How To Be Successful On A Heart Healthy and Diabetic Diet When You Are A Picky Eater

How to be successful on a heart-healthy, diabetic diet when you are a picky eater. Up until now, this has been one of my greatest challenges in life!

First, I’d like to apologize for the elapsed time since my last blog post. My absence online is due to the fact that I have been recovering from my most recent heart attack.

Which is in fact, what has prompted me to write this particular post. As I have suffered from diabetes and heart disease for about 15 years now, I am always striving to improve my diet, exercise and daily routines.

However I am a very picky eater and do not like many foods. Some because of taste, but most because of textures. So a healthy diet is a huge challenge for me, yet necessary for me to live.

I continually google diets to fit my needs, but most diets have a vast variety of foods listed, with 90% of them being foods that I will not eat. My challenge is being successful on a healthy diet without becoming bored with the same foods over and over again.

In this post, I want to give some tips and suggestions that I am learning in order to stay on a healthy diet even with my finicky eating of limited foods that I enjoy!

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Heart-Healthy Diet

First let’s look at the simple basics to a heart-healthy diet:

  • low-fat diary
  • variety of fruits and vegetables (my biggest challenge)
  • whole grains
  • skinless poultry and fish (my second challenge)
  • nuts and legumes
  • non-tropical vegetable oils

For most people, this is a simple, well-rounded diet. Plenty of choices and easy to develop a healthy meal plan around these basics.

However when you are as “picky” about your foods as I am, it really does become a challenge.

As I already mentioned, a lot of the time it’s about the texture of the foods. Such as fish, I like fish, but it must be only certain types of fish and depends on how it is prepared. Same with some fruits, like strawberries. I love the flavor of strawberries but I cannot tolerate the feel or texture of a fresh strawberry in my mouth.

Tips To Start Your Heart Healthy Diet

Now let’s go a little further and look at 8 tips to help you start a heart healthy diet plan.

  1. Control your portion sizes
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  3. Select whole grains
  4. Limit unhealthy fats
  5. Choose low-fat protein sources
  6. Reduce sodium in your food
  7. Plan ahead- create daily menus
  8. Allow yourself an occasional treat

For more information, explanations as well as food suggestions on each of these tips read the Mayo Clinic’s article on 8 Steps To Prevent Heart Disease.

Diabetic Diet Plan

Diabetes affects an estimated 29.1 million people in the United States and is the 7th leading cause of death. Diabetes increases the risk of heart attack, kidney failure, blindness, and lower limb amputations.

According to this article on Healthy People, the ever-growing number of people being diagnosed (and many going undiagnosed) with diabetes is due partly to unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and the growing number of obese people.

The basics of a diabetic-friendly diet includes:

  • Low carbohydrates
  • No added sugars
  • No refined grains
  • Avoid trans fats
  • Limit starchy fruits and vegetables
  • Limit portions sizes
  • Maintain healthy weight

By planning your meals, you can easily incorporate a heart-healthy AND a diabetic friendly diet. But, again, for me the challenge is because I’m such a finicky eater!

I truly have to plan my days! I have to avoid eating out or away from home as much as possible.

Fast foods and most restaurants are not my friends!! When eating out I normally stick to a salad. I can eat a baked potato if I don’t overload the toppings and depending on what else I eat that day.

Also, I am meticulous with my grocery shopping. I avoid processed foods. Read all the labels. Count the carbs, calories, fiber, and cholesterol/fat in everything I eat.

Another Challenge to My Diet

One more challenge to my diet plan is that I need to avoid gluten. I have a very high intolerance to gluten. I do not have Celiac disease or a total allergy to gluten. However, I have almost immediate reactions and really uncomfortable tummy issues whenever I eat anything containing gluten.

So it is always best for me to completely avoid any gluten products. Which includes flour, wheat, and most grains. I am totally “food-challenged”, but have a strong desire to live healthy!

I’m not afraid to admit that I struggle daily, and that I often slip and have set-backs. But, I have learned to allow myself grace. I am human. When I eat something I should not eat, I simply forgive myself. I do not consider it a failure. I just promise myself to start over immediately and do better.

Exercise Plan

As with any diet plan, you need to exercise along with eating well to have a healthy heart and/or control diabetes.

I don’t know about you but I do not enjoy exercise! I did when I was younger, but now at 58 years old and retired I do not want to go to the gym or exercise.

But I do want to keep my heart as healthy as possible and I want to lose a few pounds that I have gained during the corona isolation!

I have a stationary bike, but that kinda bores me and doesn’t involve all my muscles.

So the best work out that I’ve found, which I actually enjoy is Walk Away the Pounds Heart Healthy. Believe me this gal is not just walking! See the video below. Try walking and moving along with her!

Recovering From A Heart Attack

I am now one week into recovery from my most recent heart attack. I have suffered 3 previous heart attacks over the past 13 years, with several cardiac stents in place now.

In fact, one of the previous stents is what caused this latest heart attack. The stent somehow moved, causing a slight tear in a vessel allowing blood to seep out and that is what caused this heart attack.

In order to be totally correct, this was number four and five in counting my heart attacks. I was actively having a heart attack as I was taken to the small rural hospital closest to me. There I was stabilized then transferred by ambulance to a larger hospital. While in transit I suffered a second heart attack.

Once I was at the larger hospital, the cardiologist performed angioplasty (heart cath) which is when he found the tear. He was able to repair the tear and place a new stent.

Again, as with all my previous heart attacks, I was very fortunate and very much blessed by God. I obviously have work to do for God here on earth and I am not done yet. 🙂

Symptoms of A Heart Attack

Something I feel is very important to add here is about the symptoms of a heart attack.

From experience now, I can honestly say the symptoms, early signs, and what you may feel when actively having a heart attack, can be different for everyone, but were definitely NOT text book or anything like what you see on TV or read on Google for me.

In fact, what I felt, especially with my first heart attack, was so different, even from what I’d learned in nursing school, that I did not realize I was having a heart attack.

Believe it or not, I walked around for THREE days trying to get rid of what I thought was the worst case of heartburn I’d ever had, before the pain became unbearable and I started vomiting. That’s when I went to the ER and they realized right off that I was having a heart attack.

Symptoms can vary in severity and can be any or several of the following:

  • pain in center or to left of chest area
  • tightness in chest area
  • pressure in chest area
  • burning sensation in chest area
  • feeling of indigestion (I was even belching alot)
  • pain in center of back between shoulder blades
  • very uncomfortable when lying on back or left side
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sweating- especially profuse sweating
  • very high or low blood pressure
  • dizzy or light headed

As I said, with my first heart attack, I thought I had heartburn for THREE days before I ended up in the ER. Don’t make that mistake! I was very lucky!

Just because you have some of these symptoms and they ease up or go away, if they come back soon after, don’t ignore them! Your heart could be in trouble.

If you take something for indigestion and the feeling does not go away, then possibly it is NOT indigestion. There is no harm in going and getting your heart checked out. Better safe than sorry!

Anyone, at any age, even someone that seems to be completely healthy otherwise can have a heart attack, most often without warnings. Pay attention to your body!

For More Information

For more information on diabetes or heart-health and the proper diets please check out the following links:

The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle

Diet 101: American Heart Association Diet

The Diabetic Diet- My Diabetes

American Diabetes Association- Go Heart-Healthy

Wrap-Up

There you have it! My experiences with diabetes and heart disease. As well as my recent experience of a heart attack.

I hope you have found this information helpful, as well as the links I have provided.

Please leave me a comment to tell me what you think and share your own personal experiences.

I will be posting more on my journey to a healthier heart! So don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter so you never miss a new post!

Until next time,
Sharon

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