Sunday, March 18, 2018

Going Vegan

After hubby's recent heart attack, we have gone pretty much vegan.  I've tried to be whole-food-plant-based vegan before but it was really hard when hubby and all of our friends would want to go out to eat or cook meals for get togethers that were mostly meat and rice (ie: Filipino food).  Now that hubby has had a brush with death, however, he is fully on the vegan train with me and it has been working out really well for the past few days.

Basically I have been finding simple, tasty vegan/plant-based recipes online that are similar enough to what he is used to eating so the food isn't too weird.  It is wonderful to have the internet and a whole world of online vegans at my fingertips who share information and recipes and often success stories about how eating this new way has changed their life.  We are also fortunate in this day and age that nutritious, vegan food can be found at most grocery stores.  Best of all, it seems like buying plants/whole grains/spices is much less expensive than our usual grocery store purchases of meat and dairy and processed food!

Most importantly so far, we have seen hubby's blood sugar and blood pressure fall from what it is normally (normally being really high even with medication).  According to many of the success stories of whole-food-plant-based vegans, it is possible to get completely off of medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure. and diabetes (examples here, here, and here) which would be absolutely amazing!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

My Second Purchase of the Year

This is my second purchase of the year (after the bowling shoes a month or so ago).  Although I have several backpacks, they are mostly for hiking.  I have one backpack that can carry a laptop but the straps are too wide, it's uncomfortable to carry, and it doesn't have water bottle holders, and so when I saw this one half off on sale I ordered it (a week or so ago before the whole hospital thing happened).  While this wasn't a necessity purchase, it will make my life easier because I take my laptop with me everyday and work from where ever we happen to be (casinos, bowling centers, poker room, etc).  I LOVE this backpack!  It is a Patagonia Refugio 26L pack, it has a good warranty, it has pockets for everything and fits my water bottles just fine, and it carries really well.  Also it's green which reminds me--Happy St Patrick's Day!!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Daily Blogging Challenge Fail

I missed blogging yesterday because I was so tired I could barely see straight (a hospital is the LAST place to get a good night's rest!).  But I will pick it up again and hope to compete the year with a blog post every day.

On a happy note, hubby is home and with a repaired heart and he is feeling great (from death's door to up and about and feeling great in four days is the most amazing thing I've ever seen!!).  I'm hoping to switch us to a completely whole food, plant-based diet and so far so good (I made black bean tacos with guac when we got home today).  The hospital and staff were great but my only rant with them is that the cardiologist, the nutritionist, and the hospital cafeteria don't seem to believe in vegan meals.  Each meal was lower salt and lower fat but the amount of meat and dairy in each meal was horrendous IMHO.

On a side note, we didn't get a bill for his hospital stay and procedures (at the military hospital all of this is free) but I looked up the average cost of his procedure and one website said "The price for an angioplasty ranged from $44,000 to $144,922" in California hospitals.  Holy cow!  I think exercising and eating the healthiest food you can is way more affordable than one procedure to fix a lifestyle disease.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Another Quick Update

After much testing it turns out that hubby actually had a small heart attack night before last.  While he didn't present with the "usual" symptoms (he thought he had acid reflux), the pressure in his chest was enough to get him to the hospital which probably saved his life.  He will have more procedures done tomorrow to fix up his heart, meanwhile I am so thankful that his first heart attack wasn't his last (many time the first symptom of a heart attack is death or the crushing chest pain and full arrest which requires an AED to *maybe* resuscitate).

If there is anything more important than my usual mantra of get out of debt and stay out of debt, it is YOUR HEALTH IS IMPORTANT!!!  I am just an guilty as everyone else who can't pass up a pizza, a burger and fries, or a coffee milkshake with the idea that I will work on better health "later".  Sometimes there isn't a later so please please please make your health as important (or even more so) than all of the effort you put into your finances!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Quick Update...

Hubby ended up in the hospital last night and will probably be here for a few days.  Since I am kind of obsessed with keeping up with my daily blog posts (and since the hospital has some nice, fast wifi) I'll just make a quick update...

Some things I am thankful for (in no particular order)...having a vehicle (I much prefer public transit but in an emergency it is nice to have my own car to cart us where ever we need to go).  Extremely good health insurance (the total cost for hubby's stay, tests, etc. will  If we had to pay for everything we would literally be bankrupted by this unexpected expense).  Wifi, email, text messaging, and other technology (years ago if you are stuck in a hospital you would be bored and out of contact with everyone, these days you can connect with everyone from your hospital bed).  Modern medicine (it is really quite good, the things they can fix these days is amazing!).

Monday, March 12, 2018

How Much Does $100 Really Get You?

I came across this cool infographic which shows how far your $100 will take you in regards to rent and goods in each state.  This is kind of useful as we are still talking about moving only we don't know where to move to.  With us being on a fixed income the data makes the costs even more clear (for people who plan to work where they move to, as the article points out, they may make more money in a higher cost of living area).

When looking at various places we might want to live, there are several things we are considering including cost of housing, cost of taxes, overall tax burden, weather, crime rates, community amenities, gun laws, nearness to family, distance to an airport, distance to military services, internet availability, cost of utilities, nearness to casinos, traffic, the general "vibe" of the people in the community, the library system, a smaller town but near enough to a large city, and the general cost of living.

It's really hard to find a place that meets all of these criteria!  Based on the infographic, Hawaii, DC, and California are a definite no.  Delaware through Maryland don't look very promising either.  On the flip side, the deep south looks pretty inexpensive but the heat, humidity, and bugs (plus the fact that his daughter was Facetiming us from her home in Florida when a big snake slithered through the open door and hubby squealed like a girl when he saw that--he is NOT a snake fan) makes that area a 'probably not'.  So I will keep researching and haunting Zillow and maybe one of these days we will pull up stakes and move!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Brownies from Scratch

I love shopping at our local 99 Cent store.  Mostly everything in the store is 99 cents and many things are great deals.  There are some things I pretty much never buy there (food products from China, American food products that have been "shrink ray-ed" specifically for a $1 store, etc).  But every once in a while they have amazing deals that are too good to pass up (like the industrial-sized Best Food mayonnaise for 99 cents which will last us for a year or so).  A few months ago I bought a giant-sized bag of baking cocoa for 99 cents even though I rarely (never?) have baked with it (I usually just buy brownie mix).  Today I was bored so looked up a brownie recipe (from scratch) and it came out really good!