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All my life, I considered myself a pretty healthy person. I would alternate between periods of being vegetarian, and eating raw, and people typically commented on how I look very young for my age.
But genetically, I have high blood pressure. I've always had high blood pressure, even in high school. Six months ago, I started to feeling really bad. I would wake up each morning all puffy and with headaches. My blood pressure was 150/100 on a consistent basis. Then one Sunday afternoon, the pain in my head was so unbearable, and my blood pressure was 160/110, and was sent to the hospital. I really do not remember what happened after that. I literall lost three days of my life, and do not know what happened. Doctor confirmed I had a stroke, and thus started the ritual of all kinds of medication, (that never worked by the way.) I took the medication, and my blood pressure was still high.
I then went on the HCG diet for weight loss, which its side effect is lower blood pressure. That helped temporarily, but then, my blood pressure shot back up after I was off the protocal.
Then, I read about this stuff called Secretagogue, which helps your body make human growth hormones, which lower your blood pressure. Yeah, it helped, but my blood pressure was still in the 100s.
Then, I was reading Alicia's book. It described the Vegan diet of lowering blood pressure.
I did it for seven days, cold turkey. For the first time, in years, my blood pressure was 126/62 today!!! Before then it was averaging around 130s/80s..
I feel like a different person. I feel like myself. My eyes are bright, my skin is glowing, my mood is lifted and feel light.
I am so glad I got my blood pressure under control. We have a history of strokes and kidney failure in our family, (due to high blood pressure) and I am so glad I got it under control.
You are not unusual. The majority of Americans will get hypertension and will be medicated. The cause is dietary. The modern western diet has been implicated in the etiology of hypertension.
Under the influence of this modern diet almost everyone is more or less "genetically" predisposed. After only a few weeks on the superhero (or similar) plan almost everyone's genetic tendencies are too weak to maintain the hypertension. In other words, the genetic link is weaker then the environmental one, food trumps genes, you can beat this with diet.
Superhero is the plan that really works well. It is well balanced and a great idea for the long term. Just think how good you will feel on that!
Thank you Justin for your post. My family is literally riddled with high blood pressure, but they think I am the crazy one for always going to the "natural" route.
You know what I found out? My father, he's been on medication since his early 30s. Now, he has renal failure. Renal failure is not covered by most insurance companies.
When I went to my natural path doctor, (Home First, they are amazing) and I relayed this information, the doctor then told me that the body needs a break from medication, or else it causes kidney damage. I gather, that the insurance companies are well aware of this link, hence, not covering kidney disease on their list.
The thing that shocks me, is not only my family, but their attitude and reliance on medicine. They actually think that the medicine will CURE their ills, and they look at me like I am crazy. Surely, I can not be the only in this world that does not want to be a slave to medicine and would rather just permanently fix the problem, (ie, through diet)
I knew there was some type of diet relationship to high blood pressure, but never in a million years, would I have ever figured out that meat and dairy, were the culprits. (even organic) I switched to organic years ago, but now I am happy to live without the stuff period.
So what is the anger that others feel toward Vegans? I just do not get it. (or at least I feel it)
Wow, sorry to hear about your dad.
Most blood pressure pills force the kidneys to release water to reduce blood volume. Over time these diuretics can damage the delicate structures in the kidneys until they can no longer work. The reason insurance companies don't want to cover renal failure is that it often involves dialysis which is extremely expensive.
I think that our media has done a good job of heaping scorn on lifestyle medicine. In some ways the link between veganism and compassion is used as a wedge to obscure the very selfish reasons most people should choose this way of eating. Maybe some of us are more likely to be motivated by selfish concerns.
A great book by a thoracic surgeon will quickly reverse the process of atherosclerosis, Dr Essylstien "reversing heart disease.
Congrats on getting your bp under control - that's great! I also have a family in which high blood pressure has been a big issue. I have had periodic issues with it, but the only time I have been on medication for it was for a month after my son was born. Since I do seem to be susceptible to high bp, I am determined not to allow it to become a problem. I initially went to a vegan diet to help with my migraines (which it did!), but I know that it will also keep me from following in the footsteps of a lot of my family - that and keeping my weight down.
I have also gotten negative reactions to suggestions that a vegan diet could help my family with their bp as well. They believe that they have no control over their bp, and that the only way to help it is to take medication. The thing is though is that is what most doctors are telling people. Most people don't seem to think about high blood pressure as a symptom of a larger problem. It is looked at as the problem itself. So, instead of getting to the root of why there's high blood pressure to begin with, the symptoms are masked with medication. I think the resistance to trying a vegan diet is for a number of reasons - doctors and media pushing drugs, and misinformation about a vegan diet and health in general.
Justin, I will definitely read that book by Dr Essylstien, and thanks for explaining the whole kidney /medication link.
I have to admit, that before I knew what Vegan was all about, I myself had a negative connotation with the word. "The Kind Diet" helped me a lot understand what it was all about. I thought being Vegan as being extremist, and impossible, and buying a bunch of processed specialized made food that replace traditional ingredients, and at first this was a huge turn off, (both from a budget perspective and the fact that I am not a big fan of buying foods in boxes)
But NOW I understand, that you just structure your diet around whole grains, while making simple substitutions. I am actually a more versatile cook now, than I was before becoming Vegan.
With regards to the whole "anger toward Vegans thing" I still find it surprising how judgemental people are. I for one, would never push my food values on other people. In fact, when I entertain, I do have meat and meatless dishes. When my family comes over, however, and they are very condescending about how I eat, and the "weird" stuff I have in cabinet, which I find very insulting.
I think this is a very personal issue. I say, "hey, allergies, and high blood pressure took over my life, and I've found a very happy way to live with out them now". In fact my mother in law came over a few weeks ago. My children are very much on board, and love miso soup, my teenager especially is a health nut. My mother in law talked down to him about there is no need to eat organic, and how I am stupid for wasting my money, all the while, she has ever disease under the son, is 47, and looks like she is 90. (no joke, she is having hip replacement surgery this month). Good thing actions speak louder than words, because to my son, she was like a poster child for ill health, and was grateful that I cared about the food I put on the table. That made me feel good that he stood up for me.
I describe the diet that I advocate for as "plant-based". That way the knee jerk reaction is kept to a minimum and the message can be communicated more effectively. Even so, my family has repeatedly freaked out on me. My aunt said I was a bad parent and she would call the authorities to take away my kids because I didn't give them milk to drink. The kicker? she's an oncologist who smokes! (as do both of her kids with her blessings) She said that smoking isn't bad for you but not drinking milk was child abuse.
Alicia's way of framing this whole concept was very attractive to me. Kindness is the thread that stitches the whole quilt together. Kindness to ourselves, our families, the animals, the environment and even to our harshest critics.
Justin, I definitely feel your pain, hypocrisy at its best, or maybe, there is something more. Other people may feel "threatened" that they are not able to make these changes in themselves, so I guess its easier for them to excuse and condone what they do, "hey cigarettes are good for you!" all the while, pointing the evil at the others" I am going to call child welfare, what you do not give your kids milk? " My MIL adn 13 year old, got into a very heated discussion about milk, when she went to the store to buy him so milk, and called him ungrateful for not drinking it. Milk is not good for anyone, but to make her feel better he said, "I am lactose intolerant".. Really, your aunt, if she lived in MI, she really would be put in jail. I lived there 10 years ago, and they were proposing legislation making it illegal to smoke around your kids, and cops were able to pull you over if you did so in the car. I can not remember if it was a criminal offense or child abuse, and if that law is still on the books or not.
Manya, you are absolutely right. After how my mother in law acted during her visit, my husband is so disappointed at her behavior, that he refuses to speak to her. Granted her behavior, (there were other offensive she DID and SAID about me and the kids, and him" that was the straw that broker the camels back.
When people do not take the time or concern, or even attempt to better themselves, they seem to lash out at people who do.
My MIL makes fun of all the "weird" stuff in my refrigerator and cabinet, but we are never sick, and we are healthy and vibrant, where as the exact opposite for her and her family.
As a stroke survivor myself, all I can say is do everything you can to prevent a stroke. I'm only 36 and it literally robbed me of my life.Feel free to PM me. I don't mind sharing the gorey details if it will help your loved ones.