Blood thinners and Vitamin K.

Bless the nurses and staff at the hospital who cared for Joe.  They passed on so much information about the care and feeding of Joe that I became totally overwhelmed by it all.  Not the least of which is his daily intake of foods and their Vitamin K content.

Frankly, I didn’t even know that Vitamin K was one of the proponents of food.  Long ago, when I was 20 something, a neighbor’s dog ate something that had been laced with rat poison.  The poor dog was bleeding from his mouth, nose,  and ears.  A hurried trip to the vet with the dog in my lap on a blanket while my neighbor frantically drove was quite horrifying to me.  Once at the vet an injection of Vitamin K was administered followed by cleaning the blood from the poor dog and keeping watch of further blood loss.  When it subsided enough that the vet was happy an IV was started and another shot of Vitamin K was given.  The poor dog was kept at the vets office for a number of days until he was deemed recovered.

Having that memory stirred in my brain at the mention of Vitamin K by the hospital staff and trying to decipher what they were telling me about watching Joe’s daily intake left me wondering if I were supposed to keep ALL food items with Vitamin K out of his diet.  What foods contain Vitamin K anyway?  I was given a list.  Click on the photo below for a larger view.  You can even drag and drop this list to your computer for your own reference.

Vitamin K in foods

Vitamin K is a natural chemical in your body which aids in forming the healing clots needed to close wounds.  Taking an anticoagulant makes the healing process take longer.  There is a video series from Johns Hopkins on the “Coagulation Cascade” that takes place within our blood stream to repair damage to blood vessels and veins you tech junkies might find interesting.

Joe is on daily injections of Lovenox into the fatty tissue of his abdomen

Lovenox injections

plus a daily pill of Coumadin to thin his blood.  These injections cause bruising sometimes by the next day.

Injection site bruising

The Lovenox will be stopped tomorrow night if his blood tests indicate the necessary readings are within the acceptable range of clotting factors.  I’ll get into the PT-INR blood tests in another post tomorrow.  These clotting factors are based on his daily intake of Vitamin K which can really cause a problem for him – and me in my cooking.

The way I have come to understand this Vitamin K chart is this.

  1. Leafy greens that are COOKED are to be kept at a minimum.  1/2 cup or less per day.
  2. If COOKED leafy greens are eaten (or scheduled for dinner) no other vegetables in the leafy green category (see the Moderate Vitamin K chart) are to be consumed on the same day.
  3. On a day when no leafy greens will be cooked raw vegetables and fruits can be consumed as long as the quantity in the chart and the micrograms do NOT exceed 500 mcg in the entire day.

This complicates my cooking a bit and what I will allow Joe to eat at breakfast, lunch, and a snack.  I am heavily relying on the website Dr. Gourmet and paying close attention to the Vitamin K listings in the recipes for one serving.

Also, one thing we’ve found is our daily vitamin – Centrum Silver – has over 500 mcg of Vitamin K in one tablet.  I’ve had to discontinue this vitamin supplement in Joe’s daily vitamin intake.

I’m thrilled to report that Joe is under 300 pounds in weight 😀

He's made it under 300 pounds

We have to watch his daily weight.  If he gains 2 to 3 pounds overnight I have to call his doctor.  If he gains 5 pounds in a couple days he has to return to the hospital.

I’ve been walking more and eating the same as Joe and I’m losing weight as well.  I’m down from 232 to 225.  This is beneficial to the both of us.  Sad that it takes a major jolt and threat to his life for me to get on the band wagon here 😦

Last night’s dinner was Cottage Pie from Dr. Gourmet with cantaloupe and honey dew melon slices.

Cottage Pie

One of our comfort foods is my major fat concoction of this dish with creamy mashed potatoes oozing butter on the top after it does the final bake in the oven.

Healthier version of Cottage Pie

This is the healthier version of Cottage Pie and it tastes pretty good.  One of the ingredients is tomato paste.  I only needed about 2 tablespoons for this recipe.  I’ll give you a tip for safely storing the contents from the can instead of throwing the rest out.  Freeze it by tablespoons.

I use a product called “Press and Seal” by Glad.  Tear a piece off and put the sticky side face up.  Deposit 1 tablespoon measures on the plastic  as shown in the photo below.

Put 1 tablespoon meausres of tomato paste on a piece of plastic wrap

Cover the tomato paste scoops with another piece of plastic wrap and press the plastic together around the mounds of paste.

Cover with another piece of plastic wrap

Press the plastic wrap around the mounds of tomato paste

Then place this sheet of tomato paste in your freezer to harden.

Freeze the tomato paste

You now have 1 tablespoon measures of tomato paste you can use in your recipes without running to the store for a can.  Once the paste is frozen solid you can cut the individual mounds and store them all in a ziplock baggie to take up less space in your freezer.

While I’m the topic of freezing foods.  One DON’T is to freeze bananas with the peels on.

Frozen bananas with the peels

The thawed results are quite gross.  Instead, peel the bananas first and put them in a bag to freeze.

Peeled bananas frozen

You can freeze your strawberries and blueberries as well.  Just put the amount you would use for a morning Smoothie in a ziplock bag and toss them in the freezer.  You won’t need to add much ice to the blender when making your morning treat.

Freezing strawberries and blueberries

How we are going to deal with Joe’s Vitamin K issues once we get back on the road is going to take a bit more research on my part.  Let me tell you – this guy is getting to be “High Maintenance” 😀  He’s worth it though.

Enjoy your weekend.



About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

8 responses to “Blood thinners and Vitamin K.

  • Jann Gray

    I always feel SMARTER after I read your blog! LOVE the tip about freezing the tomato paste in tablespoon portions. I have a roll of the “Press and Seal” and use it for so many things – and now have a new reason to keep it in stock. Know you are taking great care of Joe…be sure and take care of yourself too! Love you girlfriend! It was good to hear your voice yesterday!

    • Message In A Fold

      Hearing your voice yesterday and talking to you was so good. A boost of normal in my abnormal world right now.

      I’m very happy to be an instrument of education 😀 for you. Passing on a tip from my “cheapness” and it being a nugget of value for someone else is great :-). Thank you my friend.

      Love you – Leslie

  • gardenpinks

    Well you taught me something tonight – just how many foods contain Vitamin K. I never knew that. Years and years ago I was supposed t have a vitamin K supplement – some gross powder sprinkled onto cereal – supposedly to help my eyes. My mother never did purchase the supplement but a next door neighbour did buy some for her daughter and she said it was revolting and Gwen refused to eat it!! Can you not purchase tomato puree in tubes? It is so much easier than buying cans of it and it stays fresh in the tube for ages – months! Then you have the empty tube to use in your crafting 🙂 Poor Joe having that injection, that must hurt! The bruise looks awful. Oh cottage pie – yummmmmmmmm! I adore cottage pie with mashed potatoes on top put back to bake so that the mashed potato goes crispy and the gravy oozes up the sides BUT neiher Rod nor I can tolerate the high fat content of mashed potatoes any more….we suffer dreadful acid reflux and heartburn from the butter and milk so now we tend to slice potatoes over the top of the meat or use crushed potatoes – potatoes roughly mashed without butter or milk but plenty of pepper! Crushed spud though tends to be dry and I don’t like lumps in my mash! I must go and find the recipe you used – I spent so long on that site yesterday 🙂 Very interesting. Love and hugs Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      Well then, I’m happy you learned something new :D. Fact is, I had no idea that Vitamin K was in ANY food before Wednesday!

      I’ve searched all of the grocery stores in our area for tomato paste in a tube. Seems you Brits are the only ones that have access to it. Well, probably all over Europe but not here.

      As you look through the Dr. Gourmet site there is a section of recipes for GERD – Acid Reflux – that might help you two.

      As soon as Joe’s blood work has been in the optimum range for several days or a week there is a recipe for Beef Bourgiognon – or how ever it is spelled – that I want to try.

      So, is it too late to start eating veggies with high Vitamin K to help your eyes? 😀

      Love you – Leslie

  • Pati Mishler

    Actually, sis, freezing bananas WITH their skin on is exactly how i do it. When i make cake in a cup, and i decide to make banana cake, i take a banana out of the freezer, put it in the microwave for about, oh, i would say, 45 seconds. Take it out, tear off the end of the banana peel and squirt the almost liquid banana out.

    Gives the extra needed moisture in cakes and breads that are sometimes needed.

    I am glad you are learning all this new stuff, whatever Joe’s needs are, you will be informed and ready for whatever may come up in his diet.

    When we found out Les was diabetic, and going without medicine, only relying on diet and excersise, learning all i could is what gets us through it all.

    And then with me, knowing that i always acted like i was low blood sugar, then being diagnosed that way, you always kind of watch what you are eating, me, not liking much sweets, i have to get my sugar in other way.

    I cant eat lots of sugar, thank god i dont want much sweet, i get sugar in bananas and other ways.

    So, i say all this to say, watch your labels, reading up on all this is going to help you in the long run.

    Take nothing for granted, things always change, we will be praying for you and Joe, take it easy, you can only absorb so much, but a little here and there will go a long ways.

    Love you sis and joe.

    • Message In A Fold

      Freezing the bananas with the peels on makes the fruit inside soft and…..well for lack of a better phrase….an extremely light colored bodily excrement. Good to know there is a fantastic use for the unattractive contents 😀 I didn’t have to microwave the one I used from the packet. It was already soft. For morning smoothies I think I’ll stick with freezing them peeled 😀

      Learning new stuff is an understatement. I feel like I’m going through medical school with all the lingo I’m learning. Good thing there isn’t a test coming up soon that I have to prepare for.

      Okay, okay. Just for you God – I’m not asking for a test. I don’t want a test. You do your business at keeping my Joe protected by the proper physicians and knowledgeable people and I’ll do my part in making sure that Joe is loved and cared for properly. NO TEST! PLEASE!

      Sorry Sis. There are sometimes I thoughtlessly say something and it comes back to bite me in the butt.

      I think it is cool that you take care of Les’ diabetes through his food intake and monitoring him as you do. It is also cool to know that you are taking care of yourself as well through the foods you prepare and eat. Good for you Nurse Pati 😀

      As to product labeling in the grocery store, I’ve been doing that now. Better late than never I guess. The only thing I can look at is the Sodium, Carbohydrates, and Fat Contents. The labels don’t carry Vitamin K amounts so I have to refer to my list all the time.

      Thank you, Sis, for your encouragement and your prayers. We both love you and Les and plan to be around a long time to mess with you two 😀

      Love you Sis

  • aspot2stamp

    You are always so informational which brings awareness to the rest of us. Ouchie for poor Joe and his daily shots the bruising looks aweful. I guess I should check into the vitamin k …thing like can you eat too much?? I eat alot of the things listed I love my leafy greens and salads and veggies in general.
    I have to agree with Jann I love the glad press and seal I use it for all kinds of stuff. Makes great tuthbrush covers for travel and tons of uses when we camp which was NONE this year. 😦 The banana tip is aweome too I will have to remember so I can keep from wasting them getting all squishy and the kids wont eat them. Hurray for you and Joe on the weight loss thats something I need to concentrate on more ,this summer has seen me gaining what I had lost and then some Yikes 🙂 I love the crafty posts you’ve made makes me think that I have been too lazy to get into my corner and play with my toys. Thanks for keeping us updated and educated.

    Love nd Hugz

    • Message In A Fold

      Shelly – don’t worry about the Vitamin K content for yourself. Eat all you want of anything you want. I think the only time to be concerned with the Vitamin K would be if you ate ALL the items on the list in large quantities (like a gallon of each) all day long for well over a month. I think by the end of the first day of eating massive quantities of the green leafy things (think of a gallon of collard greens or spinach) you’d be not so anxious to do the same with the next one. I don’t think your digestive tract would handle it, also the kids would be knocking on the bathroom door wanting you to come out and pay some attention to them 😀 Besides the digestive tract issues your skin would be a lovely shade of GREEN 😀

      I love the Glad Press and Seal. So much do I love that product that I don’t use the Saran Wrap stuff any more. What a great use for the stuff. Toothbrush protection! I wonder if anyone has come up with a blog entry of 101 uses for Glad Press and Seal besides storing food?

      You have had quite a busy summer with all the adventures you and your family have been on. Then trapped inside the house because Illinois thought it had become Arizona with the hellish heat indexes. Now that the weather has cooled off you can go on your hiking treks with the family on the weekends and get back into your jeans 😀

      Thanks for your sweet comments on the notebooks I’ve made on my other blog. I appreciate you so much.

      Lest I forget, your texting me while Joe was in the hospital to see how we were doing meant the world to me. Knowing you were on the outside for me when I needed you helped me to remain focused on Joe and not go bonkers. Thank you so very much for your friendship and your love. You’ll never know just how much that meant to me. I love you for that.

      Thank care of yourself and your family.

      Love you – Leslie

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