Sunday, April 1, 2012

Big Changes

Our lives have changed profoundly over the last couple of weeks: we've made a complete diet change. And no, I'm not talking gluten free. (I don't even meet with the GI doc until tomorrow.)

The day after my last post, the Dancing Queen saw her cardiologist because of all of the symptoms I've been noticing (swelling, pain, coughing with exertion).  The cardiologist had no explanation and decided we needed to cut out any extra sodium from DQ's diet.  DQ wasn't placed on a low sodium diet, but we were instructed to cut out any needlessly salty (sodium-filled foods), such as processed foods or restaurant foods.

I was very angry in hearing because I felt it was a cop out and, in the end, it didn't help with DQ's symptoms. What it did help with is convincing the kids of the changes I had been trying to implement in our family over the last couple of months. Since I had DQ's cardiologist explain directly to DQ that she had to make the change, the message sunk in.

The biggest change to our lives is not eating out as frequently. It is so difficult to find the time to cook a meal and make sure the kids still get to bed on time, especially when you throw in a doctor's appointment after school (and we're still burnt out on crock pot dinner). But, we've been working on no dinners out.

Since we don't really eat canned soups or processed cheese and the Mad Scientist tends to make most dinners from scratch, there wasn't a lot of change there. However, we did have to cut out canned beans--a staple in our house. We used canned beans in everything from soups, sauces, chili, burritos. Those are a go to for a working mom or dad looking to make a homemade meal since they were already cooked, high in protein, and not fatty like meat.

So, I have spent the last two Sundays soaking and cooking beans. We've made our own refried beans (well, they're not fried, but smooth and perfect for mexican fair).  Soaked beans for chili. And today, I've made tomato sauce from whole tomatoes (rather than canned) for a lower sodium lasagna (thanks to the lady in the store who gave DQ a sample and hooked her on the idea). We also have beans soaking to make our own hummus. 

So, what exactly is the profound change? The way we think about food. The Mad Scientist and I took this opportunity to further instill in the kids the importance of good healthy foods. We've always believed that fresh is best, but now we're placing fresh as a priority rather than a luxury. It takes a TON more time (which is precious to us), but we're all worth it. All you've got is your health. I want my family healthy. If that means I spend my weekend soaking beans, so be it.


  1. One trick if you're pressed for time (I do this with pinto beans) is to place the (pre-rinsed) beans in the pot of water, bring them to a full boil, then turn them off and let them soak for an hour. Then bring them back to a boil and cook until done. You'll still have to cook them for a few hours, but not nearly as long as if you hadn't soaked them at all.

  2. We are also in the middle of changing the way we eat. It's hard. I could make it a full time job--planning, shopping, cooking. Unfortunately, I have to work to pay for all of this food.

  3. Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! I have a question about your blog. HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. My husband was in the hospital in Jan with Conjested Heart Failure and they had to take 14 pounds of fluid off his heart and lungs.  When we had long talk with Cardio. he told us that we had to go to a low sodium diet.  Change of life style.  We were told that we could use canned beans if we washed/rinsed them throughly before using them.  They told the salt was in the liguids that they were canned in.  We too use a lot of dishes with beans, so this info was a life saver for us.

  5. I'm very sorry to read that your husband was in the hospital, but I much appreciate the information regarding canned beans. I still have a house full of dried beans that I will soak, but knowing I don't have to do that EVERY weekend takes a huge burden off. Thank you.

  6. I think it is great that you are making the changes and that the kids are also on board.


Having a child with a CHD is like being given an extra sense---the true ability to appreciate life. Each breath, each hug, each meal is a blessing when you've watched your child live off a ventilator, trapped in an ICU bed, being fed through a tube. Each minute is a miracle when you've watched your child almost die and come back to you.
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