Learn Something! · Tips & Tricks for Illness Management

Breakfast of Champions

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What are you looking at? You are looking at my daily breakfast (or pre-breakfast I suppose although I cannot eat for an hour or two after drinking all of this). I drink all of this first thing in the morning on my good days. On the bad days, I add 12 ounces of tomato juice for the extra fluid and sodium. You’re looking at…

The yellow beer looking beverage is Not Chick’n Broth which I use 1.5 bouillon cubes (3 servings worth) to make for a total of 2400 mg sodium. I use about 16 ounces of water to make this.

I drink about 12 ounces of plain unsweetened almond milk which has 270 mg of sodium since I buy it pre-packaged.

Then of course, I finish it off with a gigantic cup of water, about 30 ounces.

You’ll be surprised to hear I don’t have to run to the bathroom after my breakfast of champions. That is because there is so much sodium in these beverages, my body is hanging onto every ounce of the fluid! I’m getting 2670 mg of sodium first thing in the morning which is well above what any of you non-POTSie folk should be getting in a day. After this jump-start to my morning, I heavily salt my food throughout the day. I’d say on average, I get a minimum of 4 grams in. The reason I need all of this sodium is because I have low blood volume, venous pooling, and low blood pressure which all contribute to making POTS worse to live with. If I consume a ton of sodium, my body can hold on to more water than when I do not. This helps in various ways with all of the aforementioned conditions.

So I get 58 ounces of fluid first thing in the morning, and then I drink at least another liter or two of plain old water throughout the day. I go by how I feel but never drink less than 125 ounces of fluid a day. Although I don’t run to the bathroom a bunch after my 58 ounces of fluid in the morning, I do have to run to the bathroom quite a bit as I get in the rest (no, the pee doesn’t turn clear, so I know I’m not overdoing it). Later in the day, if I start feeling “off” due to blood pressure or (what I believe to be) low blood volume, I’ll drink one serving of Not Chick’n or Campbell’s tomato juice (980 mg of sodium in one cup).

Let me tell you a thing or two about my experience with sodium… When I first got sick and didn’t know what was wrong with me, my first instinct was to clean up my diet. I cut out processed foods and canned foods. I avoided sodium not only through avoiding canned foods, but also through avoiding adding salt to my food. I also would buy low-sodium versions of any processed product I just couldn’t live without. I was going to have the perfect diet and my body was going to heal itself Ironically, eliminating most of my sodium was the worst thing I could have done having POTS. It would be about 3 years later a doctor would tell me to consume more sodium and more water. About 6 months later, at Mayo Clinic, I found out I was consuming WAY too much water and still not enough sodium. My sodium levels were dangerously low because I was flushing out all of the sodium I was consuming. I needed to slightly decrease my fluid intake and drastically increase my sodium intake.

Every patient will require a different amount of sodium. Most people would develop high blood pressure if they consumed as much sodium as I do. Most people don’t need to worry about if they’re getting enough sodium because they eat so many processed, pre-packaged foods. Chances are, if anything, most people need to decrease their sodium intake. My diet is almost all whole foods, so I don’t get the amount of sodium I need naturally from my diet. I need to make a conscious effort to consume it. If you are considering adjusting your sodium levels I think it is important to ask your doctor to do a 24 urine test to check your current sodium levels. Also keep track of your blood pressure. Some people end up using Florinef to increase their blood volume rather than sodium. Always watch for urine color, it should be light yellow, not clear, not dark.

Lastly…. 1 gram of salt does not equal 1 gram of sodium. They are two different things. Salt contains 40% sodium, but it also contains chloride. So keep in mind, when you add 1,000 mg of salt to your food, you are not getting 1,000 mg of sodium, you are getting about 400 mg of sodium.

28 thoughts on “Breakfast of Champions

    1. It does look just like beer! I should have just left it as breakfast of champions and a picture and you all would have thought I start off the day with a cold one. πŸ™‚

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  1. And i thought what i drank for breakfast was odd – teaspoon of salt dissolved in quarter of cup boiling water, d-ribose energy soloution, an emergen-c solution with 2 tbsp ground flax mixed into it and lemon and ginger hot water! Plus big glass of water. I used to also take Dr Wilson’s Dynamite mixed with dairy free milk which was the foulest tasting, smelling and looking thing I have ever come across. Quickly dumped that one!
    P.s i think the broth looks like beer too! But hey if it helps, anything is worth it!

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    1. I choose that glass to use because it looks like beer and just kind of makes me smile. I think you’re breakfast drink might be a little more odd πŸ™‚ I LOVE d-ribose! I take the kind formed into pills.

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      1. I love d-ribose too! How do u find the capsules? I was told I would be more susceptible to crashing as the capsule wore off. That’s why I make up the water solution and sip it throughout the day. But I’d be interested to know how you find the capsules, cos they’d be loads simpler!

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            1. Good question. Our cells use ATP for energy and recycle it. Under normal circumstances, our bodies are constantly replenishing the supply of ATP, but when we are sick or aging, our bodies aren’t able to do it quite as rapidly as they would like. Our bodies need ribose to continue producing and recycling ATP. Ribose is naturally synthesized by our bodies (and found in food but not in large quantities) and helps our cells keep up with the high demand for ATP. An extra boost of ribose can be obtained by taking a d-ribose supplement and can help our bodies convert ATP a littler more quickly. I scanned over this article and thought it was a pretty good explanation if you want more info: http://www.superfoods-scientific-research.com/natural-remedies/d-ribose-benefits.html

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  2. I am going to try this all next week just for the heck of it and see if I notice a difference. I am going to talk to my general physician tomorrow about starting the disability process. Does the heat exaggerate your POTS symptoms? I’m luck if I can stand for 5 minutes out in the heat before getting weak and dizzy. The veins in my hands and feet look like they are going to blow up when I feel like this. Not sure if this has to do with the Lyme or is something else is going on. We shall see what tomorrow brings! Hope you are feeling a little better πŸ™‚

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    1. Oops! I published this before I meant to. See my finished version! Heat does make my symptoms worse for almost everyone I know with dysautonomia. Your veins sound like you have orthostatic intolerance which I have heard develops with Lyme sometimes and definitely is part of POTS. I hope you can get the tilt table soon and get it all sorted out.

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  3. Oh….also wondering if you have tried acupuncture? It gives me temporary relief from all of my symptoms. Temporary relief is better than no relief! I will be hosting an acupuncture party sometime over the summer so let me know if you would like to try it out and I will send you the info when I pick the date πŸ™‚

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      1. The acupuncturist, Kurt will have a sit down and explain the benefits of needling. He then gives each person a mini-session. You can recline in a chair or lay down and he will do needles in different areas, depending on your symptoms. The mini-session at the party is of course free.

        I go out to Yorkville once a week and we leave my needles in for approximately an hour. It gives me temporary relief to my headaches, pain and fatigue. If my Lyme weren’t so bad, my relief would probably last a lot longer. I’m hoping over the summer to be able to start going twice a week.

        Not sure if you have a Facebook, but here is their page if you have any questions πŸ™‚

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Energetic-Health-Acupuncture-and-Oriental-Medicine/297623356388?fref=ts

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  4. Ha ha, thought it was a wake up beer! I have a problem with getting enough salt. I’ve always been a big water drinker and not a fan if salt. My blood pressure was always low, and often I’d grey out when I stood up, collapsing to the floor. So now I try to eat more salty foods and the Dr. told me to add 1/4 tsp salt to 4 oz water and drink twice a day. I know I’m short of sodium when the water doesn’t taste salty at all. I also often add 1/2 tsp potassium gluconate/chloride to a small amount of water and drink that as my K levels are borderline. I still often fall very shirt on Na and K though in my food diary. Then I wonder why I’m not feeling good, dizzy etc. and remember I need more salt. Thanks for your post, all ny best, cheers, Dee

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  5. This is so funny – I JUST got a juicer so I can make my own “V-8” juice and adjust the sodium according to my needs for the day! Well, I am going to use it for other juices, too πŸ™‚

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