The first few days after I came home from the hospital, it was hard as I had to think about what I ate. My appetite was less than usual, and I did not really have the energy to cook, explore or eat much.
On day 1, my wife was keen on getting me on the right path quick and cooked (literally) some selected vegetables in water. It was a few carrots, some zucchini and perhaps a tomato.
It was a very simple vegetable broth, with large chunks of cucumber and peppers. She decided not to add any herbs at all, so it was rather plain. Her intentions were wonderful, but if this was going to be the way I would eat for the rest of my life, she might as well bury me.
Thankfully it was only that one day, and we started to play with healthier options.
It certainly helped when the nutritionist/dietician visited us to talk about my food intake. She wanted to make sure that we could read the labels on foods, what foods to avoid and monitor salt intake to 2000mg per day.
With the new lifestyle and change in diet, it allowed me to do what I really enjoy – cook and play in the kitchen. I quickly found out that removing large quantities of foods that I truly love, was not the end of the World. It is just a matter of doing a little simple research and to shop differently.
You will be amazed by how much salt we normally absorb during a day. It becomes all too clear when you start looking at what you eat.
- 1,000 milligrams (mg) for children aged 1 to 3
- 1,200 mg for children aged 4 to 8
- 1,500 mg for people aged 9 to 50
- 1,300 mg for adults aged 51 to 70
- 1,200 mg for seniors over 70 years of age
When you cook, you have to remove salt/sodium where possible, and that can make it challenging to cook nice tasting meals – in the beginning 🙂
Once you learn some cool tricks, then cooking becomes fun again, and you will be able to prepare wonderful meals for your family and friends. And neither will notice you skipped the salt. It’s magic.
Chicken or beef broths are used for many dishes. We would have used broth flavored dried cubes, and might have thrown 1-2 cubes into a pot of stew or soup.
I quickly found some excellent recipes for making broths, and have used them ever since. Yes, it takes a while longer to make broths yourself, but it is worth it. You just make a large portion during the weekend, fill them in mason jars and then freeze them. When you need one for cooking, just dump it in the stew or soup. Magic!
I will share my recipes later when I have found a good way to write and share recipes.
Herbs are the magic ingredients
You have to invest in some new herbs, as you can no longer use salt and various herb mixes. I’ve found that using Cayenne pepper is fantastic. Just sprinkle in a little and it will boost the flavor of the dish.
Garlic powder is something most BBQ enthusiasts have in their cupboards, so use it.
Some companies like Frag Out Flavor have low sodium in their herb mixes. They are great for many dishes and they ship directly to your house. What I also admire is that they are Vets who are making awesome products. Try it out!
Coffee – Coffee – Decaf coffee
I’ve always been an excessive coffee drinker. I would easily consume 10-18 cups of coffee a day, even before going to bed. So, you can imagine the fear in my eyes when the cardiologist told me to stay away from caffeinated coffee.
My previous experiences with defac coffee have been less than desirable. It tasted like dishwater and was not real coffee.
But, I needed my coffee fix and started to investigate decaf options.
Thankfully my favorite coffee brand came to the rescue. Black Riffle Coffee Company, another amazing company run by Vets, have a large range of coffees. I’m an avid subscriber and get a monthly shipment, and was overly pleased when I tried their “Just Decaf” selection.
This is not the End!
Just because you receive a medical wakeup call, or some events take over that forces you to reassess your health regime, it does not mean that you cannot live and continue to enjoy things.
It is just a matter of rediscovering the variety of products, spices, options, new foods etc. that can and will make it worthwhile.
I’m cooking new exciting meals for the family. Preparing lunches I wouldn’t have done in the past and eating so much healthier.
Embrace the new lifestyle and enjoy it!