DASH Diet Weight Loss & Maintenance

DoDASHDiet

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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The DASH diet is a plant based diet, but it is not a vegetarian diet, although you could easily design it as vegetarian. For vegetarian DASH options, substitute lentils, nuts, beans, tofu, etc., in for meat as your protein.  The diet actually encourages these foods and meatless days as well.  An easy way to eyeball plant based, is to look at any meal and determine if half of it is fruit and veggie.  If half your plate is filled with these then you are golden!

I eat 8-10 servings of fruit and veggie everyday.  I find it easier to get my fruit servings in,  so for the veggies, I double up, sometimes even triple or quadruple servings to get the veggies I need each day (e.g instead of half a cup of steamed broccoli and cauliflower with melted cheddar cheese, I eat 2 cups).  This helps keep my fibre intake way up and my appetite under control.  Sure fills me up!

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Dementia and Alzheimer’s, run in my family tree. After the Doctor gave me the DASH diet back in June 2009, I went home and researched it online. This was challenging because I was also doing a difficult final stats class, but I felt hope and momentum, my faith in DASH growing as my blood pressure began to come down a bit, even without the weight loss.  My doctor told me that I would see the greatest results in reduction in blood pressure with weight loss.

I realized it probably was too much to try to lose weight with it until I really figured it out and finished my final exams. I planned to start using the diet for weight loss in Jan 2010.  I actually got started over Christmas though, right after I finished my M.Ed program. I had lots of free cognitive capacity now to research how best to use the diet to lose weight and I threw myself into this fun work!

I felt that in addition to reducing blood pressure and helping me lose weight, it was probably the perfect diet for possible prevention of the family diseases like, diabetes, dementia and Alzheimers.  Certainly my online research, was not showing good correlations between high blood pressure and later onset of these diseases.   The Doctor had warned in my late 30’s, I was on track to develop diabetes, if things did not change.  Today I remain hopeful that DASH has helped me to prevent the development of these diseases, either/or the onset of them will be much later than it could have been.

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This is the first time I have seen this connection made through research.  I have followed the DASH diet since June 2009, which is a low fat diet. It is also is a low sugar and low sodium diet.  Fats that are encouraged in the diet are healthy fats, like olive oil and nuts.   These twists and turns, negatives and positives are a really good reason to always consult your doctor and a registered dietician before starting any diet plan.

I am including a photo of my most recent blood pressure reading, which considering before I found DASH 8 years ago, my average blood pressure reading was 170/90, I think I am doing pretty well.

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I pretty much gave up juice back in June 2009 as part of my switch to the DASH diet to try to lose weight, and reduce my blood pressure.  Back then I was still hypertensive and desperate to make changes that would help me avoid medication and/or weight loss surgery.

Eight years later, we still don’t keep juice in the house, unless we have house guests coming. Now I eat the whole fruit/veggie and water instead and I aim for 8-10 servings a day. Orange juice used to be an everyday drink for me, sometimes 2-3 times a day, but to be honest I have not missed it much at all since I gave it up.  I already didn’t care much for pop anymore, so fortunately, I never had to worry about that piece at all.

In adopting DASH, some changes were harder to make than I thought they would be, like wringing the salt out of my diet while others, like ditching juice, seemed really easy.

 

 

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