I'll work on doing more of a background post about hypertension itself sometime soon, maybe over the upcoming long weekend. But for now, I will share the doctor-recommended approach towards addressing hypertension through diet. It's called the DASH Diet, as in Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
The DASH Diet is a variation of the usual food pyramid we've all gotten used to, and until now I haven't really made much of an effort to adjust to its recommendations. But, as T and I are sharing with you all, this is the first week of the rest of our lives or something like that. So, I'm going to start by making a very strategic trip to the grocery store this weekend. I've also just bought the book that's on the linked web site (call me a sucker, I'll buy the book...) which hopefully has tips on how to stick to the reshuffled DASH plan.
For a 2000-calories-a-day lifestyle (which sure will feel like a diet), DASH recommends you choose:
Grains - 7-8 servings, at least 3 of which are whole grains
Fruits - 4-5 servings
Veggies - 4-5 servings
Dairy, low-fat or non-fat - 2-3 servings
Lean meats, fish, poultry - 2 or less servings
Nuts, seeds, legumes - 4-5 servings per week
Fats and sweets - limited
I probably won't have a problem with the grains part. While I probably have more than 7-8 servings on most days (I LOVE pasta, rice, chips and bagels), I make a point to have whole grain stuff at home and I try to order the same whenever it's an option out. So I'll work on making smarter grain choices and fewer of them. I have to up my dairy intake, make sure I have lean protein once a day on average, keep eating beans but make sure they're in low sodium meals, buy some unsalted nuts to have on hand, and really cut back on fats and sweets.
I *know* the hardest thing will be to incorporate 4-5 servings EACH of fruits and veggies every day. I love fruits and veggies, don't get me wrong. But it requires more planning, more cooking, more trips to the store, and just more commitment overall to make sure that either fresh produce or well-seasoned frozen veggies are a big part of my day.
And, this is a post for another day, but another one of the - ahem - health issues that I inherited from my Dad sometimes has a dramatic reaction to, shall we call it, roughage. But that can be managed too, with planning, so there's really no excuse for not upping my fruit/veggie consumption.
I know, I've gotta just do it. Like Nike says. (But if I ever do win the lottery this is totally why I would hire a nutritionist and personal chef.)
Checking in / On the road...
5 years ago