Monday, April 4, 2016

More than a dozen fruits, vegetables and nuts daily but no meat

Pasta with pesto, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, walnuts, pine nuts and more. 

Today was a no meat day. My doctors at the stroke prevention clinic have advised me to go meatless every other day. When I do have meat, it usually fish or chicken. Red meat is a once a month treat. Eggs are simply out. I have ice cream with cake on my birthday. My cholesterol levels are down across the board with the bad cholesterol down dramatically. The diet seems to be working.

The right ventricle of my heart is enlarged and the tricuspid valve is leaking. This is all the result of a genetic disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). It sounds bad but if one could choose which part of one's heart is going to fail, choosing the right ventricle is the right decision. The left side of my heart is in pretty good shape as I had the mitral valve repaired robotically some years ago.

The ARVC has disrupted the electrical system of my heart and left me requiring an ICD/pacemaker. An ICD is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. If my heart should begin beating rapidly, it hit 300 bpm once, my ICD shocks the heart forcing it t return to its proper rhythm. I have only had about four shocks and they all were delivered a few hours apart. Such an event is called an ICD storm. My meds were increased and the problem has not returned.

My pacemaker is another matter. It runs almost 100 percent of the time. I have a complete heart block. I run on battery power. I'm a bit like a Tesla automobile. At some point the battery will need to be replaced. At that point, a new unit, complete with a new battery, is put into my chest.

With so much going wrong with my heart, I don't want to add traditional heart disease to the equation. I watch my fats, I eat lots of fresh fruit, lightly cooked vegetables plus a few nuts every day. My diet may be restricted but it doesn't feel that way. I actually eat a far more varied diet today than I did before my ARVC was discovered. I love food, I enjoy cooking and my diet makes me happy. 

Cooking new and imaginative creations is fun. The results, when they turn out, are a mixture of art and craft. When my wife and I sit down for dinner, the meals often look beautiful and taste wonderful. And our meals don't set us back a bundle either. We buy stuff in bulk when its on sale. We have a PC Points card and we try and buy the stuff with bonus points when those products are also on sale. We charge everything with a credit card that returns us one percent of the value of our food expenses. And we are not too proud to price match. 

We try to avail ourselves of every trick. It seems to work. My wife and I are both retired and yet our food expenses are not hard on our limited budget.

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