Monday, February 8, 2010

Low Salt Cooking to Avoid High Blood Pressure and the various meds . . .

Well, how do you like that. I thought I was the salt 'nazi' (and i'd really like a better noun there, just haven't gotten my creative juices flowing in that direction). I was looking at labels, buying no-sodium chicken broth (it really is flavorful) and beef broth, making sure we have lots of whole foods and especially produce in the kitchen. There's a huge bowl of apples, bananas and clementines on the counter. My produce drawer always has salad fixings, and if you're really lucky you can even find some of the slimy, hidden-at-the-back-of-the-drawer-variety of produce too. We've cut back on the red meat and dramatically increased the chicken and fish. Our lunch meat and cheeses include a variety of low-sodium choices as well. I thought I was doing so well. I was keeping the sodium under 2000 mg a day, and for those who really need it - way lower.

Then, the snow storm of hte century was upon us. Our idea of preparing for it was an extra large order of chinese food.
Sounds like I covered all the bases, right? Well not if you read this article in the LA Times from June, 2009, titled "The hidden salt in chicken". I was shocked, I tell you. This is outrageous!! For those of us who are trying, desperately, to create a healthy and yummy low-sodium and heart-healthy life, chicken is essential. Now to find out that most of the birds roosting on the store shelves are filled with extra sodium is really annoying. I'm not endorsing any brand but Foster Farms does say on their website that their chicken does not have added sodium. I haven't checked my local stores yet to see the truth on the labels. That's for the next post - once snowmaggeddon ends and the kids go back to school I can wander the aisles in peace. If the kids stay home any longer it will become their homeschooling project.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

changes are coming

I have been neglecting this blog as I ponder my future writing endeavors. I enjoy writing about my kids, but I have been feeling the need to share more of my knowledge base than this blog is really intended to cover.

As a stay-at-home mom these last 10 years I have become a expert home economist. Anyone who cuts their family budget by more than 50% and adds a mouth to feed, cloth and insure (health wise!) knows that requires some real creativity. Our family has moved twice across the country, bought in a seller's market, sold (twice) in a buyer's market, dealt with a variety of health issues, added another mouth to feed, cloth and insure - that one came with here on special needs as well. Somehow through it all we reduced our debt-load, increased our savings and still had fun!

Our income has risen over the years, but so have our financial burdens. Through it all we've learned what we really need and want to find enjoyment in our lives. We know that there are many who struggle more than we ever did, and we are always looking to share what we can with those in need. We have learned to eat healthier, reduce our carbon footprint and enjoy a wide variety of activities all on one income. How have we done it? That's what I plan to share with you. Exciting additions are headed your way - stay tuned.

storm prep - non-potable water without the waste

it's always good to have extra water on hand during hurricane season. Water for drinking, water for flushing toilets. We never knew that Fredericksburg would be such a stormy place. Tornadoes, blizzards - these weren't in the description we read! Living out in the country, or living in a suburban neighborhood - everyone can lose power in an ice storm and you never know which way a tornado will track. It's a good idea to have a storm kit - batteries, flashlights, canned food, dry food (remember to pack a can opener with the canned food!), drinking water for everyone, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

We usually fill the tub with water to flush the toilets, but have not had to use that water so it just goes down the drain a few days after the storm has passed. That seems like such a waste when I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint, and conserve resources - especially water! So we hatched on a new idea - cheap 5 gallon paint buckets with lids. We can fill them and keep them covered. That way there is always water so if power goes out for any reason - especially the unexpected reasons, we have water and can flush away! Also, if we have gone for a couple of months without needing it - I can use that water to water my plants and then refresh it with new water so it doesn't get gross. Your local hardware store carries those buckets for around $5, including the lid so it's not a heavy burden on your monthly budget, and since you won't be drinking the water you can always use the buckets for other projects if you need to.