DASH Diet Weight Loss & Maintenance

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I started following the DASH diet in June 2009, on the recommendation of my doctor due to hypertension. My systolic pressure had reached 170 and he said it was an unacceptable level for someone only in their early forties.
He initially suggested medication or going on the wait list for weight loss surgery. He believed a substantial weight loss would go a long way to lowering my blood pressure. I decided against medication and surgery in favour of his final and last suggestion/possible solution, the DASH diet.
After he gave me a pager information sheet on the diet. I went home and did additional research and discovered that the effects of the diet could be enhanced for those with hypertension, by also making it very low sodium. I decided to go this route, along with with calorie restriction to lose the weight. I still follow a 1500 mg sodium limit per day to keep my now normal blood pressure, low.
After an 18 month weight loss process with DASH, ending in 2011, I lost 90 pounds and have not regained the weight since.

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How come I am only just discovering the deliciousness of dried strawberries now? Kind of like strawberry liquorice with a very similar chew, but so much better! #dashdiet

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The DASH diet that I have followed now for almost 9 years come this June, to lower my blood pressure and lose 90 pounds, just won best diet again for the 8th year in a row!!  All diet’s were rated by medical professionals and experts.  Check it out and if you are interested in learning more about DASH, you can also follow my facebook page here.

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I agree completely because the low sodium/salt DASH diet has had this same effect on me.   However, I do not believe the low sodium diet alone would not have brought my blood pressure down to normal.  It was not enough. It was not until I finished losing 90 pounds with DASH diet that my blood pressure completely receded.  Before I started with DASH, 9 years ago, I had a regular blood pressure reading of about 170/90.  Yesterday’s blood pressure reading at the pharmacy was 109/49 and I have never used BP drugs to bring my blood pressure down. It was the DASH diet, weight loss and exercise, that fixed this problem for me so many years ago.

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It is Christmas time and so the holiday parties abound.  Always a tough time for those out there just like me, always watching their calories.  Here is a photo of my husband, and I taken on Friday and my blood pressure reading photo from yesterday.

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Research is now showing that it is not only salt that contributes to high blood pressure, but also sugar. Too much sugar makes the effect of too much salt, that much worse. I am sure it is very difficult for scientists to tease out which is worse. My hypertension was completely eliminated through DASH diet and my 90 pound weight loss and too much sugar is very much associated with obesity. My doctor was very clear with me, that if I lost weight, my blood pressure would recede and he was 100% correct. I focused on reducing sodium because my intake was was too high and I had not even realized it. However my sugar intake was also reduced, just by following the DASH diet, because it is low sugar diet.

I highly recommend following the DASH diet to reduce intake in both areas!

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My blood pressure is normal, but my pulse has been running higher than usual.  I believe this effect may be related to the racing heart feeling of worry I have had for most of the past week  about my daughter Chantelle and her boyfriend Geoff, who evacuated to Havana and had to ride out Hurricane Irma there. Irma hit Cuba as a category 5 hurricane. She then proceeded to bounce like a ball down Cuba’s coast line, taking her leisurely time moving West, destroying the island as she headed towards Havana.  It was one of the scariest 48 hours I have experienced to date and I wasn’t even there!   Moreover it was her 27th birthday on September 8th the day the hurricane hit. I can’t think of a worse birthday present.

Tonight I can officially report they are back on Canadian soil in Toronto and hopefully home tomorrow.  I spent quite a bit of time this past week using Twitter to find out news about what was happening with the storm, weather reports, pictures, country preparations, etc, because let’s face it, Twitter is where you will always hear something first.   I couldn’t text to my daughter in Cuba much at all. Even with the few texts that did get through back and forth between us, I still couldn’t know she was safe, because “massive historic hurricane” and no one could really be safe until it was over.

I thought I would screen my non hurricane related tweets out and put the complete list of Irma tweets here so I could more easily refer back to the experiences of this past week.   I am doing this partly because I tweet quite often and a month from now these tweets will be buried and difficult to retrieve.

Sept 14: Air Can super delayed again.Chany & Geoff still sitting on runway in Toronto to come back Vic from from havana, Cuba & Irma! #cdnpol #bcpoli

Sept 13: Hopefully daughter’s boarding AC plane out of #Havana!! Home in Victoria @9 tonight. Excited to hear about #Irma #cdnpoli #uspoli #cuba

Sept 12: Replying to @InfidelMedia Fuck you hurricane irma or whatever u are, my flight is now delayed 12 hours while my plane is rescuing people at cuba. Hope they ok. 10:02 PM – 12 Sep 2017
Replying to @InfidelMediaz; My daughter is there and coming home tomorrow!! So excited! I was so scared for her : (

Aw glad she ok mother nature is such a shit ay?

Reply to @InfidelMediaz: Totally!! I heard the screaming of that hurricane in video clips and boy is she furious!

Sept 12: Flight delay! Chany will be home tomorrow night at 9pm in Victoria. Should get her a I survived #Irma in #Cuba t-shirt : )) #uspoli #cdnpoli

Sept 12: Daughter reported by txt @lunch they were in Cent #Havana now & water, lights, power back on in major downtown areas! #irma #cdnpoli #uspoli

Sept 12: Hoping Havana, Cuba airport is reopening today so Chantelle and Geoff can leave tomorrow morn as scheduled. #cuba#cdnpoli#irma#uspoli

Sept 11: Rereading daughters last blog post bout climate change-so relevant 2her #Irma experience in #Cuba! #cdnpoli #uspoli
Sept 11: Msg from daughter in #Havana worried bout access 2 money. #Cuba devastated by #Irma  #cdnpoli #uspoli
 
Sept 10: Love this!! My daughter is in Havana now!! Hopefully to fly out on the 13th but from pics… : (( #irma #cuba #cdnpoli #uspoli
Sept 10: Replying to @KarenBr73718916 My daughter told me this morning they were safe in Miramar, Havana but no idea where. #cdnpoli #uspoli #cuba
Sept 10: Replying to@Havana_Expat: Take this back! Just saw video Miramar flooding : ( & that is quite high- google says 45 meters elevation : ( #cdnpoli#uspoli#cuba#havana
Sept 10 Replying to@Havana_Expat: Miramar is where my daughter was holed up from #irma! Still pretty dry! Saw evac notice & was worried! #cdnpoli #uspoli #cuba
Sept 10: Havana Expat @Havana_ExpatTrees down all over 5th Ave Miramar
Sept 10: Replying to @collinlaverty11My daughter is somewhere here in Miramar with her bf, although not sure where! #cuba#havana#cdnpoli#uspoli#irma
Sept 10: Retweeted JuanM#Cuba has been severely impacted by #HurrcaneIrma. Let´s support Cubans and demand more than ever the end of US Blockade. #UnblockCuba
Reply to JuanM: Love this!! My daughter is in Havana now!! Hopefully to fly out on the 13th but from pics… : (( #irma#cuba#cdnpoli#uspoli 

Sept 10: Hoping the water is receding #cdnpoli#uspoli#irma#cuba

Sept 10:so awful : ((  6:24 PM – 10 Sep 2017
Sept 10: Stay safe in Havana tonight Chany!! Just a disaster! #Irma floods Havana’s streets : #cdnpoli #uspoli #cuba #uspoli

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This is a wonderful article on the health risks of excess salt in your diet.   When I was learning to follow the DASH diet to combat my hypertension,  I read a lot of research that showed that a DASH diet with sodium reduction, was far more effective at reducing blood pressure than without.

One of the hardest things to figure out in the diet was how to season meats without salt, because meat with no seasoning is just gross.  As this article suggests, we began to experiment with creating meat marinades using, olive oil, flavoured vinegars, balsamics, garlic, real maple syrup and no sodium spices.

I have found that balsamic vinegars in particular, can provide a lovely salty like flavour to food, but with zero sodium.  They also come in so many flavours these days, like peach, strawberry fig, chilli and lime, mango, raspberry, etc.  I love to go to farmers markets to find interesting, flavoured and balsamic vinegars.  Today, I far prefer these homemade marinades to store bought sauces for meats.

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Feel so good after running for 1st time in 5 months!! Now this is the good sweat I remember! 

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I am medically clear to return to running again!! It’s been so long and I have not run since March due to a serious back injury. Such a fantastic day!!! I am going to hit the treadmill at the gym after dinner and then soon….road running again!!!

*Dancing with glee!*

This is a picture of my daughter and I, at the Goodlife Fitness fall road race in 2014.

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