and mix up some hummus, orange juice, balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard--a no oil dressing that is very tasty.

I find the oddest things at my little C&S grocery store here in town.  I found the no oil tortilla shells I have been looking for--who would have thought?  I had them for dinner last night and filled them with brown rice, black beans and salsa.  It was very tasty.  I fixed a small pot of black beans and corn to eat with them this week.  I prepared brown rice for the week as well as some whole grain pasta.  I also fixed some veggie chili.  I take the chili and the pasta and basically make chili mac.

I am all set for the week!

My big challenge today is that I am going out to eat tonight with a good friend. This is the first time eating out since I started this.  I have been avoiding it. I found that Houlihans has a vegetarian menu that they offer.  I think I can make some of those choices more vegan by having them leave off the cheese.  I will have to ditch the no added oil, but I feel pretty good that there is at least one place I can eat out.  This will be a much bigger challenge for me at the end of March when I go to Vegas for five days.  The book for idiots has a chapter on eating in restaurants. I will have to read it again, because I think this is going to be a large challenge to be away from my controlled food fixing for five days.  On the flip side, as a photographer, I am very excited to take pics on the orange carpet at the ACM awards.

I am officially down 10 pounds today.  I have been doing this four weeks.  The first step on the road to skinny bitch!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Continued Research

So, after I read the first book, it led me to T. Colin Campbell's book "The China Study".  This was very interesting because this man that grew up on a dairy farm is advocating the whole grain, plant based diet.   So I really started to research what is a whole grain, plant based diet?  I downloaded a book to my kindle that walks you step by step through it:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever M.S., R.D., C.P.T.

It is pretty much what it sounds like--lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains.  In addition, no added oil.  I decided that I would not start it until January 1, 2012.  There was no reason over the holidays to set myself up to fail.

So, on January 1 I stopped eating any meat or dairy products and I don't eat any added oil.  It has been quite a challenge because even cooking with meat and dairy products,  my kitchen hates me. I have stabbed myself in the thumb with a fork trying to prick a potato and I have had numerous cuts and burns.  My husband has teased me since very early in our relationship that the smoke detectors in the house are my oven timer! I guess something needs to alert me when I forgot what was in the oven and black smoke is pouring out:)  With this in mind, I have decided to make the new diet as simple as possible for now.  I go shopping every weekend.  I buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies and cut them up and put them in my fridge in containers I can take to work.
My husband laments that I did not show a picture of his little food shelf in this picture (My family is not following this diet although my girls seem interested in eating a little healthier).  I also eat a lot of brown rice, whole grain pasta, baked potatoes with salsa on them.  I also found a no oil vegan bread which is really pretty good.  I make my own hummus because store bought hummus has a lot of oil in it.  With the hummus, I use it as a base for a balsamic vinaigrette no oil dressing. Tomorrow I'll post the recipes.

Some Sodium Info


A sodium article. 

Enlightened and Frightened

I grew up in Kansas and ate the diet of meat, dairy and veggies along with fast food and lots of sweets as I got older.  Then pregnancy came and I gained a ton of weight, lost a little of it, gained a ton more weight with my second pregnancy and only lost a little after that one.  So, as I do this research, it is very enlightening and frightening.  I am reading about what my diet should be--whole grain and plant based (as opposed to my diet of pizza, chips, sweets, soda, red meat)  and I am thinking, what do you really eat?  I don't think I could ever eat like this.  As I continue reading, I realize that as a cardiac patient, I can't not eat like this if I want to live to see my children grow up.

What I read frightened me because I was realizing all of the damage that I did not really paying attention to good eating habits.  I have always listened to it and never really considered it as that important.  I am busy with work, kids and starting my own photography business.  Busy, busy--too busy to pay attention to wear red for women's heart disease in Octobers on Fridays.  Yes, I know women have heart disease, I have even heard it is the number one killer of women, but I am too busy for that to apply to me.  Well, it applies to me now.

What I read enlightened me because Dr. Esselstyn's book has some very compelling research.  Once the patients that took part in his study started following the plant based diet, of the ones that continued to follow it, they did not have another cardiac event between them.  These were patients that at that time were considered to be end stage heart disease patients.  That is pretty powerful.   Especially to someone who just turned 43 and has a youngest child that is 9.

More this evening...I am at lunch at work and it is about over.  I am quite sure my company does not want to pay me to blog about my health and diet:).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Home from the Hospital

I came home from the hospital with many misconceptions about heart disease.  I was under the impression that I should really be concerned about sodium intake.  So, I started eating low sodium.  This was no easy feat.  Have you really every read labels??  I mean really read and understood them.  Turns out, I hadn't.  With my new instruction to keep my sodium under 1500 mg a day, this is what I started looking at.  It really, really sucked.  I felt like there was nothing I could buy.   Do you know even chicken and fish that you buy at the grocery store are injected with a salt solution?  So, I ate a lot of beef because it is not injected with salt.  I thought I was doing the right thing.

Turns out I was wrong.  One night, I am laying in bed and watching a special on CNN called "The Last Heart Attack."  There was a doctor on.  Caldwell Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic.  He is talking about the nastiness of meat and dairy. I am hoping it is not true because I love meat and dairy and what would I eat?  I have always thought vegetarian an vegan folks are a little flaky for eating like that. I had to get his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B. Esselstyn (Mass Market Paperback - Jan 31, 2008) . This book along with T.Colin Campbell's The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health ,and the documentary Forks Over Knives, have driven my heart disease research.

What this reading has lead me to is a whole new lifestyle.  If I thought watching sodium really sucked, this sucked a whole lot more.  More on that tomorrow.

The Skinny Bitch Story

This is my journey to find my skinny bitch.  I am by no means currently skinny, but because of a very early heart attack, I am striving to get back there.  I used to be one--you know the one.  The one that you look at who is beautifully thin and you know she has probably had kids.  You mumble under your breath, skinny bitch. I by no means am using this term in a derogatory manner, it is complimentary.  My skinny bitch status has been gone since shortly after I was married for the first time.  It is time to get that status back.

I suffered a heart attack on October 13, 2011 at the age of 42.  This came as a complete surprise.  Although I knew I wasn't he healthiest person, I didn't think that I was that unhealthy.  That day, I started feeling bad on the way home from work.  In retrospect, by the time I got home I knew I was really sick.  Trying to deny it, I changed clothes and took the dog out.  By the time I got back in the house I knew that I needed to call an ambulance.  I had a bad heaviness in my chest and a searing pain in my entire lower jaw.  I put the dog in her crate and called.  They had me chew aspirin and swallow it.

The ambulance arrived and my husband who was out of town called about then.  I told him I couldn't talk because the paramedics were there and I hung up the phone.  I'm sure it was the blood pressure of 200/120 and the foggy head this causes and I'm sure it totally freaked him out.  I did call him back to let him know not to worry that I was going with chest pain to the hospital.  They loaded me in the ambulance, and let me just say that there is no such thing as HIPAA (healthcare privacy) in my small town.  Every cop in town along with the paramedics were out in front of my house with their lights going.  This means that the entire neighborhood was outside trying to figure out what was going on at our house.

So,  I am in the ambulance and I look down at my purse and what do I see?  It of course is my week to have the on call work phone.  If it rings and I don't pick up the message, it rolls its way to everyone's phone numbers above me all the way up to the COO.  So  I ask the paramedics if I can make calls from the ambulance.  They look at me like I've lost my mind but say yes.  I call my coworker to come and get the phone from me at the hospital and then my ex husband to make sure he picks up the oldest daughter from school after the bus brings her back from a choir field trip.

I arrived at the hospital via ambulance and this is where I realize the paramedics were lying to me.  They told me I am probably just having angina.  They wheel me in and there are 25 people waiting on me.  Right then I probably knew that it was as serious as I thought it was.  The doc takes one look at the heart monitor and says "This is the real McCoy.  You are having a heart attack and we are going to surgery right now."  Someone puts a consent form in front of me and asks me if I will sign it.  Like I am going to say no? So I signed it.  About then, the coworker I called to come get the phone arrives.  She looks at me and I said I'm having a heart attack, the phone is in my purse.  She looks at me as stunned as I think I look. I remember saying to her, don't feel like you have to stay.  She looked at me too like I had lost my mind and said of course she was staying. She called my husband to let him know.  She called my ex-husband to let him know because he had my kids.

Once in the cath lab, they discover I have a hundred percent blockage in one of the arteries.  I later came to find out that this type of heart attack is known as the widow maker and only 20% of women that suffer this kind of heart attack survive.  For the other 80%, the first noticeable sign is death.  I feel very fortunate.  I had a very good interventional cardiologist, LMH was fabulous and the surgery is was success.  I spent the next couple days in the hospital and after a few weeks started researching my options to become healthier.

This blog is to chronicle my journey and share the information that I have learned. In the end, it will celebrate my rediscovered skinny bitch status.  Enjoy!