Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Cardiac Inspired Menu

Well, this was a week.

My husband has been suffering excruciating back pain, and some combination of pain, no sleep, and heavy duty meds made his heart go haywire last Wednesday. So I ended up keeping him company in the hospital for the rest of the week.

Ah, the best laid plans. I had the week off and had planned to spend it writing.

Man proposes and God disposes.

Anyway, there's nothing like a week on a cardiac care unit to have you self-conscious about your diet.  If my husband - who has never had a day of high blood pressure, has "beautiful arteries" according to the cardiologist, is ridiculously skinny, and has such low cholesterol that we joke about whether he has enough - can have "heart failure" then what about the rest of us?

So, usually if I was visiting someone in the hospital, I'd live on fast food for the week, but as I mentioned, cardiac unit - scary.

So, instead, I lived on a diet of kale, sweet potatoes, and lentils or chick peas, and hemp seeds.

My apologies that the photos aren't the best. I snapped them as I could.

One happy discovery is probably going to have some of you shaking your heads.
I needed something healthy to eat for breakfast that wasn't going to wear off quickly (like my preferred muffin).

I had an inspiration. I grabbed a loaf of Killer Dave's bread and  toasted two slices.

Then I fork smashed my leftover chick peas and spread them on.
My breakfast sandwich. I know it doesn't look particularly appetizing. Sorry, I was in kind of a rush. But I really liked the flavor mix of the raisins in the bread. It meshed really well with the cold chick peas. Best of all though, it gave me the energy I needed to get through the day.

So, what do you eat in a pinch when you have to be away from home.


  1. I am so sorry about hubby, Cate! If it's not one thing, it's a dozen others, isn't it?

    You know, if there's a pre-disposition to heart problems inside him genetically, maybe all his good habits (weight, choices, etc) kept him from having problems for an extra ten years or so... But hooray that they've stabilized things for him at the moment, and I'll be sending up prayers for a solid answer. Hearts are a necessary commodity to maintaining our spot on the planet.

    And if this was med-induced, then I hope they find pain relievers that help but don't send his heart into overdrive. Poor fellow! And poor wife!

    1. Actually he seems to be genetically predisposed in a good way for heart things. The doctor thinks it was a combination of extreme pain that has gone on way too long, no sleep because of the pain, and maybe the meds as the last straw. Because otherwise his heart looked in really great shape.

      How to convince the insurance company that their short-sightedness in allowing treatment just cost them a fortune.

  2. What do I eat when I'm away from home... Hmm... I'm not a big eater. I'm a grazer, a little bit here or there... I like nut bars. Not granola (although I like that, too) but like the nut bars or Payday candy bars. And Trail mix...

    Nuts make me happy. Unless they don't.

    Do Twinkies count?

    1. No, Twinkies don't count. They aren't food. ;-)

  3. Your breakfast choice with the cold chick peas doesn't make me cringe...I can see that flavor combination. Kind of a non-peanutty peanut butter!

    You did a great job with your kale and sweet potatoes, though. Did you cook at home and then bring them into the hospital? Or do they serve them there? (Yes, a question on behalf of my dear husband...)

    When I'm out for the day, it's easy to pick up a salad at Panera for lunch or something else that will satisfy the lunch time hunger.

    But if we're traveling or it's a stressful time, it's a different story. It's so easy to just grab something (I can always make up for it later, right?), but that tends to just make me feel worse.

    As I'm preparing for our next trip East to visit family, I'm browsing through suggestions for packing ingredients to make healthy snacks and meals. If I'm successful, I'll have to share the ideas I found here at the Cafe.

    So glad your husband doesn't seem to be suffering from long-term heart problems! Now to ease that back pain...

    1. Jan, I’m lucky in that we only live 6 blocks from the hospital so I could come home to walk Fenway and snatch a bite to eat, so this was all mine, in my own kitchen.

      I do have a question for your husband I’m curious how dietary rules are established. I was surprised by some of the choices. It was a cardiac unit so they had him on low salt, but I was pretty horrified by how many sugary things were included as well as them giving him packets of sugar to put in the decaf tea. It’s as if no one ever told them sugar wasn’t very good for you.

  4. Praying for healing for your husband -- especially that he can get permanent relief from the pain.

    I've always been a recipe follower until you started showing up with these 'toss a bit of this with a bit of that' spur of the moment meals. You've encouraged me to trust my instincts and just pull together what I have in the house and create my own recipe. I could stand to improve on the seasoning side of things but I've surprised myself with some tasty concoctions.

    1. Yay, Kav. If you’re looking for spices, I heartily recommend the Bragg’s herb and spice mix i mentioned a week or so ago. It adds so much flavor without anything bad.

      For my lentils, I usually stir in turmeric or garam masala while cooking.

  5. Mary Cate, I'm sorry for the rough week! And pray he's doing better.

    While I was at the hospital for a week with my father recently, I was able to order a tray each time I ordered his meal. It was the BEST food! I felt so healthy the whole time. They had a pretty big menu to order off of. I was very impressed. And it was delivered so I didn't have to go to the cafeteria unless I just wanted to.

  6. Mary Cate, I hate that you and your husband are having to go through this. Praying he will heal quickly and the doctors can get everything under control. So glad you're staying healthy, though.