A few years ago, seven to be exact, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Anyone who has been in this position knows the next course of actions. The first thing the doctor does is ask you to modify your diet. Then your are presented with the DASH diet. It is overwhelming at first, and for most of us that have been raised with the Standard Western Diet, also known as SAD, it can be challenging. After all the thought of giving up all that delicious sodium and fat is tough. Especially when you are not used to it.
You try your best but at the next doctors visit your BP has either not changed or worse, it went up. So on comes the medicine. Which is not a bad idea, as it does bring results, however you have just ushered in a new era. One of ever increasing med doses and adding in new med regiments. For me this has been the last seven years. Currently, at 40, I am on two meds and my BP is still not in control. However there is one thing I have not seriously done. That being drastically change my diet.
Sometime recently I figured the time is now and I actually did set about to change my diet. I combed the internet for information and all things kept pointing me in one direction. I had to give up the SAD diet. I thought I did that though. I mean I eat fruits and vegetables, I rarely eat processed food and I cook for myself all the time. Still it was not enough. So I had another look at the DASH diet, as well as investigating deeply into what many are now calling the nutrarian diet. Both in the add add up to one thing. Decreasing the amount of meat you eat and dramatically increasing the amount of nutrient dense foods you consume. Which in the end means fruits and vegetables.
So I set out to be a DASH/Nutrarian. It really does make sense. The average hypertensive individual can affect their BP by raising their blood levels of healthy antioxidants. Of course you can do that with supplements, but let’s face it, we were meant to get all that good stuff from food. If you do the research there is ample evidence that increasing, overtime, your dietary intake of healthy phytonutrient dense foods can and will have a lasting impact on your health. There are so many pluses to such a diet it is a wonder that we are not all jumping on the band wagon. Just google search the work of Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Furhman or the China Study. You will be amazed at the results they have uncovered and like me you might just commit to lasting change.
I spent many years of my life on the SAD diet, like so many of us. And I truly feel it has done me a great disservice. I do recognize that my hypertension does come from a family, or genetic, origin, but I am convinced that lifestyle does play a role. I also know that it took years to reach this point and it could take a long time to reverse the damage. However with perseverance and dedication, as well as a convincing idea that no matter what I am doing right by my health, I understand that eating more nutrient dense foods, or more simply put a more vegetarian diet, is the right thing for me. After all considering where we evolved from, here is a nod to the paleo-diet, eating more nutrient dense foods, fruits and vegetables, simply makes sense.