Today I want to talk with you about how a change in diet can improve your health. But first, I want to announce that I am going to be posting 3 times per week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) instead of every day. Live has been so incredibly hectic and I want to focus on quality instead of quantity.
So, let’s talk about food. I feel like society treats food as a reward when really it’s fuel for our bodies. Think about it this way: we go out for meals with friends to socialize, holidays revolve around food, and people often use food for comfort. When I was focused on diet culture, it was hard to break away from the idea of treating my progress with food. I had to retrain my brain to look at food as a fuel source instead of a reward for a job-well-done. There are so many other great (and healthier) ways to treat ourselves including reading a new book, renting a movie, relaxing in the tub with a bath-bomb, painting my nails, face masking, or really anything else that I enjoy. Learning how to intuitively eat has been a game-changer for me.
Working in healthcare, I get the opportunity to meet a lot of people suffering from chronic conditions. Since switching from pediatrics to adult care, I realized that a huge epidemic in our country is hypertension (high blood pressure). I see entirely too many people each day that either have untreated high blood pressure or are on medications to help manage the condition. Some people will even need to be transferred to the hospital from our office because of hypertensive crisis. High blood pressure can lead to headaches, epistaxis (bloody noses), heart disease, stroke, and even death. If you have high blood pressure or think you might, I strongly suggest talking with your PCP (primary care physician) about diet changes that could help your condition.
Before we became vegetarian, my husband started to have pre-hypertension. We were monitoring his blood pressure (BP) regularly because of symptoms he was having and lo and behold, his BP was consistently elevated. This is when we finally made the change to become vegetarians and more health-conscious beings.
Not only did we stop eating meat, but we started reading the labels on foods we were buying. It was amazing (disgusting) to see how much unnecessary salt was added to the foods we were eating.
We decided to eat less pre-packaged foods. Salt is used to elongate the shelf life of products and, although it does a great job keeping foods preserved, it has a huge impact on people’s blood pressure. Making products homemade instead of purchasing from a store can help you limit your salt intake tremendously.
My cousin always added salt to every food he ate, but if you are trying to work on lowering your BP, ex-nay on the added salt-ay.
If you are craving a salty flavor, try salt-alternatives such as Bragg’s liquid aminos instead of soy sauce or vinegar instead of salad dressings. These are great options for a salty kick without a lot of sodium (if there is any at all).
After changing our diet to plant-based, my husband stopped having dizziness and headaches. His blood pressure decreased and it has been well controlled. Not everyone will have these results, but it is a great idea to talk with your doctor about controlling your hypertension with diet.
Take care of yourself.