The Oral Surgery/Heart Attack/Vegan Diet

If you meet me, you will think I’m a healthy woman. I’m 64 years old, but don’t feel that way at all. I’m always unpleasantly shocked when I glance in the mirror and think who is that person?

Now that I’ve stopped coloring my hair (I always felt uncomfortable pouring chemicals on my head….I mean really….society makes us think we need to do that?), and it’s much more salt than pepper, I do look more my age.

Many people think I’m a little younger than 64, though.  I tell them it’s because I’m immature.

Anywho, the point I’m taking a long time to make is that while I usually look healthy, on paper I’m old and unhealthy.

I’ve had 4 small strokes (TIAs), have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, some kidney craziness and have a couple of other health issues that I don’t feel like talking about here (depression type issues) and have had a kazillion surgeries.

I don’t like red meat much but love chicken and turkey, and really love desserts and junk food.  I eat healthy meals and eat crap in between.

And while I look pretty healthy, I gained a lot of weight over the years. The calories I used to burn off as a teenager and young adult now sit on me like balloons.

Okay, so at any rate, I had oral surgery over the summer, which made me not want to eat as much, so I said let’s try getting rid of sugar. I started to lose weight.

Then in September, I had a mild heart attack. Are you still with me or am I boring you to death? Another brief hospital stay, lots of tests and then bedside visits from 2 cardiologists.

They said that I have to go on a vegan diet. I immediately said okay. But it’s been a tad harder than I thought.

I stopped eating meat, which hasn’t been a hardship, and have been replacing things in my cupboards and refrigerator slowly.  Then Christmas came and I couldn’t resist the sweets and other junk foods that abound.

Now I’m eating almost 100% vegan. The one thing left to give up is cheese.

I’ve lost about 30 pounds.

Does anyone know Angela Lidden with her Oh She Glows blog/website ohsheglows.com? My son’s girlfriend gave me The Oh She Glows Cookbook for Christmas. It’s available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon….that’s the Barnes and Noble link. I’m having a blast trying recipes and finding where everything is in the grocery store.  I’m still avoiding the dreaded word my cardiologist keeps using: exercise.  Shhhhhh…….I’ll tackle walking next.

I want to share a smoothie recipe of my own that I make almost every day and bring in the car as I commute to work. The first few smoothies that I tried made me want to spit them out (some I did spit out). But just throwing this stuff into a blender, I made a smoothie I love. By the way, I measure nothing, so you’ll have to figure that out for yourself if you’re interested.

Almond milk– the amount I would drink in a glass of milk

Oats – a handful or two

Flaxmeal – a heaping tablespoon

Banana – 1/2 a frozen banana (If you wait until your bananas are on the soft side and cut in half and throw in the freezer, they are sweeter)

Baby carrots – I cut 3-4 in a couple of pieces so they blend better

Frozen fruit – I bought a huge bag of frozen mixed berries. I use a tablespoon or two of those

Baby spinach – Rinse and throw in a couple of handfuls

I have a Ninja Blender (that’s really the brand name) that can make individual servings, so I blend, put the drink lid on it and off to work I go. For newbies, this combo of ingredients may sound strange, but it’s super healthy and delicious.

From start to finish it’s about 5 minutes.  Filled with nutrition and a great snack.

Tonight I’m making a new recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook.

I’ll let you know how it goes. And please share your recipes if you have some you love.

Peace out.

 

 

About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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49 Responses to The Oral Surgery/Heart Attack/Vegan Diet

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    So sorry you’ve had such a rough time of things lately. I’m sure the hospital stay in September was quite scary. Good for you for making so many lifestyle changes. I’m sure exercise is right around the corner!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope you’re doing OK now and feeling the benefits o the new diet. We don’t eat a lot of red meat, just minced beef in spag bols or chillis made from scratch (100g of lean meat between the two of us), otherwise it’s usually chicken or pork. Weight has piled on over the last six month. Hubby now has a reflux problem and we are trying 6 small meals a day for him and 3 standard for me. Looks like he will be getting his own so that he can eat when he’s hungry and I won’t be tempted to pick when I’m not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      I’m trying the 6 small meals a day too. I had awful heartburn and took medicine for it. Since starting this eating plan and losing weight, no more heart burn and no longer taking medicine for it. Also, I have had constant lower back pain for years. That’s gone, too. I think that was a product of the increased weight. I don’t do well with “not being tempted.” I try to only have nutritious stuff around. My grandsons want junk food but with grapes and homemade cookies I can solve some of that. This all takes time though. I have to figure out how to balance cooking/preparing versus grabbing a bag of chips.

      Like

      • I’m trying to keep on top of it by not replacing the goodies we had over Christmas. Hubby can’t stand to put excess weight on due to his mobility issues, so it all has to be addressed and balanced. sadly small meals and often only make me feel hungry all the time. We’ll get there though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        I’m rooting for you! And please do so for me!

        Like

      • Of course! So far the scores on the meal doors are Me two, Hubby four, so I guess that’s a start. I’m hungry now though and it’s only just 4pm, so I’ll wait an hour and then we’ll have something together and he can have supper later.
        How much more do you want to lose? I’d like to kiss goodbye to 14 pounds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        Because of vanity, I don’t care how much I lose as long as I look better. I have lost weight but still have my protruding stomach (although not as bad). I would like that to magically go away. That’s where exercise comes in but I just haven’t been doing that. It was -22 C here this morning so I definitely won’t be leaving the house today.
        As far as health is concerned, losing another 15-20 pounds would probably be perfect. Although I look and feel pretty good now. So if I only lost another 5 pounds and could keep that off I’d be happy.
        I’m eating when I’m hungry now without worrying so much about time. The big thing is that I’m learning that nutritious food fills me up more so I’m not as starving and tempted to grab snacks.

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      • That’s the secret, eating the good stuff that fills you up. Saying that, Hubby has just asked what’s for tea, so into the kitchen I go!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sally Silvestro says:

    I love that cook book!!
    You’re doing Great Barbara!! Go get em’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no, Barb! So sorry to hear about the heart attack. Did they figure out what caused it? I hope you are already out of the woods for good. On the positive side, losing weight is great since it’s especially harder to lose most once you are in the higher age bracket. I can imagine Christmas is hard to resist all the food!

    Good luck with the vegan diet! To more weight loss! 😊 And happy new year to you too! X.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Happy New Year to you and your family, too! Even though I’m on Lipitor and my arteries were 100% fine 3 years ago, they no longer are. But 99% of the time I feel great. It’s on paper I look bad, lol. It was very mild (although if that was mild I don’t want to feel worse ones) so I just have to take care of myself. I hope all is well with you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Create Space says:

    Interested in hearing more, my son is vegan so all new suggestions are welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Get that cookbook. It’s awesome and you can make some things that everyone will like and he won’t have to just eat parts of a meal (that happens to me a lot at restaurants and other people’s homes). I just made the hummus recipe and I think I’ll add more lemon juice next time. But it was great. Better than “store bought.” Someone commented to me that there is a good vegan crockpot cookbook out there. I want to get that. Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

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  6. Kathleen Fink says:

    Barbara, I eat close to vegan, but still eat fish, dairy and eggs. Here is one of my favorite recipes – a pepper, onion stir fry. 1. Cut up veggies – Cut one side of a green pepper into chunks, cut up a bit less of an amount of onion, add enough cut up red pepper to make up 8 oz. Add a bunch of baby carrot chunks (rice substitute). 2. Cut up 4 oz marinated baked tofu – I use Trader Joe’s – and microwave for a minute or two until browned. 3. Stir fry the peppers & onion in 1 Tb Olive Oil in a large pan. 4. Add spices (I use Turmeric and Cumin or other Indian spices) to a large bowl. 5. Add the tofu chunks to the veggies and mix in the pan. 5. Dump all that into the bowl an stir to even coat with the spices. Add a dash or two or hot sauce if desired. Enjoy. My body thanks me after I eat all these colorful nutrients. I eat this multiple times a week for lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      That sounds awesome. I love cumin and also try to have a lot of colorful veggies. I like tofu a lot but haven’t used it in a while. I’m down to being completely vegan except for eggs and cheese. I think I’ve gotten cheese out of my diet but I don’t want to jinx myself lol. Then eggs will go.

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  7. That is a lot of tough stuff to go through! Glad you are OK and back to blogging. I have a Ninja blender too–the smoothies that I make are pretty similar to what you describe here. They are delicious, aren’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Paul says:

    Good to hear you’ve embraced the vegan diet and have gotten results! I feel really bad for sharing all those food pics on Instagram now. Wish I could share a recipe with you, but I don’t have any… On a more positive note, it’s good to see you back blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ann Coleman says:

    I knew about the awful oral surgery, but I think I missed the heart issues. I’m so sorry you’re going though all that and now I’ll officially stop complaining (for at least five minutes) about my dental problems that seem to be ongoing. Congrats on the diet change! It does sound like a much healthier way to live, although I’m with you in how hard it would be to give up cheese. I don’t think I could ever do it. Still, you are taking some very positive steps toward taking care of yourself and that is a good thing for all of us who care about you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Thank you! It was a very mild attack but it scared me enough to go from “yes I should” to “yes I have to” . I know that much of how we are medically is genetic, but if I can eat healthier and live longer that’s a no-brainer. I just can’t have cheese in the house., lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry to hear that you have a few health issues. My sister had ongoing oral surgery for a year. I watched how it went for her, so I kind of understand what you’re having. Yes, a mild heart attack is scary enough. Do what you have to do and take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      Thank you! As far as my teeth go, it’s bad genes and ignoring the problem for too long. In the summer it was virtually my entire top mouth/jaw. Now it’s little stuff comparatively. But I went a long time with only being able to eat soft foods, so took the opportunity to cut out junk. That led to other healthy choices. Thank you for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow Barb, its a good thing nearly all medical records are digital now. Sounds like the “paper version” of yours would need to be transported on a cart 😉

    Huge congrats on the weight loss and success with transitioning diets!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey Barb-All the best to you!!! You know my history and we are the exact opposite. I have totally embraced the exercise and although I have drastically changed my diet, I can’t committ to being a vegan. That’s a huge step for me. Since I do see you pretty frequently, the change in you has been nothing less than incredible!!! Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am so sorry to hear you went through all of this! Glad to hear you are better. And wow, you lost 30 pounds? Congratulations!!! That is awesome!!! You are inspiring me too. As a student, I’ve been eating in the cafeteria/a lot of takeout but I’m determined to start cooking my own food!

    Like

  14. Bea dM says:

    I went back to my Chinese-medicine doctor after 20 years, and five months later I’m a whole new me. My breakfast: blend a kiwi, one and a half apples with the juice of a whole lemon plus a bit of water. Drink. Boil 3 tablespoons of oatmeal (plain Jane) in a bit of water. Eat, careful not to burn your mouth. Eat some fresh nuts, vary each day (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts etc), plus some dried fruit, ditto (prunes, apricots, figs etc.). If you don’t feel full enough, drink a mug of white or green tea. My worklife requires lots of energy, and this keeps me going wonderfully till early afternoon with no hunger pangs at all 🙂 The exercise bit is important! Start with just daily 30 min walks? Go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      That breakfast sounds interesting and good. I will try that! And I am now walking….except for the days we are inundated with snow. Thank you for the ideas. What do you do for dinner? A traditional dinner?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bea dM says:

        I rotate and “invent” a potluck soup with veggies, onion and/or pulses plus a couple of whole grains of various types (or rice). I put the pulses/grains in water when I leave for work in the morning, so cooking in the evening is max 15/20 min I use no or little salt…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        I use little salt, too, and only use sea salt. Thanks for the ideas!

        Liked by 1 person

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