Written by:Eli Ben-Yehuda, April 11, 2018

Lately my blood pressure has started to creep up again. But unlike most people I know why this is happening. You see when I was first diagnosed I was very scrupulous about everything I ate and drank. I stayed away from everything that I knew would increase my blood pressure. I kept a log of my blood pressure and ensured that I increased my activity. My average blood pressure was 120/60.

But there came a point where I became lazy. I went back to my old lifestyle and quite doing what was best for my health. So my life has become an experiment. Many people, with good intentions, told me I did not need to be so strict with myself. I listened to the naysayers who said a vegan lifestyle wasn’t healthy, that salt was healthy, that there was no evidence to support that indulging in animal products would lead to heart disease, poor health and high blood pressure. But I am noticing a big difference.

My doctor has not increased or switched my small dosage of medication yet, but he will if I do not take this serious again. When dealing with high blood pressure there is no room for being lazy. A soldier in a combat situation must be vigilant at all times. If he should let down his guard for a moment well the chances of him being taken out by the enemy increases fourfold. Imagine his loved ones receiving a letter stating he was killed because he was not vigilant. How sad that would be.

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Those of us with hypertension must be vigilant. It is the only way we can prevent becoming a statistic of the silent killer and it does kill. In America, according to the CDC, 360,000 people die yearly from high blood pressure and complications of high blood pressure. That is about 1000 people everyday. From high blood pressure! I for one do not want to become 1 of the 360,000. High blood pressure is serious and we who have it should take it seriously also.

I do not believe for one minute that those of us with this problem wish to die before our-time. But a great many of us shrug it off. “It is really not such a big deal,” I hear some people say. But it is. It is a very big deal. So what can we do if we have fallen off the wagon and become slack is our lifestyle? We begin again. We resolve not to be fooled by those who tell us the we can let loose and live a little. I am sorry but I would rather reign in this stampeding horse and live a lot more. More healthy, more lively, more energetic, and more for myself and my family.

Now I know that there will be detractors there always are. Please though, find away that is healthy for you to get it under control not everyone is able to follow this lifestyle. My bookshelf is filled with books by top cardiologists and nutrition physicians that basically point out the same thing. It is reiterated in top medical journals, over and over again. So for me it is a no brainer. If the studies are funded by the egg industry, the beef industry, the dairy industry and the like, those studies go in the trash. There tainted because these industries have a vested interest in studies that cast them in a positive light. That is just how the industry works.

For example, The United States Department of Agriculture is suppose to help set the guidelines for health and nutritional in the United States. But every-time there is a change coming that would hurt the industry guess what happens? The board who, has the final say, rejects those recommendations. And who is on that board? The majority are former members of the meat, dairy and egg industry who have financial ties to those sectors. Not surprising though is it.

So what can you do? Get serious about what you put in your body. Do your homework. Knowledge is a weapon. The more knowledgeable we are the better choices we can make. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or heart disease or both here are a few simple rules to follow.

Keep It Simple: Foods To Avoid

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1. Don’t eat anything with a face or a mother– This includes meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Yes you may say that arginine and omega-3 fatty acids are great for a healthy heart and it is plentiful in fish. But did you know that it can be found in plants also?

2. Dairy Products– That means butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, yogurt, and milk-even skim milk.

3. Oils– All oils, including virgin olive oil and canola oil

4. Refined Grains– These, unlike whole grains, have been stripped of much of their fiber and nutrients. You want to avoid white rice, and enriched flour products, which are found in many pastas, breads, bagels, and baked goods.

5. Nuts– I know what you are thinking, “But nuts are healthy” and you would be right to a degree, but those with heart disease should avoid nuts at least for the first 6 weeks.

Keep It simple: Foods To Indulge In

1. Vegetables– Enjoy as many vegetables as you like. It can be hard at first. We always picture the guy eating carrot sticks and celery, while people at the table are eating meat and potatoes. Get creative. Buy a few cookbooks that center and vegetable dishes. You would be surprised at the variety of veggies and the ways you can cook them. If you have high cholesterol avoid avocados for the time being.

2. Legumes– Beans, peas, and lentils galore. There are so many different types of legumes to enjoy and not get bored with them. My wife and I enjoy adding lentils or garbanzo beans to our salad. I also made a wonderful lentil loaf with carrots and onions.

3. Whole grains– There are a variety of whole grains that you can enjoy. The list is vast so I would recommend that you “Google” whole grains. I purchased my at a whole food store. Such things as quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, millet, spelt, and whole oats.

4. Fruit– Every week I do my shopping at the local farmers market. I find the fruit from the market, as well as the vegetables, are much more fresh and tasty. We also try to eat our fruit according to the season. A word of caution on fruit. Because of the sugar content of fruit, and yes it is healthy, we should try to limit our fruit intake to 3-4 servings a day. If you are diabetic the recommendation is 3 servings of fruit a day.

5.Beverages– Such things as seltzer water, water, oat milk, and herbal teas. My physician recommended that I cut out all caffeine. I have also found that diet sodas trigger my atrial fibrillation if I drink them. Some of you may be asking about soy milk. This is a gray area and a choice you will have to decide for yourself. For myself, I refrain due to the phyto-estrogens in soy products.

Becoming healthy comes with a price. It means that we have to take responsibility for our health, something I have become lax in the last few months. This is something that is my fault. Discussing this with my family doctor it is a matter of me becoming more aggressive with my approach. I have a great family physician. He has always told me to begin with my lifestyle choices. “Food” he said is the first place I can begin to change things. He isn’t quick to change medications or add medications. He always lets me try first on my own and adds recommendations. He also sent me to a great nutritionist who has helped me formulate a plan. Now the rest is up to me. I would also say listen to your body. The body is amazing and it will tell you what makes it feel good and what doesn’t. Do what is right for you, for your health, and family.

 

 
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