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        LOW SODIUM – potassium comparable to sodium, more or less, and LOW CHLORIDE)

     (or ALKALINE – potassium greater than sodium)

  (all electrolytes/minerals should be in BALANCE.)

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THAT DAY that early morning I will never forget . . . the first time my heart went out of rhythm.  The fear and confusion I felt.

What was happening?

Why was it happening?

My heart seemed to be going crazy. bouncing all over the place, out of control.  Distant at first, getting more intense, more pounding, even louder in my body, as the minutes passed.

For the first time in my life I had a sense my heart was begging me to help it, that it could not do its normally unconscious job by itself any more

Was I having a heart attack?

Was I about to die?

What a way to wake up on a New Years Day.  The first of many such mornings (though I did not know that yet).

Somehow, I calmly got dressed, threw together a care carrying bag, as if I was packing for a trip – and drove anxiously to the hospital emergency room, a little uncertain if I was doing the right thing.

Maybe I should have just called an ambulance.  But I did not want to wait for an ambulance.

The emergency room pumped me full of intravenous drugs while monitoring me and running tests for several hours.

The tests confirmed what the emergency room doctor said when I first walked in and described what was happening – “atrial fibrillation”.

Cause – a combination of genetics and not getting enough rest.  What they did not tell me is that there is more to the story, as I would learn over the next many years.  More on that coming up later..

Looking back, I understand they did not tell me the rest on my first episode because the specifics may vary from patient to patient and evolve over time.  They just told me if my heart did not return to normal on its own within 72 hours that I should return for more severe treatment: electro shock therapy or ablation surgery.

Also, if I wanted to prevent future episodes, may still need ablation anyway.  As I said earlier, more on this coming up later.

When they sent me away that early afternoon,, I had already been out of rhythm over 6 hours.

Well, I had work to do (I always do, being in the real estate business) so I headed to Home Depot.  Actually, Lowes.

My focus shifted to finding the right nails for my work that day.

Then it occurred to me to check my pulse, 2 middle fingers on my neck, over an artery.

OMG I was back in normal rhythm!

Checked the time – 2:00 in the afternoon, 8 hours since going out of rhythm.

Wow.  Home Depot therapy.  (Well, actually Lowes therapy this time).

As I said earlier, there is more.

My primary care provider referred me to a sleep specialist.  Over the course of about 7 months, I would adjust to sleeping while wearing a breathing machine.  At first I felt like I would suffocate and could not keep the mask on most nights.

Now that machine is like crack to me.  Just putting it on calms me down, makes me look forward to peaceful blissful sleep.  It helps that I have since upgraded to a newer model, newer technology, which required no adjustment at all.  I actually began to panic during Spring 2021 Texas extended freeze and rolling extended power outages.  An occasional night of sleep without the machine is ok, but it sank in that not having power for that machine for days (not to mention sleeping in freezing temperatures) could be a death sentence for me;  if I went out of rhythm, what if I could not get to an emergency room – all closed, with paper signs taped to the windows saying no power.  During a temporary thaw, drove to the hospital just in case – discovered it had power, but already overcrowded.

For years, watching my sleep seemed to keep me in rhythm.  Further episodes seemed to happen only if I was short on sleep for some reason, like staying up too late and still getting up early.  Or sometimes after an overnight flight after nights of cutting my rest short.  I learned how to put myself back in rhythm in that circumstance (in a foreign country, with no knowledge of how to deal with their medical system).  But, eventually, that stopped working;  prevention seems to be all that really works now.

Repeated emergency room visits over the past couple years led to dropping various things from my diet, or at least severely restricting quantity (moderation!).

 – My favorite dish – French onion soup with a baked on cheese crust.

 – Pizza.

 – Movie theater popcorn.

 – Overly fried foods, or any with too much salt added.

 – watch out for desserts and sweets – paradoxically often high in salt, because salt amplifies sweetness.

And adding the following to my diet:

 – Add avocado to everything I can.

 – snack on bananas

 – snack on dairy – prefer yogurt, but ice cream will do
 – I rediscovered a new fondness for potatoes and sweet potatoes – even though they are high in starch, also high in natural potassium.

 – My nutritionist advised regular legume consumption is essential to proper nutrition.  He takes pea protein daily to be sure he got his legumes;  that is how important they are to healthy diet.  Exception – anyone with a allergy or medical condition preventing legume consumption – for those people there is always Paleo diet).

 – Lots of walking or other physical exertion seems to cause the body to shed excess sodium to some extent as well.

But it gets complicated:

 – When I have had inadequate sleep, sometimes that leads to sodium deficiency!

 – Taking excessive potassium pills/supplements/food additives sometimes leads to potassium overdose (nearly killed me once).  Research suggests Its the chloride – combine with sodium actually makes sodium worse (salt) even if the chloride came in the form of potassium additive.

The covid-19 medical crisis has forced me to learn to live life without movie theaters.  Without sitting for long periods of time in restaurants.  Without social life, massage, haircuts, anything else involving close people contact.  Eating less.  Rarely ever turning on tv or movies at a home.  I have no streaming subscriptions.  Getting more exercise, Making money earning a living more time efficiently, minimizing recurring expenses.  Time is precious.

And I am discovering and developing new lower sodium forms of those foods without sacrificing flavor or nutrition – what is all about.

So far, been over a year since the last emergency room visit, including the entire duration of the covid-19 pandemic so far.  But my nutritionist is going on 3 decades since his last emergency room visit for an out of rhythm episode.

So my mission at is foods that strike that right balance.  It has been quite a journey learning and internalizing a new balance, while still enjoying life.

        LOW SODIUM – potassium comparable to sodium, more or less, and LOW CHLORIDE)

     (or ALKALINE – potassium greater than sodium)

  (all electrolytes/minerals should be in BALANCE.)

Especially targeting the kinds of foods that normally too high in salt, my goal is to bring them back without all the salt.  Or at least as much potassium as sodium.  But without sacrificing taste or quality.

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