Dispatches from Fat-Burbia: It's Not You; It's Me
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
When I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), I knew that my life would be forever changed, but it took a minute for the enormity of it to fully sink in. Once it did, I came to the realization that there are certain foods I would never eat again. Once you've been placed in a low sodium/low potassium diet, your food choices dwindle significantly. My favorite food of all time is a hot dog. So much so, that my version of Heaven involves me walking around Heaven with my father and all the dogs I've owned while I eat a never-ending Nathan's hot dog and praising the Lord. That's how much I LOVE hot dogs. After leaving the hospital, I stared a pack of hot dogs in my refrigerator and said the following: "It's not you Nathan [that's what I call them]; It's me. Things between us are just not working out. I have to concentrate on me now and you're just not a part of those plans anymore." Breaking up was definitely hard to do. It was hard, but very necessary. The time had come for me to say goodbye to the way I used to eat and hello to a new way of life.
Get to Clucking!
They say the best way to get over an old love to replace it with a NEW love. I had to find something I could come to love more than hot dogs. Although it was hard, I started dating poultry. We've been seeing each other rather hot and heavy since March. This relationship seems like it's going to last. Sometimes I cheat on poultry with fruit and vegetables, but I always come back to good poultry. Chicken and turkey should become a staple in any person's diet living with CHF. Instead of being sad that I could no longer eat hot dogs, sausage, and a variety of other pickled pork products, I doubled down on poultry, new fruits and vegetables. I've come to love my new boyfriends and they are VERY good to me. I made a list of every food I used to love eating and met with my dietician to see what foods could replace them. Now instead of salted, creamy butter, I use ghee and organic coconut oil. Instead of iodized table salt, I use pink Himalayan salt. Instead of refined white granulated sugar, I use agave or stevia. It's as though things have not changed all that much. Over the last month, food has slowly changed from being a source of comfort to a tool I use to become more healthy. Now don't get me wrong, when I drive past a Nathan's or a Cookout, those hotdogs certainly call my name. When that happens, I pull up a picture on my phone of the IVs I had in each arm and the biopsy I had of kidneys where they went in through my neck. Those thoughts and those pictures keep my driving home to have some stewed chicken and fruit. Temptress, thy name is Nathan's. Le sigh...
Favorite Low-Sodium Recipe
All is not lost, however. Incorporating a variety of poultry dishes into your diet is fun. I've learned to switch things up, make up some exciting dishes and enjoy some flavorful food...WITHOUT ALL THE SALT. One of my favorites is Stewed Fruity Chicken because I can throw it in a crock pot when I go to bed and it's all done when I wake up in the morning.
- 2 Turkey or Chicken Breasts
- 1/2 cup Organic Honey
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Tumeric
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
- 3 Apples, sliced
- 1 cup Raspberries
- 1 Pineapple, sliced
- 2 Bosc Pears
- Slice apples and pears. Line the bottom of the crock pot with them.
- Place the chicken or turkey breasts on top of the apples and pears.
- Add dry ingredients, raspberries and pineapple.
- Add honey and apple cider vinegar.
- Cover the crock pot and let cook on high for 4 hours 30 minutes.
How Hard was Your Break Up?
What was the hardest thing for you to give up once you decided to be healthy?
My Other New Boyfriend...Exotic Fruit
Exploring the World through Fruit
As a CHF patient, you are encouraged to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables. After awhile, you get tired of apples, pears and the like. I decided to pop over to my local international farmer's market to see what the world has to offer. Lo and behold I discovered Dragon Fruit! This fluffy gift from God comes in white/black and pink/black...both are delicious. It lends itself best to smoothies, but using a melon ball scoop and mixing it with berries is another favorite was to serve it. Take a trip to your local international market and see what you can find. Vendors are always happy to provide samples. It's kind of like fruity speed dating. I hope you find your next "boyfriend."
The Ten Best Fruits in the World
Star Fruit...Heaven in Your Mouth
Health Benefits of Star Fruit
At just 1.8mg of sodium per serving (one piece of fruit), Star Fruit can be your best friend. It can be found in any international farmer's market for next to nothing. In other words, if pricey dragon fruit is not your bag, then date Star Fruit. He's always a good cheap date. It's rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C; and low in sugar, sodium, and acid.
Loving My New Relationship
Now that I've settled into life as a CHF patient, my relationship with food has changed from an abusive, codependent mess to a healthy, exciting love affair. I look forward to my meals and enjoy every bite. There's no more guilt, no more condemnation and no more bad side effects. Bloating is a thing of the past and I'm no longer sleepy after eating. I feel full, my heart thanks me, my kidneys thank me and my liver thanks me.