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chavezk, August 8,  2019  1:28pm EST

Sodium and Caffeine in diet

So last time I went to the Cardiologist my heart monitor said I had elevated PVCs and PACs.  The doctor told me in no uncertain terms I had to drop all caffeine and my alotment for sodium is 1500 mgs.  I'm struggling.  I am not even to dinner yet and already I am at 1964 on the sodium and I had one cup of coffee (when I normally have normally had 6 by now).  I have changed the way I eat. and I incorporated caffeine free coffee and coke into my drinks as well as 80 ounces of water.  My fitbit versa tracks everything which is helpful for me to see where I am going wrong but its really hard.  Anyone want to share some quick healthy breakfasks ideas, or lunches I can eat on the fly?  My job as a project manager keeps me running and not a lot of time to prep stuff.  I would like the bulk of my sodium to come at dinner so I can have a nice meal.  

  • ThoseEyes
    ThoseEyes, August 8,  2019  1:57pm EST

    I'm big on cooking for four although I live alone. Breakfast is easy! I make steel cut oats. The usual amount is four servings, so I eat one and put the rest in portion size glass containers. I top each with raisins and cinnamon, maybe add hemp seeds or some nut butter before eating. They keep just fine in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave.. As for the rest, I tend to graze, but a lot of that is fruit or raw veggies. I never drink soda (it's full of bad things), and coffee (for me) is more about the process than caffine, so I do a single cup of french press once or twice a week. This time of year I prefer cooking in the morning. Same principal of doing it for four (or more) applies. I freeze three portions and save one for later that day. Sometimes I'll make a batch of brown rice or whole wheat pasta, divide it up and top it with "whatever". I used to use fat free plain greek yogurt and frozen fruit for a lunch to take to school, but I know I shouldn't do it as often as I had, same thing for cheese (cheese toast on whole grain bread, rather than grilled cheese). Those things depend on your LDL, that's why I mentioned them. I love salads. There are lots of bagged options in grocery stores now. I add an handful of cherry tomatoes or a roma or cocktail sized one, something for protein and most of the time it doesn't even need a dressing. I might use a little balsamic vinegar, it's been many years since I bought a prepared dressing.

  • JeffB
    JeffB, August 8,  2019  2:17pm EST


    Project managers are my heroes! Well, I’m in tech so that goes without saying right?!

    Anyway, if it were me, I’d boil some oatmeal or make some overnight oats with fruits and nuts (if you can take the fat) for breakfasts. Maybe some yogurts if the sodium levels work for you. You can also explore making homemade yogurt if you like that and possibly tweak the composition over time.

    For lunches then maybe some whole grain stuff (Ezekiel Low Sodium says it has zero grams) then you could make all sorts of veggie sandwiches or even, possibly, salads with croutons and some home made no sodium soups as well that are microwave friendly. The bread I reference is not bad as long as you toast it in my opinion.

    You can also look at the Dash diet, but I think, given your restrictions, you will have to cut it back even further. There are a lot of sites and blogs out there though that talk about flavor alternates. One of my favorite books is “The Flavor Bible.” I don’t have the same restrictions you do but I did look at using things like Sumac, lemon and garlic to amp up the flavors in otherwise bland iterations of my post heart attack diet.

    Good luck and hopefully others will post some good recipes as well.


  • EMON1
    EMON1, August 8,  2019  10:05pm EST

    Maybe I shouldn't even admit it, but I always nursed a mug of coffee from the morning til it ran out, then I would suppliment it with water through the day til evening. I do renovation work and felt food during the day 'bogged me down'. Before my HA, within reason, I figured it gave me a license to 'go to town' as far as dinner was concerned and didn't have weight isssues. [Fair disclosure, I DID smoke] Well, it seemed to work until my HA I had last year in my late 50's, [now I see maybe I was a time-bomb waiting to happen]. I quit the smoking immediately, but old habits die hard and because of all the pills in the morning now 'I try' to grab a piece of toast or a low/no fat yogurt, but still it's pretty much water all day til night, when I'm still working on a much healthier 'binge'.

    P.S.: I did recently read a paper suggesting they now believe missing breakfist can more than double your chances of HA [eek]

  • DolphinWrite
    DolphinWrite, August 8,  2019  11:39pm EST

    One thing might work, which is tough.  I went all in on the diet, like a deer, watching everything.  But when I was looking anorexic, I brought stuff back, cooking more, but eating better.  Maybe not the best, but much better than before.  My weight is good, I work out so more muscle, but I've never been a big guy.  10 hours workout a week, eat well, and occasionally eat out with friends.  Gotta live, but now more intelligent. 😎

  • EMON1
    EMON1, August 9,  2019  5:04am EST

    Paul - I knew there was something about the cut of your jib I liked, lol! Sadly, I think it was the smokes and a bit of bad luck that did us in, not entirely 'scientific', but the last time I saw the cardiologist, to his chagrin, I told him this was all a big mistake. I've been a 'good boy', but I too continue to miss the cigs everyday and have even have had dreams where I find myself smoking and feel guilty. ['So now I'm physically better,and mentally worse' ... I have no death wish, but have thought about 'One of these days ... ' and roll the dice]

    P.S.: You may find this interesting, several months AFTER I quit smoking cold turkey, [never even had a cough], I then developed breathing issues. They sent me here, tested me there, 'it was a mystery'. UNTIL I met doctor who believe it or not confessed he had little trouble believing it would go away if I resumed smoking, but of course he would never suggest for obvious reasons ....

    Well best of health to you,good to see you posting

  • chavezk
    chavezk, August 9,  2019  2:51pm EST

    Thanks for the feedback and sincerely appreciate the suggestions offered as well.  It's a process but I am learning everything I can.

  • ThoseEyes
    ThoseEyes, August 9,  2019  3:59pm EST

    FWIW, I've always found spicy to be more satisfying than salty and a little can go a long way. I've been known to put hot salsa on plain chicken or eggs. I discovered frozen Mexican street corn in Costco the other day. It came in a big bag with four smaller bags inside. I prepared one yesterday and put some over kale salad. Worked for me. It probably would have been good to add black beans too.

    I recently steamed a head of cauliflower. I put some of it briefly in the food processor just so there were a variety of textures. Added it to a cooked pound of whole wheat pasta and a can of tomatos with chilis. Lots for the freezer. I added a small amount of diced sharp cheddar when I ate it. It was colorful, interesting, tasted good and healthy. I didn't miss the bechamel at all.

    Don't assume. We have trendy vegan restaurants around where I live. They don't post their nutritonial information. A lot of their menus are intended to substitute for what are perceived as comfort foods. While they're potentially good for the environment and humanitarian reasons, I don't know how healthy they are overall. But people assume.

    As a society we've been conditioned to consume too much salt, sugar and animal products. Cutting back seems hard, but it doesn't take long to adapt.

  • EMON1
    EMON1, August 9,  2019  7:24pm EST

    Chavezk - I too apologize for straying off topic .....  [but isn't everything about me, ABSOLUTELY just kidding]

    Wishing you the very best of health, (mind and body), on this crazy journey!


    [@Paul, back at you!]

  • chavezk
    chavezk, August 12,  2019  8:07am EST

    Thanks again!  I tried the steel oats.  I found this amazing sugar free low (almost no) sodium preserves at Hyvee grocery and picked up an orange marmalade one.  I mixed that in with the steel oats (prepared without salt) and found it so satisfying.  What a great suggestion.  I haven't been able to find the bread mentioned but I will see if amazon has it.  I enjoy greek yogurts on occasion and salad.  and @ThoseEyes; I love spicy food too.  I've started chopping up fresh jalepenos and serranos in everything to replace salt.  I use fresh salsa to give eggs and meats a kick and I found a mrs dash called fiesta lime that is a great salt replacer in things like Chili.  Last week I really made some changes.  I am also up to 10,000 steps a day and starting to feel a little less lethargic.  When I wrote the above post I was having a super hard day.  Thank you guys for helping me get on track.  It was a great weekend.  :)

  • ThoseEyes
    ThoseEyes, August 12,  2019  8:29am EST

    Ezekiel bread? It's pretty widely available, I've seen it in Trader Joe's and even WalMart's website says they carry it in their stores.

    Be careful about trying to make what you eat now look like what you used to eat because all too often that means substituting one unhealthy thing for another. Low sugar or low fat are good examples. I was pretty surprised at what I've seen served in some vegan restaurants. They tend to be about humanitarian and environmental concerns, but not necessarily healthy.

    It never occured to me to use salt in my oatmeal. It's just a cup of oats and four of water. SImilarly, I never considered adding any sort of sweetner. It's always been fruit and cinnamon. Similarly, just fruit in yogurt. You like oranges? Try Mandarin oranges. They're sold in bags under the name "Cuties", probably intended to be lunchbox items for kids. But they're a great size to add to oatmeal, yogurt, a salad, or just to dress a plate up and make you feel good about what you're eating. This is peach season, use them too. None of them need the chemicals in the little packets.

    FWIW, I'm 71 and my STEMI was in May. I'd complained a few years ago to my PCP about what I now know was CAD, she couldn't find anything so dismissed it as being anxiety. I stopped going to any doctor at that point and didn't return for 2 1/2 years. That was when I was actually having an MI. My new PCP and cardiologist are amused by me because I'm most definitely not an anxious little old lady! I came out of this amazingly well (the cardio's words) and expect things to keep getting better. That's quite a pleasant surprise.

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