Don's Story: Putting Creativity Ahead of Crisis

Updated:Jun 13,2011

Heart Failure Personal Story PhotoDon Gazzaniga
Age: 65
Loomis, Calif.

"Like most of you, I had to cut sodium, not just by not salting foods, but also by limiting sodium from packaged foods. I also took diuretics, a really un-fun thing to do. Expect to travel far? Sure, from bathroom to bathroom! The low-sodium diet proved to be a challenge. Everything has sodium, from spinach to bread to meats. That's without adding any salt to these staples. So, having been somewhat successful as a down-home chef and a writer of books, I took on the challenge of creating a whole bunch of salt-free and sodium-free recipes. Now, sticking to my own cookbook of more than 400 recipes, I never exceed 500 mg of sodium a day. I've mapped out a 28-day meal planner I follow and I am never hungry. My sweet tooth is often satisfied, too. Bread, by the way, is the one thing you could make and really help yourself. Commercial breads are very high in sodium."

Physical Activity & Fitness
"I've been asked more than once, 'So, after you found out you had this heart condition, what did you do?' The first thing I did was sit on our deck and fool around with paint brushes and a canvas. I never painted before in my life but my children insisted I try it. I think they were trying to get me out of a funk I must have been in. At any rate, I've taught myself a bit about painting and it proved very relaxing ...

"My theory was, and remains, 'For every day you fish, you live a day longer.' So far, it's worked. Better yet, I've got my wife believing it. I had to have a heart problem before she'd accept the importance of fishing. What a stroke of luck, huh?"

Heart Failure Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Questions to ask your doctor

Use these questions to ask your doctor about heart failure.

Heart Failure

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