Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Go Red for Women Video

Please take a few minutes to go watch this--ladies it could make a difference in how you react to symptoms!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stressful Days

It has been quite a feat for me to start to really control my self induced stress.  Stress really plays a large part in your heart health.  I have found that if I take a step back, most of my stress is truly self induced.  My work ethic and standards are much higher than an average person.  I like perfection.  This really does lead to a lot of unnecessary stress.

Once a month I have a meeting with my boss--our one on one time.  I normally have no filter on my mouth of which he is very aware!  This last Friday capped off a really stressful week and happened to be our day for the one on one.  I managed to keep all of my stress in check and express myself with much less animation.  This was not lost on him--he asked me about it.  I explained that I need to work hard to keep my stress under control and I have found that the filterless, animated me tends to raise my blood pressure.  I am all too aware of this since my heart attack.  Stress scares me and every little pain when I know I am stressed out about sends me over the edge thinking I am having another heart attack.  I worry all the time about another heart attack because I could not be as lucky next time.  I am doing all I can to prevent another one.  I loathe exercise, but I am doing it.  I have gone Vegan and I have now lost 22 lbs since January 1--yay me!  I think that I am fine, but there is always that doubt!

Not that I have lost any of the passion I have for my job.  I just express differently now and really have to pick my battles.  There are many life lessons here I am sure.  It feels good to be able to let go of some of the need to control.

On a much lighter note, this house loves the Rock Chalkin Jayhawks!!  They are off to New Orleans and the Final Four.  It has as well been a practice of not letting my basketball team get me worked up this season.  I pace and try not to watch.  They are headed to New Orleans and we are headed to Vegas to watch them play.  Rock Chalk Jayhawk!  I am taking hummus, veggie crumbles and my crackers that I love with me in my suitcase so that I know I at least have my healthy snacks.  If all else fails, Chipotle for lunch and dinner.  Looking forward to the time with my girlfriends, watching the Jayhawks play and the ACM awards!  Tomorrow is my Friday and I won't be taking a computer with me.  I hope for all of you a fabulous week!

Warning Signs....I can never post these enough!

Heart Attack and Stroke Warning Signs

Just in case you are not sick of me posting the warning signs, these were mine!  Searing jaw pain, chest discomfort and shortness of breath!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Whew! What a day!

Whew!  What a day I had at work.  I used to get really worked up over it and today I found myself back in my old habit. The day I had my heart attack was an especially stressful day at work.  I would have had a heart attack within a couple weeks even without work stress.  I had it that day because of the especially stressful day.  This is what they ask me at the hospital while they are wheeling me into the cath lab--Did you have a stressful day at work today?  Not just one person, but several docs and nurses asked me this.  So, this tells me that stress plays a large part in my health.

I have to really keep things in check these days at work.  I am very passionate about my job, and that can be a good thing for my work ethic but a bad thing for my stress level.  High stress level=bad thing.  I have had to really give myself a stress check tonight.  In the end, how much does it really matter? How much does the email that I hated matter?  Tonight, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't.  Now, this is easier said than done to really go with the attitude that it doesn't matter.  However, I am going to start practicing that.  I have to keep in mind that the statistic is that 42% of women that suffer a heart attack die within a year.  I am doing everything in my power to make sure I am in the 58% that doesn't.  This means really putting this to practice at work.  This is not an issue specific to this job or this company.  This is anyone, any job, any company.  Please keep your stress level in check.  Get some exercise, do some yoga, have some me time.

 Perhaps five nights in Vegas will help provide me some clarity.  Perhaps it will help me decide that I don't need to be superwoman and try to right all the wrongs.  It will be a challenge, and I am always up for a challenge. In the end, no matter what ,the first choice has to be health!

We are down to a 7 day countdown to Vegas!  Yay Vegas!

If you have been over to the Facebook page you know that I posted I was going to try the orange/blueberry muffins.  Perhaps my first indication that I should not attempt these was the fact that you buy oats and ground them into flour yourself.  I used my food processor and it worked pretty well.  What didn't work out so well for me was the taste of the final muffin product.  I think I really just cannot kick liking the taste of refined baked products.  I think for right now, I will stick to mostly raw.  I didn't get to the twice baked potatoes.  I'll try those after Vegas.

The scale is down again.  Last weekend I spent the better part of two days cleaning out all of my size 14 pants and all of my XL shirts!!  What a great feeling.  Instead of keeping them as my "fat" clothes, I can actually get rid of them.  The vegan lifestyle will assure that I don't ever gain this weight back and I won't need those clothes again!

Here's to a stress free Friday for all:)!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Yale Heart Study and Harvard

Harvard's Meat and Mortality Studies

Check this out.  Harvard is behind the Plant Based Diet.

Also, if anyone you know has had a heart attack, please have them go fill out this Yale Study.  I did it and it is painless:):

Yale Heart Study

Happy Friday!

Loathing Exercise

I loathe exercise—I really do.  I always have.  However, one of the heart healthy things I need to do is exercise.  It needs to be cardio and it really needs to be every day.   I am up to 4-5 times a week thanks to the fabulous early spring we are experiencing in Kansas.  I was going to cardiac rehab, but my insurance copay for that is $300.00 a day and the hospital backed out of the self-pay deal they offered me.  So, I know what I need to do and that diet is not the only thing that plays into my heart health.  Exercise is key too!
My 10 year old is the medication, food and exercise police.  Mom, have you taken your medicine today?  Mom, are you supposed to eat that?  Mom, can we go to the track?  Mom, can we go to the track?  Mom, can we go to the track?  Finally, yes, we are going to the track.  Even on my days where I really, really don’t want to go to the track, I go.  I go so she will stop asking.   I’m sure in the end my cardiologist will be happy my daughter is that way.  In the end, I will be too.
The track is ½ mile from my house and I walk a mile on the track and then the ½ mile home.   That is two miles and I have found that I walk at a brisker pace if I am outside vs. on the treadmill.  Starting now, I have until the end of October that I will be able to walk outside, so that is good.   I have another walking route too right now.  I walked downtown to the tanning salon and back last night for a total of three miles.  I know, tanning is not particularly healthy, but I am going to go six or eight times before I go to Vegas.  I just don’t want to be pasty white!  Plus, it adds an extra mile to my cardiovascular exercise.
Next up is starting some arm exercises.  I have a lot of arm flab, and I’d like to have less.  I have some dumbbells, so I think I will start that as well tomorrow morning.
We have Vegas all set. Hit a great sale on some great plain v neck t-shirts at Old Navy.  I stocked up for all of us.  I have some new makeup on order too.  I don’t normally wear makeup, so I will have some for Vegas now.  I am packing my love, the vegan crackers, frozen veggie crumbles and some frozen hummus and no oil bread in my suitcase.  That way, I have something to eat.  Chipotle serves vegan, so I can always have the bowl of brown rice, salsa, black beans and corn.  I will not starve!  Now that I know I won’t starve, I can’t wait—just under two weeks to go.  I should not lack for cardio while I am out there with all of the walking you do in Vegas.
I am grocery shopping tonight and planning food preparation day tomorrow.  After that, my weekend is going to consist of getting out spring clothes for me and the girls and then  getting rid of the clothes that are now to big!  Here is to getting closer to finding the skinny bitch!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It Is Really A Food Addiction

So, my friend Deb came over last Saturday.  I showed her the no oil hummus, the salad dressing and the vegetable soup.  As well, I had her try my new love--the Mary's Gone Crackers no oil vegan crackers.  She loved them too.  I also had her try purple and orange cauliflower and yellow carrots.  She even tried the veggie crumbles.  I really didn't give her a choice on trying it.  If you don't try it, how do you know you don't like it??  So she tried everything and I hope came away with some idea of my idea of eating vegan.

I say my idea because I really do eat a lot of raw which really isn't for everyone.  It just helps me stay on track.  I read the blog I want a Dumpster Baby and she wrote a great blog this evening called That Drowning Feeling.  She writes about being a recovering alcoholic and how every now and then she really wants a drink until she remembers where it gets her.  Even though my issue is not alcohol, this one really hit home tonight. I feel exactly the same way about food.  I am such a binge person.  It is all or nothing.  Just like Katy can never just have one drink, I can never just have one Oreo.  I have to eat the entire bag in one sitting--I can't control it. Not just Oreos but ice cream, cake and cheese sauce too (not cheese sauce on Oreos, ice cream and cake though!) It led me to a lot of extra weight that contributed to my heart attack.  There are times now that I want an Oreo--especially since it was just the 100th birthday of the Oreo.  Pre-heart attack I might well have eaten 100 Oreos to help celebrate--food is my addiction.  Rather than land me in jail or a halfway house, my addiction lands me in the hospital on death's door. It is all or nothing with sugary food and salty food.  This is why I keep the vegan simple.  If I make it too hard for me, I set myself up for failure.  This is about my health for the rest of my life and I can't afford to fail.

I found a new blog called Heart Sisters.  It is some really good information.  She, like me, is in the 20% of women who survive the Widow Maker.  You should check it out!

In this health journey, I have found that I am very impatient.  Now that I made the decision to get healthy, I really can't wait to be thin again.  Having been both thin and fat, thin is much better for me.  Plus it is heart healthy.  I can truly say it is a lot of work and if I hadn't had the heart attack, I wouldn't be on my way to thinner....I would be eating 100 Oreo cookies.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hysterically Healthy

So, I find the turn of events this week quite hysterical.   A little history: My friend Deb (who is in the circa 1987 pic with me) is one of the healthiest unhealthy people I know.  She suffers from many symptoms including exhaustion and pseudo allergic reactions.  She has been through multiple medical tests and doctors without a definitive diagnosis.  She recently started seeing her chiropractor on a regular basis.  Guess what her chiropractor has told her?  Drum roll vegan and everything will straighten out!  She has her reasons for saying this, but the basic of it is that it is all nutrition and chemical related.

So, I don't really find it hysterical that my good friend has had all these issues.  What I find hysterical is the fact that she wants to come over this weekend and watch me fix my weekly food.    Have I told everyone that my kitchen hates me??  Really, really hates me. The fact that anyone would want cooking tips from me is an utter scream.  I laugh out loud to myself as I write this.  Alas, she is thinking of coming over this weekend so I can show her the no oil hummus, salad dressing, soup and whatever else I eat.  I think maybe mostly to find out what in the world it is that I eat.  Still, the thought that she knows I could possibly fill the house with smoke and she still wants to come over?  Hysterical! I have thought of the possibility of giving vegan cupcakes a try just to use the whole house oven timers while she is here.

It will be nice to have a Vegas buddy with the same eating as mine.  Three weeks from today -- Vegas!!!!!  Just to get in the mood, here is a link to my pics from last time:  2010 ACM Orange Carpet Pics .  I don't drink or smoke or gamble really, so my trip to Vegas is all about the Orange Carpet pics!  My absolute favorites from these pics? My favorites are the Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman pictures. 

Well, off to bed I go so I can run my cooking presentation for Saturday through my head.  I want to be prepared!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Odds and Ends

Good Sunday to everyone!  So, we are now at the under four week countdown to the uncontrolled food environment of Vegas.  I can't wait to go!! This is a girlfriends trip to go out for five nights including the night of the ACM (Academy of Country Music) awards.  My friend Deb found a great blog for me:  The Vegas Vegan.  This makes me feel better! I can't wait to go because it will be fun to get away with my friends, and I can't wait to go because I am ready to be gone for five days.  The pools will be open and the sun will be out.  The sun is out in Kansas today and this morning I noticed the arrival of chirping birds -- spring is in the air!  I hate winter, so this is fabulous news!

I realized this week is full of motivation for me.  First of all, I set up the Facebook group page for my 25 year high school reunion. I actually am going to two 25 year high school reunions.  I got invited to one that I did not graduate from but went to school with a lot of those folks from K-8. The second is the reunion of the school I actually graduated from.  This is very motivating for me.  Can I tell you how lucky I am not to be the 4th from my class to be on the deceased list?  I am very grateful for that. So, now I am out to be what weight I want to be at so that I can shop cute for the reunions!

This is me on the far left circa 1987:

That is my friend Deb just to the right of me.  She is the Vegas Vegan blog finder!

I also have motivation because I am going to Florida in July.  I love the Gulf Coast of Florida!  We took all five kids, daughter-in-law and grand baby last summer and stayed in a beach front condo.  In retrospect, I really did not feel well last summer.  I am excited to go back this summer and be there while I feel good.  I am taking the two youngest and staying at my mom and dad's.  I'll be thinner and feeling better.  I enrolled the youngest in Dolphin Camp.  How fun will that be for the girl from Kansas who loves Dolphins?  She will have a blast with the "what I did this summer" assignment in August.

So, this is March, June, July and August motivation for me.  By August I hope to be at my goal weight which will not only make me as cute as I can be at 43 but as healthy as I can be too.

I have found some things this week that make my nutrition journey better.  First are these great vegan crackers:
These are awesome and I am so in love!

The other thing I found was some dairy free dark chocolate and it is really good although a little on the expensive side so I won't eat it too often:
I do not use Soy butter because it has some oil in it, but had bought some and it was in the fridge.  My husband has to run up the street to the grocery store on a regular basis when he decides he wants something really unhealthy.  This morning he wanted french toast so he went and bought syrup and frozen french toast.  He pulls out a tub of what he thinks is margarine and asks if he can use the butter I have.  I almost said that is soy, but  kept my mouth shut.  Had I said it was soy, he would have gone back up to the store to buy regular margarine.  I kept my mouth shut and he used it and didn't know the difference;)!  The moral to this story?  Just because it sounds different doesn't mean it is going to be that different.  I have had to keep an open mind as navigate my way through the vegan world.  What I have found is that I have a whole new appreciation for what tastes good--for the natural taste of things.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Loving the Scale

The scale has once again come down!  I am now down 16 lbs and feeling much better about the weight loss.  Of course in all reality, I didn’t start this for the weight loss.  I started it so that I can prevent another heart attack.  I look at those that have had a heart attack and are sitting in front of a huge plate of chicken fried steak and gravy and just shake my head.  Did your heart attack not scare you like mine scared me?  Do you not understand what caused it?  Did you not get good education about heart disease?  I will have to say that my education regarding nutrition was” limit your salt and fat intake.”  The hospital and doctors took wonderful care of me, but I left with piss-poor nutrition information.   I didn’t understand until I saw CNN’s “The Last Heart Attack” how much food plays a part in disease--not just heart disease but diseases like diabetes and cancer too.  They should send everyone who has a heart attack home with some of the books I read.

Back to the weight loss though.  I knew if I changed my eating habits that weight loss would be one of the side effects.  How could it not be?  I have cut processed foods, sugar, fat and added oil. Hold on to your hat—it has even been 2 days since I have had a soda! Even though this is about making my heart healthy, it feels really good to be losing weight.  Of all the ironic things, I am actually struggling to eat enough calories that my body doesn’t think it is starving and I literally eat all day.  For someone who has been fat for so long, this statement is crazy and I could never have imagined myself saying it:).

Right now as I type I am eating a huge leafy green salad with my homemade oil free dressing for breakfast.  It is a large salad and will really fill me up, but it has 50 calories.  I am eating with it 2 cups of raw cauliflower.  It is very filling too but has 35 calories per cup.  That is a lot of food but very little caloric intake.  I had some pasta last night with some of my veggie chili on it to try to up my intake of calories to an acceptable level for weight loss.

I tried out the Mexican spiced veggie crumbles this week.  With my dehydrated no oil tortillas and some fresh salsa, these made the perfect taco salad.  My girls even liked it.  The little one (almost 10 she will tell you and is the self-appointed food watcher for me) was saying “mom, you can’t eat meat – it isn’t good for your heart!”  I let her taste it and told her it wasn’t meat.  She didn’t believe me, so I had to show her the package.  I am going to buy more of these when I go to the store tonight.  This could become a favorite meal!

It turns out I did strike just about the right balance in shopping last week.  The kiddos have had healthy snacks all week!

This week marked the end of heart health awareness month.  A month is not enough--the awareness needs to be so much more for the number one killer of American's!