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Breakfast Casserole- Leftovers Tomorow or for Lunch-Oatmeal(starch) and fruit June 12, 2017

I,have started with a specific diet with guidance from the,books and recipes of John ( and Mary)  McDougall. Dr.McDougall is a proponent of a starch centered plant- based diet. As a physician he has seen many patients benefit from this diet and do so for a long time.  It is a much easier lifestyle to adhere to since it is very satisfying with volume of healthful nutritious food. The starches as a foundation provide that satiety as well as fiber and nutrients. 

Potatoes and sweet potatoes plus winter squash , whole grains and legumes fill us up AND release nutrient rich energy.

What to eat in the morning? ( or save for lunch!!!)
        OATMEAL

Baked Oatmeal Casserole

Prep: 15 min. Cook: 10 min.                Serves:4-6

This is a great recipe to make the night before, then just heat in the oven for a rich and hearty breakfast. 

Ingredients: 

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup rice milk or non-dairy milk

1  cup water

2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries, currants, or chopped dried apricots

1/2 box oil-free, whole-grain cereal, crushed

sauce-

3 bananas

1cup crushed pineapple

1tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup orange juice or apple juice

1/2 cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all the oatmeal ingredients in a sauce pot and simmer, on low heat, until done, about 6 minutes. Pour into a casserole dish and top with the crushed cereal. Cover and refrigerate until morning.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until the cereal is just starting to turn brown. While the casserole is baking, make the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve the sauce over the hot oatmeal casserole (the sauce may be heated if you prefer).
@martyroddy

 

A FIB, Atrial Fibrillation – Getting the Rhythm Back June 11, 2017

I have been writing lately about my diagnosis of heart failure / Atrial Fibrillation {A Fib} and the reasons I was unable to breathe comfortably at the beginning of March ( actually I was struggling and living a risky life for a few weeks before). Now that the diagnosis is in, I have the opportunity to overcome the problems that led to it and prepare for and live a healthy life.

The first situation was a 10 day stay in the hospital where the primary concern was helping me breathe easily again. This was achieved through an intensive medical regimen-centered on diuretics to flush my body of excess fluids. I lost nearly 50 pounds of fluid during the hospital stay. I continued to flush and lost more than 100 pounds.

What else was done or is done to treat and /or deal with heart failure and AFib ? What was prescribed for me?

  1. Medical- While in the hospital the doctors tried a handful of medicines to see what would work and eventually I ended up with prescriptions for 2 blood pressure medications(anti-hypertensives) One and A.C.E. inhibitor and a Calcium Channel blocker. I have also been taking a baby aspirin as a blood thinner(platelet thinner) As well as continued use of a low dose diuretic to reduce fluid build up.  I have also been taking magnesium and potassium since these valuable electrolytes are often flushed with diuretic use.
  2. Exercise- Though it was not specifically “prescribed” I was determined to get back to working out and the doctors seemed to let me go. I was essentially starting over so I was not able to overdo things at the beginning, and now almost 3 months later, I still can not really overdo it when I walk or ride or row BUT I have been tempted to push it a little with the resistance exercises ( lifting weights/machines)  I have experienced an increase in strength and fitness as I do the work and have even felt the cardio-vascular fitness improve. I have short and long term goals that include completing another marathon….but today I hope to be able to walk 2 1/2 miles in the next few weeks.
  3. Lose Weight- The goal here is to reach a weight that puts my BMI in the right zone, allows me to walk and run with little or no pain in my knees and I can wear clothing sizes I have not looked at in years.  Though I have listed this as a separate prescription it goes hand in hand with #2 and #4- [exercise and diet] I also got  nice head start with the 100 pound fluid loss , reduce stress on knees and body and allow me to keep moving. I recently started using a Heart rate monitor(I will write about using it later).
  4. Diet- The dietary recommendations were simple….NO SALT….NO SALT…NO SALT with a secondary focus on limiting fluids to 64 oz a day and a final focus on eating a low fat, low sugar diet with a focus on veggies and fruits and whole grains. I have just started on a specific popular program for weight loss and heart health and will write about it later.                                 AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST
  5. CARDIOVERSION TREATMENT -Cardioversion is a medical procedure done to restore a normal heart rhythm for people who have certain types of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias). Cardioversion is most often done by sending electric shocks to your heart through electrodes placed on your chest. This may also be accomplished with medicines. This treatment will take place this week and i an eager for the results. I am curious how my fitness activities will feel when my heart is beating in a normal fashion.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/PreventionTreatmentofArrhythmia/Cardioversion_UCM_447318_Article.jsp#.WT1lTozyuM8

 

@martyroddy

 

ASPARAGUS- Joyful little tasty surprises from the ground June 6, 2017

It is the heart of Farmers Market season, and in Virginia the good as gold crop in the early season is always asparagus. The delicious sprouts clean out of the for,early cold ground to feed us with delicious, tender goodness. Thy have a short season but it is so delicious. 

Growing asparagus is also rewarding if you have the patience to wait for them to grow, season and develop over a 2 year prep period.

The following is one of many recipes I use to enjoy these tasty surprises.
INGREDIENTS
2 cups chickpeas soaked 6 hours, cooked over medium heat for 1 1-2

Fresh thyme  and freshly ground pepper

1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed

 3 tablespoons extra virgin- cocunut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced ( or more to taste)

Juice and zest 1 lemon

1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
DIRECTIONS
Soak and cook beans , can add onions garlic, pepper when cooking.

 Blanch asparagus in pot ,for 1 minute,rinse under cold water.transfer to ice.

 Drain beans , shake off excess water. Make sur  asparagus is dry

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Swirl in oil, then add garlic and beans and season.

 Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer beans to a plate with a slotted spoon. Let skillet cool slightly, then whisk lemon juice into oil in skillet; season with salt and pepper. (Add more oil if dressing is too tart.) Add asparagus; toss to coat with dressing.

Combine almonds and lemon zest in a small bowl. Transfer asparagus to a platter, top with beans, and drizzle remaining dressing in skillet over top. Sprinkle with almond-zest mixture and serve.

 

MAGNESIUM Poor ? , Eat Up for Your Heart and Body June 5, 2017

I recently wrote about potassium and what to eat to increase and/or maintain necessary levels in the body . Magnesium is a mineral that is also extremely important for physical health and vitality and especially for heart health.

Magnesium is in demand for enzyme function throughout the  body- at least 300 enzymes utilize Mg to function properly. There are hundreds ( thousands) of proteins that need Mg for proper binding function.

The heart uses more magnesium than all other organs and the maintenance of proper serum Mg levels limits promotes vigorous heart health and reduces high blood pressure, prevents arrhythmia ,cardiovascular disease and even sudden cardiac death.

Many people are deficient in magnesium ( 50-80%) and are at risk for diseases and symptoms related to magnesium deficiency.  
FOODS FOR MAGNESIUM:

  • Dark leafy greens – spinach,chard, kale, mustard…
  • Nuts and seeds- almonds, walnuts, macadamias,pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
  • Bananas
  • Coffee- black 
  • Cacao and Dark chocolate
  • Beans/ Legumes- black beans, kidneys, pintos….
  • Whole grains
  • Figs
  • Potatoes 
  • Brassicas – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale
  • Mackerel 

Here is some video information on Magnesium and the heart:


@martyroddy

 

Heart Failure, Heart Health and Nutrients- POTASSIUM May 31, 2017

Now that I am continuing my challenge with heat failure, and since I am continuing to use diuretics the potential for flushing necessary nutrients from my system grows every day. 2 of the more important minerals are POTASSIUM and MAGNESIUM.  This post will focus on getting enough potassium back in our bodies.

 

Low potassium levels can cause muscle weakness and heart rhythm disturbances. Reduced potassium can lead to -HYPOKALEMIA-  which can cause muscle cramps, muscle aches and muscle weakness(as noted above). The heart is a muscle so cramps and weakness can be problematic. Another symptom is heart palpitations.

We can end up with reduced/low potassium as the result of the medicines we take to deal with our cardiac issues.

With all this concern- where can we get potassium in our diet?

POTASSIUM N FOODS:

  • potatoes and sweet potatoes    600-900 mgs (depending on serving size)
  • beans                                             400-600
  • dried apricots                              500-1500
  • avocado                                        700-900
  • banana                                          400
  • dark leafy greens                         150-200
  • Squash-winter                              350-500
  • mushrooms                                    100-300

 

With a thoughtful but simple combination of the foods we can rest assured that we have enough potassium in our system to prevent any serious challenge with our hearts.

What will you add to your daily diet?

@martyroddy

 

HEART FAILURE – OK Now Whats for Dinner? May 30, 2017

The diagnosis of heart failure is/was shocking but additional information and research revealed that :

  • it is not a death sentence
  • it can be lived with and
  • it can be overcome with diet and exercise

Now when I arrived at the hospital I could not walk 20 meters without being out of breath, the diagnosis was actually a relief before it was a shock.  I now knew why I felt so bad. AND the medical team made it clear that I  could overcome and even thrive.

A lifestyle change that includes adjustments in diet and an increase in exercise. The diet will be a lifestyle change “forever” not just temporarily reducing calories and  weight for now. It has been fun, learning some new foods and recipes.

There are 2 authors/physicians and cardiac experts that i have read about before and have read A LOT about recently.  Drs. Dean Ornish and John McDougall have been proponents of very low fat, plant-based/plant focused diets.

Dr.Ornish published a great book, EAT MORE, WEIGH LESS  and it is loaded with great recipes as well as tremendous common sense information with evidence that such a diet improves and even heals heart damage.

Dr.McDougall has 2 “cornerstone books” , MCDOUGALL PROGRAM FOR MAXIMUM WEIGHT LOSS and THE STARCH SOLUTION. Both focus on plant-based, low/no fat diet choices much like Dr.Ornish.

Where to find these guys?  search the web or go to:

  1. http://www.ornish.com
  2. http://www.drmcdougall.com

BUT WHAT CAN WE EAT?

  • Beans- dried or canned (choose salt-free) – loaded with fiber and protein
  • Garlic – eat, add to foods and take as supplement
  • Spinach and Dark,leafy greens
  • nuts and seeds – good fats and loaded with minerals and protein (almonds,walnuts, brazils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • salmon- great omega fats as well as protein
  • soy protein- organic tofu, tempeh, miso , edamame beans
  • whole grains
  • fresh fruits and vegetables

A future post may include information on specific nutrients required for heart failure patients( magnesium, potassium, good fats).

 

 

@martyroddy

 

 

 

What  a Heart Failure ? May 26, 2017

Now that I am dealing with, treating this diagnosis and was surprised by it when I went to the hospital in March. Initially I was relieved to hear a diagnosis and a couple of doctors and nurses tell me that it can be overcome.   

They gave me that hope without any deep information nor explanations. Eventually a few folks from Social work, social service offices brought information about Heart Failure. It include a cursory description of what it was and a little bit how it gets started. The information also had suggestions for living with it and treating it.

  • Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood  to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.      
  • the heart can’t keep up with its workload.      
  • The heart is a muscle that pumps blood to the other organs of the body, but “Heart Failure” doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working. It means it can’t pump properly

Certain behaviors can lead to heart failure:

  • Eating foods that are high in salt, fat, and cholesterol 
  •  getting enough physical activity. 
  • Being overweight

I found a few videos with some basic info.

– this first one was interesting as I started my journey with symptoms of bronchitis and ended up in the Emergency room. Unable to breathe with A FIB AND heart failure.

-The following has a few useful tips for dealing with and living with heart failure.

@martyroddy