Lately, I’ve been having an increased heart rate and higher than normal blood pressure. Nothing life threatening but odd for me. My heart rate has hovered in the 90’s for the last few weeks. It goes over 100 sometimes and back down in the 80’s other times. My normal region is the low 70’s. I’ve always had a bit of high heart rate, but except for the bips over 100, it’s all in the ‘normal’ range. The blood pressure has been all over the place. A couple tims close to 200. This being a bigger concern. I guess I’ve finally reached the age where I have to pay attention to such things. hehehe
It started a few weeks back. I didn’t think much of it at first but then after a few nights of feeling my blood pressure pulsing thru my brain (you know how sometimes you feel flushed or sit in just the right position and you can feel your blood pressure pulsing with your heart beat without trying to take it? Yeah, that), I figured it was time to act. I see my regular doc this week and a cardiologist next week.
I had a Paramedic captain at work hook me up to a 3-lead machine a few weeks back when I first noticed and I had some odd P-waves (The bottom of the heartbeat wave). There was some odd double bouncing before it went back up. From my limited knowledge this could be caused by a variety of issues. In my case it is most likely just age and diet. I’m not a bad eater but I found out I am predisposed to diabetes Type II. And while I don’t eat a lot of fast food or drink sugary sodas, I do eat a lot of rich food. My diet is also high in carbs.1 I am assuming this is the cause anyway. We’ll see. I don’t drink much or do any recreational drugs (I know, rare), but even healthy people can develop cardiac problems.
It’s ruined my gym schedule for the last couple weeks. I also cut out caffeine and all my pre-workout supplements for about 2-weeks. Oddly, when I take vaso-dilating supplements like pre-workout mix, I notice my BP actually goes down a little. This is indicative of a clog or poor blood flow. You don’t even want to know how hard it was to go 2-weeks with no caffeine. I did it though. And I saw virtually no change. This again leads me to believe it could be a clog or related flow issue.
I’m not in a danger zone yet. No d-fib or weird T-waves. I am hoping it is something I can work on with meds to get my BP down until the better diet takes over. I hate eating salads so I’m already focusing on reducing carbs. I don’t crave carbs so much as I just enjoy a lot of carb style foods. I also added fiber pills to my small supplement regimen. I probably don’t get enough fiber in my diet.
Of course, I’m just guessing at this point. Being adopted, I have no family history to refer to so it’s always new territory. My triglycerides have been slowly creeping up over the last decade. My doc even mentioned last year, I might need a med or two to know it down.
In completely random events, I discovered a new recipe for cooking fried okra. With rare exceptions, I try to avoid fried foods on a regular basis. I go thru my phases where I crave fried chicken, but not on a regular basis. This leads me into my ingredient shortage and discovery.
I picked up some okra at the farmer’s market. I had originally planned on boiling it but I got the craving for fried okra. I grew up in the south and the only way to make fried okra is with cornmeal. Guess who didn’t have any cornmeal? You guessed it, me. It’s Sunday night and I’m at the end of my meal prep. It’s only 2 hours to bedtime and I know if I don’t cook this okra it will go to waste. I’m debating on whether to run down to Mollie Stone’s1 to pick up the cornmeal. It whining to myself about not going and hits me. What if I try the pretzel flavor shake & bake mix that’s been sitting in the cabinet? I bought it on a whim and had almost forgotten about it. The moment I think of it I’m sold on trying it. Worst case scenario, it’s awful and I throw it out.
It turned out to be an unholy concoction of deliciousness. OMG, it was so damn good. Just the right mix of salty flavor to go with the okra. I popped it out of the oven and I’d eaten almost half of it before it had time to cool off! I think I have a new way of making fried okra.2 I think next time I’ll throw in a few extra seasonings to give it more kick, but it was really good.
Ok, you’re just dying to know how I did it now, right? If you are familiar with okra, you know it gets slimy the moment you cut it. Cut it up and wash it off good. Don’t let it dry completely but definitely let it dry. The pretzel mix is thicker than the regular version and it will clump up if you get too much moisture into the bag. You also need to use both servings of the mix that come in the box. Trust me, you’ll need it. Mix the chopped okra into the bag with the mix and of course, shake it up. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and put it on an ungreased (or covered in foil) cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Slightly longer if you like it extra crispy. The only draw bike is the mixture will pop off and separate from the okra if you bounce it around too much. I might try a light egg batter next time, but I’m worried it might over do it. Either way, if you like okra you have to try it!
Oh and the okra never made it into my meal prep. I ate it all.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise I’m a
meat and potatoes sorta fella. I grew up on a farm and while we grew tons of vegetables, meat was always our primary meal item. I’ve tried to cut back on my meats and increase the veggies but I always seem to backslide. The struggle is real y’all.
I do a lot of meal preps for my work week. If I don’t, I end up eating out a lot. I still try to eat healthy when I do, but it still ends up being very rich. My fat ass is never gonna have abs if I keep that up. Aaaaaaaaanyway, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the local farmer’s market. The one close to me is on Wednesdays and I do meal prep on Sundays. You see the conflict. I dug the food vacuum sealer out of storage and it’s helping a lot. I just vacuum the veggies and throw’em in the fridge till Sunday rolls around. It’s been helping a lot.
The pic is one of my quick meals. I say quick because I didn’t make it all from scratch. The pasta is a spinach basil. The artichokes came in a jar.1 The spinach, tomatoes, and cabbage came from the Farmer’s market last week. What you don’t see is a small drizzle of olive oil over the entire dish along with the pesto sauce you do see. The chicken is a roasted chicken with all the skin peeled off. And here’s a little secret. If you don’t like your veggies overcooked, just throw them in raw and when you heat the dish for at least 2 minutes in a sealed container it steams the veggies for you. I love the natural taste of most foods and being a super taster2 this works exceedingly well for me. Veggies that need more cooking time like brussel sprouts are easy to cook in advance, just cook’em about half way instead. That way when you do heat up the dish, they don’t get over cooked. As for flavoring, I’m mostly just use salt & pepper. Depending on the dish, I also like the Flavor God line of spices that are specifically designed for adding to food after you cooked it. I’m not a big fan of super heavy sauces and add on mixtures that often add up to a lot of extra fat so it isn’t hard to avoid the heavier items.
This week’s menu is what you see above, the lovely chicken artichoke basil pasta with spinach and cabbage. I also made some turkey meatballs w/potatoes and more cabbage. Needless to say, I’ll be giving Cooper a run for his money this week. I also added some roast chicken and leftover bean chili I had in the freezer. Of course, it helped my ego just a smidge this morning when two of my coworkers commented my arms look bigger. Food is half the battle for weight gain so maybe it’s working!
I’m not perfect by any means but I find if I provide myself opportunity to eat healthy, I will. I’ll never be ripped as I just don’t have the discipline for it. But, if I keep eating better I won’t need to do so much damn cardio, which I loathe!
It’s hard to find them just grilled in oil vs pickled [↩]
That’s just a fancy way of saying I have more taste buds per sq inch on my tongue than the average person [↩]
I’ve been trying harder to stay on top of my eating habits as of late. It doesn’t help when you have nifty food delivery services that offer hot, healthy delivery in 20 mins or less.1 While mostly healthy, the cost of said services add up quickly. And considering I really want to try and buy a home this next year, it’s time to cut back on overly frivolous expenses.
My work building has a full kitchen and I’ve started taking advantage of it to do a lot of my meals. I get an hour for lunch so usually spend my Monday/Friday doing meal prep for the week. I’ll either drop off groceries or order in using Instacart and then I’m set. I try to eat healthy and tend to enjoy the natural flavor of most foods so most of my food is fresh. I also don’t try to make elaborate meals. I keep it simple.
The kitchen area is an open space and has lots of room. It comes with 3 fridges, a full oven/stove, 4 microwaves, 2 sinks, and various counter top appliances folks have donated over the years. I’d be so lucky if I had a kitchen even half the size at home. Being open, coworkers often come by and see me hard at work. I routinely get comments on how good my food looks or surprised looks that I know how to cook. The truth is cooking isn’t overly hard if you understand a few basics. I’m sure there are a line of chefs that would disagree with me but I’ve always found it rather easy to learn.
I avoid canned food for almost everything. There are a few exceptions of course, but I get physically ill at the smell of canned vegetables. blech. I grew up on a farm and canned veggies was a foreign concept. I never mastered the ability to eat them out of a can.
The convenience of the kitchen only works when you remember to bring food to cook. I’ve been going thru several schedule changes since returning from vacation and trying to find my groove again. This week has been mostly quick sandwiches from the mart down the block. But, I got my order set for next week so I can get back to it. What’s on the menu you ask? Well, there is a shrimp spinach salad. Shrimp, spinach, avocado, tomato, provolone, snow peas. Then I’m thinking of pasta w/turkey meatballs and some asparagus or Brussel sprouts….
I had a weird craving for some pecan pie lately. Don’t ask me why, I just did. Anyway, we happen to have the little mini’s in our vending machine at work. I made the mistake of having one. It was absolutely awful! The only thing that compared to the real thing was the sweetness. I guess I should have expected that. lol The crust was dry, the filling was overly thick, and the pecans didn’t really taste like pecans at all.
I guess the only way to get my fill is to just break down and make one. I absolutely love pecan pies. Being from the South, I guess that is a given. I don’t know what the hell possessed me to think I could get it out of a machine. lol
Now, if I can just get Whataburger to open a restaurant in SF, my life would be complete!