Going Plant-Based changed my blood pressure.
I’m going to get back to the creativity theme in my next post, but I wanted to throw something out there for you guys which has been on my mind recently. I figured that since I had mentioned previously something about blah blah blah vegan, yadda yadda plant-based, I should fill you in on a few details.
I’m not a vegan in the sense that I’m going to throw paint on your fur coat. I’ve seen the documentaries, and I don’t agree with how animals are treated in factory farms. I agree that it hurts the environment, but I’m not going to cause a stink about it, nor am I going to make you feel bad for anything you choose to eat. I just am making the choice not to buy it anymore. I might still eat meat on occasion, but it’s pretty rare (ok, the meat is not rare, but the occasion is). For the most part, I avoid meat and dairy.
I also choose not to buy processed foods because I believe they are making people sick over the long term. I don’t believe one candy bar is going to give someone cancer… But thousands of candy bars, sodas, hamburgers, milk shakes, and French fries over the course of years could cause some form of ill health. (and I believe processed foods are the culprit for everything from the rise of allergies to the rise in obesity in America). Eventually, there comes a point when the piper must be paid for eating that way. And for me, I’ve noticed it has started to set in. And if I don’t make changes, I will end up on medication. Therefore, I have made a choice to change what I eat to avoid negative consequences and medication for the rest of my life.
At some point one has to get off the processed food joy ride. So should one wait until they are sick to get serious about not eating fake crap? It’s like the old saying, the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is today. So while it would have been better to stop eating processed foods when we were kids, we didn’t know better! (I mean, I would come home every day and eat a ding dong and milk as my after school snack!) But now we do know better. Studies are linking sugar, and processed foods to cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, inflammation, and a slew of other ailments. It’s time to get serious about what we are choosing to buy and eat. And what we are feeding our children.
So at my house, I made the decision that I won’t buy anything that’s not real food anymore. We didn’t dump out our cabinets, or anything drastic. But over time the things in the cabinets will change. We will eat what we have, and as I go to the store, I’m only buying good things. And if there is no better alternative for something, then we will do without. We are eating mostly whole foods and plant based (WFPB).
That being said, I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel since starting this journey earlier this year.
I should mention that we went WFPB during the summer of 2014. That lasted about 6-8 months and then got derailed when our family went through a serious tragedy. I realize now, that was the best I had felt in a long time, and I started to remember why we went WFPB in the first place. So it’s been a year and a half since that time, and we are coming back to being WFPB. Mainly because eating that way plays a significant role in managing high blood pressure for me. I’ve always had a tendency toward high blood pressure, and that tendency is amplified during times when I’m pregnant. Right now, my doctor has been talking about putting me on BP medication. I hate how that feels. I’ve been on it before, and it feels like a roller coaster in my head. It’s not fun. My pressure was spiking up to 157/97 for several days which is not good. It was even as high as 155/101.
After one week of committed WFPB eating, my pressure lowered to 143/90 which is significant for me. After two weeks, my pressure was at 135/84. After four weeks, it was at 122/82. It has even been as low as 117/77. Which is unheard of for me!
For me, it makes a difference. And while I’m not here to say I’m better at eating than anyone, and I’m certainly not judging anyone for what they choose to eat — I’m just saying what we have been doing and what’s been working for my BP. And believe me, I’m as addicted to junk food as anyone else. I am a sugar addict, and I will be the first to admit it. I need to go to sugar addicts anonymous, like for real (is that a real thing? idk). And some days it’s really hard not to eat processed food. (It’s engineered to be addictive!!) I’m just taking it one choice at a time and doing my best to make good choices consistently — because that’s what causes change. One choice alone doesn’t always change things, but consistently choosing better can make a difference.
One other thing I should mention is that eating this way has saved us money. I know everyone’s first excuse of why they can’t eat healthy is because it’s so expensive. And I can see that it could be expensive if you’re still buying junk food and going out to eat at restaurants… But for my family, I’ve saved money because #1 we are not eating out nearly as much as we were. #2, meat is more expensive than produce – when we’re not buying meat, cheese, eggs, or milk, that saves us money. #3, we are not buying processed foods (or buying very little of the healthy processed foods). Processed junk food is cheaper than “healthy” processed foods, but if you’re not buying very much processed foods at all, it is cheaper! A bag of beans is $1 or less. A bag of rice, is cheap too. Buying whole foods IS cheaper than buying anything processed. So limiting the amount of processed foods, even healthy processed foods, has saved us money.
I realize not everyone has a market available like this where they live, but I go to a market that often has farmers come in on the weekend. During the week, it’s still open, but it’s just a regular produce market — but the produce is so much cheaper than the nearest grocery store!! For example, I got everything you see in the picture below for $16.75!! Less than $20 and I have all the veggies I need to prepare dinners for the week. Talk about cutting your grocery bill! It’s worth the drive to save so much on produce. (A similar amount of produce at Walmart cost me around $50!!) I’d encourage you to investigate alternative options where you live — you never know where you could strike on veggie gold.
So, because moving one’s lifestyle in this direction seems to be on-trend these days, I’m going to include some links to resources that have helped me in arriving at this decision. I’m also happy to answer any questions you leave me in the comments below.
Forks Over Knives (the Documentary is also available on Netflix)
Managing Diabetes with a PB Diet
Vegucated (the documentary is also available on Netflix)
Fat Sick and Nearly Dead (also available on Netflix. FSND 2 is better than the first one, in my opinion)
GMO OMG (also on Netflix)
Food Inc. (also on Netflix)
Also I pin a ton of vegan / plant-based meal ideas on my Pinterest Vegan Board. Take a look if you’re interested in seeing what we eat, or in getting ideas on ways to make plant-based food.
What are you doing to improve your health? Let me know in the comments below!
Linky??? I’ve never done linky parties before, so this is my first time to join any today! A special shout out to the following blogs for letting me join their linky parties!! So exciting!! :D
Elizabeth and Co.
Adventures of Mel