BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GRANDSON TYLER!We are still in Indiana but we have moved from Timberline Valley RV Resort. We are staying in the second driveway at daughter Amanda and son-in-law Mike’s home in Markleville, IN.
He mentioned to his cardiologist that he was noticing he tired more easily and was short of breath when we were walking up hills or stairs. A few tests later we found out that the bottom chambers of his heart don’t beat together as they should to pump a nice supply of blood and oxygen out to his body, they pump independently instead. A pacemaker is supposed to put his heart into the right rhythm.We decided that it would be better to be close to family. Two of our daughters and their families are here in Markleville in case we need help with anything for a couple of weeks after the surgery. We’ve loaded up the motorcycle and it won’t be coming off the lift again until we reach Mesa at the beginning of November. Greg won’t be able to drive for a week and we go back for a two week checkup. Then our plan is to be able to head for Kansas to visit with son David and his family for at least a little while before we have to head to Mesa for the winter.
Before we knew about the incorrect heart rhythm we knew that his heart muscle wasn’t as strong as it was last year. On the advice of our daughter Robyn and her husband Jason who both work in cardiology at the VA Hospital in Washington, DC we decided to implement some life style changes – reducing sodium and losing weight. Both of these improvements should help reduce the workload on his heart. We started our new eating habits three weeks ago, Greg is down 12 pounds and I am down 9. We can already get into some clothes we couldn’t a few weeks ago J.
Low sodium cooking is a challenge, there is no “quick” meal option to fall back on, everything has to be cooked from scratch (with no salt). We were already following a “reduced sodium” lifestyle, but that wasn’t nearly enough. Our goal is to take in no more than 1500 mg. of sodium per day, we are usually hitting less than 1,000. We took all of the high sodium products out of our pantry, refrigerator and freezer, daughters Desira and Amanda were happy with that since all the food went to them and there was quite a bit. I didn’t want anything in the house that could sabotage our goals. We have been measuring and weighing every bite we eat. We have read nearly every food label in Meijer, Payless and Marsh grocery stores. Greg takes one side of the aisle and I take the other looking for low sodium options. We’ve found several very good ones. Thank goodness for Mrs. Dash products, we have a pot roast cooking now using her pot roast seasoning packet – smells really good.We’ve been studying nutritional charts from some of our favorite places to eat out and have found a few that have items we can still enjoy in moderation. I still like to look at recipes on Pinterest but I look at them in a different light now. I think about how I might be able to still make it taste good with no or little salt.
After three weeks we have restocked our pantry, fridge and freezer and are getting used to what an actual serving of food is supposed to look like. Setting out measuring spoons along with the regular silverware is becoming second nature. And, our fridge is becoming stocked with lots of washed vegetables, homemade spaghetti sauce, bar-b-q sauce, refried beans and other leftovers that make for that quick meal if we need it. We’ve gotten used to writing down every bite we eat and thinking about how to plan for the day. It takes time but it’s getting less time consuming each day as we get more comfortable with the plan.
This experience has shown me how hard it is to find recipes for things low calorie/low sodium that also taste good. As I find some “keepers” I thought I would share them in case anyone else finds the need for them in the future. We took this recipe to a pitch in and it was almost all gone, seems no one missed the salt. This is good as is or the rice without the toppings can be used in tacos and fried rice. Yes, we had some pretty decent fried rice today for lunch, I’ll post it after I tweak it a little more. Remember, I’m not a nutritionist but I do try to check my figures several times to make sure they are as right as I can make them, if anyone spots a problem, please let me know.
1 ½ c. Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Rice1 (20 oz. can) pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple, in juice (I like chunks best)
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. ground ginger
Drain pineapple and measure juice, add water to make 3 cups. Bring juice/water to a gentle simmer. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, place a clean kitchen towel over the pan and then replace the lid. Let rice rest for 5 minutes. Remove lid and towel and fluff the rice with a fork. My calculations show that this makes 7 one-cup servings at 191 calories per serving and zero sodium. When ready to serve, add toppings.
Lime juice, to tasteChopped cashews – 1 T. equals 90 calories and 48 mg. sodium
I’ve frozen some of the rice to see how it works out in future recipes.