Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Many people have asked if I have tried it and yes I have and its YUMMY! Try it at your next gathering, it’s light, refreshing, tasty and a bit of a kick to it! Let me know what you think …

  1. 1 -1/2 cups of chopped avocado (chop 2 up and make the measuring easy!)
  2. 1 cup of chopped strawberries
  3. 2 tbsp. of minced fresh cilantro
  4. Jalapeno seeded and chopped (how much heat can you handle? Add it in!)
  5. 2 tsp. of fresh lime juice
  6. Spices … garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and pinch No Salt

Mix it all together and serve with your favorite Low Salt tortilla chip! Your guest will LOVE THIS ONE! Photo by jSilva Photography

Ugh!!! Cutting back on the Salt, you can do this. <3

I can so relate to this …

recommended daily allowance says … 2300 MG’s of sodium a day

where most get 3400 MG’s

myself and 50% of America are on low sodium diets keeping sodium, 1500 MG’s. per day

This article is on the Mayo clinic Website, this website always offers great information; read below to see what I recently found. Many people ask me how I do this … I have repeated parts or all of this at some point or another. It makes me feel good to I have learned and maintained my course for 11 months. I have highlighted one very important area, so if you truly want to do this and salt has been your best friend for years, don’t attempt a bland dish. I have had bland dishes, not by choice but by necessity because I had to in the beginning.

I have ALWAYS had low blood pressure, so to be on a low sodium diet would seem contractive I know. My heart is the issue and has been all my life from what I have learned and the doctors aren’t beating down my door to fix it now. So I learned to deal with it and to make my heart and kidneys work together, I do this with low salt and 64 oz. of fluid a day. Because these two body organs cant’s get along I retain water and if not monitored I can drown basically. So what do I get Salty Chaos …

Peeps keep reading you will find some facts and good ideas to beat the bland, I am aggressive with my seasonings, rarely use a salt substitute, and eat only natural meats and cheeses. The highlights below could be my medical record! I had acute kidney failure and they determined I have congestive heart failure, which I have had all my life. If you or someone close to you can relate to this, than share my blog with them, it could save their life.

Here is the Mayo clinic website …

Sodium: Essential in small amounts

  • Your body needs some sodium to function properly because it:
    • Helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body
    • Helps transmit nerve impulses
    • Influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles

Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health. When your body sodium is low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium. When body sodium is high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine. But if for some reason your kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to build up in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, your blood volume increases, which makes your heart work harder and increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced. Some people’s bodies are more sensitive to the effects of sodium than are others. If you’re sodium sensitive, you retain sodium more easily, leading to fluid retention and increased blood pressure. If this becomes chronic, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and congestive heart failure.

Sodium: What are the sources of Sodium?

  • Processed and prepared foods.
    The vast majority of sodium in the typical American diet comes from foods that are processed and prepared. These foods are typically high in salt and additives that contain sodium. Processed foods include bread, pizza, cold cuts and bacon, cheese, soups, fast foods, and prepared dinners, such as pasta, meat and egg dishes.
  • Natural sources. Some foods naturally contain sodium. These include all vegetables and dairy products, meat, and shellfish. While they don’t have an abundance of sodium, eating these foods does add to your overall body sodium content. For example, 1 cup (237 milliliters) of low-fat milk has about 100 mg of sodium.
  • In the kitchen and at the table. Many recipes call for salt, and many people also salt their food at the table. Condiments also may contain sodium. One tablespoon (15 milliliters) of soy sauce, for example, has about 1,000 mg of sodium.

Tips for cutting back on Sodium

  • Eat more fresh foods. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium. Also, fresh meat is lower in sodium than are luncheon meat, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and ham. Buy fresh or frozen poultry or meat that hasn’t been injected with a sodium-containing solution. Look on the label or ask your butcher.
  • Opt for low-sodium products. If you do buy processed foods, choose those that are labeled “low sodium.” Better yet, buy plain whole-grain rice and pasta instead of products that have added seasonings.
  • Remove salt from recipes whenever possible. You can leave out the salt in many recipes, including casseroles, soups, stews and other main dishes that you cook. Look for cookbooks that focus on lowering risks of high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Limit use of sodium-laden condiments. Soy sauce, salad dressings, sauces, dips, ketchup, mustard and relish all contain sodium.
  • Use herbs, spices and other flavorings to season foods. Use fresh or dried herbs, spices, zest and juice from citrus fruit to jazz up your meals. Sea salt, however, isn’t a good substitute. It has about the same amount of sodium as table salt.
  • Use salt substitutes wisely. Some salt substitutes or light salts contain a mixture of table salt and other compounds. To achieve that familiar salty taste, you may use too much of the substitute — and get too much sodium. Also, many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride. Although potassium can lessen some of the problems from excess sodium, too much potassium can be harmful especially if you have kidney problems or if you’re taking medications for congestive heart failure or high blood pressure that cause potassium retention

The Turning Point

After weeks of doctors and nurses care, I was left to begin this journey I am now on. The doctors didn’t always agree what was best for me, but one thing I did learn was if I didn’t say something and make decisions on my own that were best for me, I had no one to blame but myself. So what does this look like, well as I mentioned in my previous blog, my heart and kidney’s are my problem, is short my heart beats strong sending blood through my body, but beating weak when bringing blood back through, causing water to retain in my legs. My kidney’s get mixed messages from my heart because of this they don’t know whether to keep the fluid (which we need and if something is wrong with us water is sent to the area of our body that needs it) or lose it. Because of this I was retaining water I didn’t need and eventually untreated I could have drowned from it. The million dollar question ~ How do we fix this?

Heart doctor tells me I breathe shallow, which comes from the way my heart beats strong on one side and weak on the other. They aren’t overly concerned with this, since this is how I have lived most of my life. The edema doctor would like to see me spend my days elevating by legs, the kidney and heart doctor want to see me walking and exercising while elevating my legs in between, and my primary doctor wants to see me exercising and elevating 3 times a day. For eating I need to stay under 1500 MG’s of salt per day and no more than 2 liters of ‘fluid’ a day, most of this being water. I am also on a water pill that keeps me hopping to the restroom frequently when I have taken it.

I am taking this very serious, I was very scared prior to my kidney failing, so if you are can relate to anything I have said so far, keep seeing your doctor and pound it out till you have a solution. I left my doctors office crying many times, I thought my life was slowly ending and no way of fixing it. Things were way off, outside of just feeling bad, I was tried, cranky, forgetful, inpatient, not eating, walking was hard, long distances were laughable, my balance, my knees, cramping, falling, the color of my skin, I would lose 30 lbs. of water and it would go right back on, and the list goes on. Many people are able to see ‘yes I know, you weren’t yourself’, but unless you were right there with me, no one knew how frightened I was, except my husband. I was having test done weekly because my leg was very swollen, red, hurting, I couldn’t eat and I was so tired. The test showed no blood infection, no bug bite, the BUN test was not out of line, blood test showed cholesterol was fine, blood pressure was always low (now we know why), ultra sounds found no blood clots. I would monitor the blood test carefully waiting for something to show, and finally it did.

As I mentioned before I finally agreed to see a metabolic doctor. Though I thought this was crazy because I was one step away from being anorexic but I went any way, I had my normal blood test done for the week as well for this appointment. Getting ready for this appointment my legs cramped and I fell in the shower, I knew I would be sore so I took Advil. My husband and I went to see the doctor, he was puzzled as well as what could be wrong, but we agreed to treatment, I decided to take a diet pill to suppress my appetite. Which I still think was crazy. A few days later my doctor called and ordered me into her office for additional testing. I was not surprised by this as my weekly test changed in one area, I didn’t know what it meant, but the phone call scared me, I contacted my husband and we went to see the doctor. After conferencing with a kidney doctor they determined I was in acute kidney failure and sent me to the emergency room. I was put on antibiotics and fluids and within 24 hours my kidney was functioning normally. The antibiotic changed 3 days later to fight an infection (though they still could not determine was it was from test) in my right leg, the swelling went down finally and the fluid was finally coming off me. To this day I will continue to be shocked by this, after 8 days in the hospital, 5 days in a rehab center and 2 weeks with at home nursing care, I was finally on the road to recovery.

After 4 weeks of professionals caring for me, I began follow up appointments with my doctors. The edema doctor, signed off fairly quickly as I was doing what was necessary to keep the fluids down causing the edema and infection, though this will never go away I don’t think. The kidney doctor, I saw her in 2015 and now in 2016, though I didn’t see her much she was very enlightening when I saw her. She asked me what I remembered, and I said who knows, I have been through too many doctors to know if I remember everything. She explained basically what was going with my kidney and the salt and water intake is how it is controlled. I hope for some good news in a few months and I will let you all know then. She reduced my sodium milligram intake from 2000 to 1500, and by this appointment I knew I would have to change some things. EVERYTHING has salt it!

I posted a few updates online and I brag about my low sodium meals just a bit. I never thought I would be able to stay under 1500 MG’s, so I share on social media my successes. In doing this I had some followers ask if I would post my recipes. I gave in quite a bit of thought. I am taking this very serious and I if I am going to share I also want it to be impactful. I have lost over 100 pounds (see my before and after picture) in water weight and I struggle every day to keep it off, so though this experience has some positives things for me, I could have died and I felt I was close to this. So this is why this blog is being made and I will share my recipes. I encourage you to share this blog, ask me questions; if I can help one person I will be happy. Knowing something is wrong, seeking professional help, to determine the cause, coming up empty handed and watching your life fade away is real stuff so please read and share.

Life Changing Experience

Hello …

My name is Jan I began this blog because I think it’s important to share my story. I have had some request to share it as well as my recipes and how I do what I am doing. I decided the best way to do this is to have a blog; I will share as much as I can, because I think I may help someone and they won’t have to go through what I have gone through.

Having acute kidney failure was a surprise to me, I spent months thinking, something’s wrong with me, I don’t feel good. In the beginning I just started looking at myself without the help of my doctor, I realized I needed to see my doctor and get her opinion I was frustrated. I spent the next 6 months seeing my doctor on a regular basis, having test after test taken, to keep coming up empty handed. I was retaining water, but the why was not surfacing in all these tests. My doctor was convinced it was how I was eating, and by the looks of me you would probably agree. But what she didn’t know was I was barely eating, keeping food down was hard, and I felt full all the time. I argued with her, not only was I eating very little, one of my daily frustrations for most of my life was that I ate pretty healthy; I should have been losing weight. This was not a surprise as I have spent most of my life on diets, and never losing more than 30 pounds. I made the determination some years back, that I would always eat healthy, not call it a diet but a way of life and if I lost weight I would be thrilled and if I didn’t at least I knew I wasn’t adding junk to my system.

What does eating healthy mean … this is my version, you may agree or disagree but this is what I did. I work in a grocery store, and I am around this stuff everyday and I have plenty of time to know how the store is step up. I hear a lot about preservatives, organics, naturals, and processed foods. Most dry grocery is processed, what’s this mean, well read the ingredient label. See sodium counts (and all kinds of other stuff) and you will begin to see why life is difficult for some of us. 20 years ago or more, I read something along the lines of ~ if an item had more than 5 ingredients it was most likely not good for you, because beyond 5 is when all the ‘processed’ items go in to preserve the life of the item. Hence dry grocery, we can keep it longer because preservatives prolong the life. This is when I began realizing boxed or canned items at the grocery store are the worst things someone can eat. I have never been interested in GMO’s, are hearing talk about them, but today at least I can see its value.

I was never perfect with the 5 items or less but I was pretty good, which meant no canned veggies, except tomatoes, no frozen meals, no package or boxed items. I eat tons of fresh produce and fruit, lean red meats, chicken, pork and fish. Dairy has always been on my list, soda pop went out the door in my early 20’s. (I still crave and on rare occasion I will have one.) Junk food, chips somewhat, sweets ~ yes sweets, I carefully look at labels, but you can see why I am 80% there.

So, I am retaining water excessively and my doctor says it’s something I am eating, a metabolic doctor didn’t disagree, but he couldn’t determine what it was I was eating, (don’t discount this I only had one visit with him). He did give me some diet pills, I barely took them though and you will see why later. At this same time, my doctor and her team were getting frustrated, I would leave them crying because they weren’t able to find out what was wrong, through test after test. I was getting really bad, and 8 months into finding out what was wrong, 6 months with a doctor and 130 unanswered lbs. gained her team says, “I am a ‘text book of numbers'”. Well this text book was falling apart at the seams and very frightened. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go on like I was, and I was looking into what my future looked like and it was very bleak. On Friday, 4 days after hearing I was a ‘text book of numbers’, I had acute kidney failure.

Hearing this was not totally surprising because 6 months prior to this, we began working on getting the water off of me through a diuretic. This was definitely scary for my husband and I; but without this I would never have found out what was wrong with me which basically is, I was drowning because of the water I was retaining, and until I recently I was staying ahead of it. The kidney doctor asked me two questions ~ how long have you had low blood pressure & how long have you had a low tolerance to salt? I looked at him, surprised he knew these two things that were not new to me. There were times doctors were unable to get a reading for my blood pressure, but they were all always happy at the 103 over 69 reading. Well this wasn’t a great text number for me, and how could he possibly know about the salt. Most of my life I just thought it was a preference. There were certain items like “ham” that I just could not eat, though I liked the taste; I just felt miserable after eating it. So here is the diagnosis, by heart and kidney’s miss fire, they are sending mixed signals. My low blood pressure is caused by my heart beating out strong, but not in strong, so fluids would not pump backup to my heart causing the fluid to be retained in my legs. Because of the water, eating salt would cause me to retain more water. The water retention was not getting better prior to my kidney’s failing though I was being treated for it, the treatment didn’t hasn’t changed as of today, so my doctor was on the right track, the water just was coming off not just very well. I would have drowned eventually, and this I found out through my aunts, because my grandmother and great grandmother had the same problem, my great grandmother passed away from drowning because of water retention. I still don’t understand why the water was not coming off prior to the failure; my food intake was very little therefore my sodium consumption was minimal. My kidney was brought back up and running fairly quick, I was barely able to stay “OUT” of the bathroom, but once the water started to come off it didn’t stop and the weight began to drop. And then weeks later, I was released from doctor’s care. I still retain water, and the low sodium diet is helping me manage it and this will be on ongoing battle all my life. I will begin 2016 much the same way I did in 2015 trying to figure out why, the difference is I have dropped the unanswered 130 lbs. of water weight and I pray and hope I will continue to lose weight going forward.

Writing this blog will help me to continue on a path of good health, and I hope in 2016 I will find out more of what causes the water retention. I am open to ideas and you don’t mind sharing I would love to hear them. In the meantime, I have had several people as me to share my recipes, so I will be doing this as well.