Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shopping Adventures

In my previous post, I mentioned my having to shop harder to find the foods that are safe for my husband.

I found that most meats, chicken, turkey or pork, are injected with a salt broth solution to make it more tender. BUNK! Give me untainted food. They are taking the choice away from me by not offering meats that come without their helpful salt baths.

For that reason, I like Whole Foods Markets. I found some very unique sweet potatoes there. Hannah's are really cool and they come out yellow. The flavor is a little different than the regular orange yams I'm used to. They even have purple ones! That's for my next trip. The drawback as far as I can see is they didn't offer a lot of No-Fat or Low-Fat options. Or even No Salt options - they use a lot of Sea Salt but that has the same amount of sodium as table salt so it's still bad for a heart attack victim's diet.

Our local Stop & Shop chains have a much better offering of the Low or No Fat products. Even cheeses and sour creams are sold as a No Fat option. The price might be a bit higher than I'd like but we really don't have a choice. We no longer make these products ourselves or on local farms - and I don't know if dairy farmers even have the facilities to make anything low/no fat. Who does do that? I'm assuming a secondary factory somewhere. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

The final place that I'm happy about and grateful to have as a resource is Trader Joe's. I found SNACK FOOD! Their Bran muffins with blueberries was a hit with my husband, so were the dried Plantain. They look like bananas but they crunch like potato chips. Very cool. The roasted seaweed is an acquired taste I think. Husband hated it but my kids scarfed them up in one day. I love the 21 Spice Salute of theirs and prefer it over Mrs. Dash. Why? I think it is lighter and sweeter and I smell more citrus in the mix. Mrs. Dash is heavy handed in the pungent herbs like oregano and basil. I found some very low salt wheat tortillas at TJ's too. I didn't need them this trip but when I do, I'll know where to go.

Between the three stores, I think I'll be able to find what I need.

Here's the thing. Changing our eating lifestyle is HARD. Hard to break our typical and usual eating habits and harder on our finances.

I was talking to another friend at the library and she made this comment.

"These days, with everything going up in price, the only people who can eat healthy and buy the organic foods to sustain that better lifestyle are the rich."

She's right. In the winter. At least in the late spring, summer and early fall we have the benefit of farmer's markets to shop at. But right now? We have to pay the higher prices for imported organic foods. And organic food is higher anyway.

The diet that my husband is on says to eat at least three meals of fish a week, preferably salmon or mackerel. Excuse me? Have you checked out your seafood department lately? Salmon on average is $14.00 to $16.00 a pound. Try feeding a family of four with that kind of price tag, especially with two growing boys in the mix. (Hello, bottomless pits)

Did you know that Hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils are on the WORST list for ingredients in processed foods? Try that new one I found, Interesterified fats. I found it while trying to buy a low salt generic store brand box of saltines. I didn't buy it because I was perplexed as to what this new ingredient was. Boy, am I glad I checked before I bought. What the heck are they trying to do to the people in this country???

You realize of course that it all comes down to the bottom line, money. The big manufacturers don't care about our health and well being, just money. They don't give a flying fig that they are contributing to the high cost of future medical care from the diseases of the body they are germinating within us. Low income families have no choice but to buy what they can afford. And those are products of long shelf life that can be cheaply made with all these wonderful chemically altered mutated elements that may once have started off natural and now are so changed that they harm the consumers after long term exposure.

The nurse in the cardiac ICU said that they are seeing 25 year olds coming in with hardened arteries. YOU THINK? - look at the crap they are selling to kids! Did you know that hydrogenated fats are in Hot Cocoa mixes? And kids LOVE hot cocoa in the winter. It's a must for this time of year. Product after product and more than one gets ingested each day, every day. I am MAD! I am SCARED.

So, after working a whole day, I have to come home and make like Donna Reed and Martha Stuart and create a meal using no helpful pre-made mixes or assists and help with homework, clean the house and do everything else.

Is there a support group for swapping normal recipes out there that is user friendly? I'm interested.

What do I mean by normal? Recipes with ingredients that are easy to find, simple to assemble and can be created in 45 minutes and are geared to heart attack survivors and their families.

And don't say the American Heart Association. I do not find their website easy to navigate, nor do I find their recipes all that helpful. (weird ingredients) Just saying.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tragedy Averted

It's taken me awhile to be able to have the time and presence of mind to blog about this.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, that was 2 Tuesdays ago, my husband suffered a heart attack.

I'm lucky I still have him. The Saturday before we had a bit of a row which was the worst we'd had in our 25 yrs together. From his perspective, it was serious and he claimed I didn't love him.

Fast forward a couple of days and by my actions I proved that I did. I didn't listen to him. I ignored his words. He said, "I'll call the MD once I get to work" and proceeded to shave, fix his tie, brush his teeth and ignore the fact that his left arm was numb, he had shortness of breath and he had a pain in the middle of his chest.

I turned right around and called the MD. Of course they said get him to the E.R. He says, "I don't want to go by ambulance."

So, in a snow storm, I drove him. He says I drove like a bat out of hell and he's awfully proud of that. Me? I'm pissed I couldn't go faster because I ended up behind 3 cars and a truck who were going at a snail's pace down back country roads. No passing anywhere.

Guys? Some advice. Call a frigging ambulance. Don't be stubborn because I tell you, your life IS on the line. When an ambulance responds, they have the gear and the meds to assist immediately to stabilize you. Driving in a car, stuck behind cars whose drivers have NO idea about the medical emergency driving behind them, means that if he went into full out cardiac arrest there would have been nothing I could have done to help him. I'd be an early widow.

God was our co-pilot, our guide and our strength. We made it. The MD flat out said that because I got him there as fast as I did, (and it would have been MUCH faster if I didn't have those frigging cars in my path) is the only reason he survived the heart attack.


He ended up 95% blocked in the artery that caused it all. We later found out that he is 40% in two others. He had one stent put in.

What does that mean for his future? That means a diet low in salt, fats and high in Omega 3s, veggies and other healthy foods is a must. I'd often mention his breakfast regime of sausage, bacon, ham - all those processed Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's breakfast sandwiches - were bad and doing him harm. Him being a guy, ignored me. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

::face palm:: Unless a man can see inside his body, he shouldn't assume no symptoms means no worries.

Now? He can't have kielbasa, liverwurst and veal loaf; his favorite comfort foods. No pizza, no ice cream, no butter, no salt -- let's face it -- he can no longer have any of the trappings that society relies on for flavoring food.

And me? I am the one who bears the brunt of providing him a changed nutritional food venue day in and day out. I have to learn to shop differently, prepare the food differently, read labels and organize my time a lot more efficiently.

Why?

Because ALL of the pre-processed foods touted on TV and in magazines that say they will simplify your life by saving you time end up costing you time on this earth. They are NOT healthy. Hello, Trans fats anyone? They are NOT good for you. They are in crackers, cookies and in foods you'd never expect! Now I have to build time into pre-making my own broth because I have to let the fat harden and skim it off before I can even use it.

Do you realize that every flippin' turkey or chicken I tried to buy has been "flavor enhanced"? I simply could NOT find anything fresh or frozen that was untainted or non-manipulated. (if that's a word)

Do you know what that means? They are not doing it to make our food tasty. Oh no. They claim that but what it really does is preserve the food for longer shelf life. For centuries societies have used salt to preserve food. Here, they use so danged much it's ridiculous. We are basically becoming pickled humans.

The only turkey I could find not tampered with was at Whole Foods Market. Do you know what I PAID for the bird? FORTY DOLLARS!!! Just so I could give him lean meat, healthy meat not already loaded with the salt he needs to stay away from.

And the doctors wonder why we have so many cases of high blood pressure in this country. Just go food shopping and read the labels. You'll see.

So, that's my momentous update. I'm on a new food journey and I'm glad for Google because I'm relying on it a lot for guidance, recipes and choices.

Readers - pay attention to your diet choices - it will prolong your quality of life.