Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hard to swallow

My friends think I am nuts because I hate taking my blood pressure pill. To know that I have joined the ranks of people tied to their daily meds is not where I ever wanted to be.

I was proud that I took no medications. It's not that it is a bad thing. In fact, I am thankful that there is a pill that can lower my blood pressure to the point that I will not stroke out.

But that does not make my new little pill any easier to swallow. To me, it's a daily affirmation that I have eaten too much junk and had one too many glasses of wine. To me, it's a daily dose of failure.

My determination: In the next 18 months, I plan on getting off that pill. I'll do it through exercise and diet, although I am not supposed to be using that four-letter word.

My nutritionist suggested the DASH plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) to prevent and control hypertension.

I bought lots of DASH books, determined to embrace this eating plan. I gave it a week, and it gave me such dietary distress I threw the books away. I know my body was rebelling against the combo of so much fiber-rich whole grains and dairy, two food groups I eat little of -- for reasons that became all too obvious.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Oz had Dr. Joel Fuhrman on his show, and I liked his approach to eating. It's all about filling up on the foods I love, what he calls G-BOMBS: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds. You eat these daily. You fill the rest of your plate with small amounts of whole grains, and unlike DASH, there is no dairy. As I have always known, I can get all the calcium I need from the leafy greens I eat daily.

This is the way I have always liked to eat. I view meat as an occasional treat, although my husband would like to see it in every meal.

I am halfway through "Eat to Live," and although it is a restrictive eating plan, Dr. Furhman says that if I eat this way, I will eventually kiss my blood pressure medicine good-bye. Now all I need to do is keep  my eye on that goal.

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