Sometime in the Fall of 2018, I went to a health clinic for a cerumen impact removal. That’s just a fancy way of saying I went in to get the impacted (stuck) ear wax removed from my ears. I have tiny ear canals, and despite cleaning my ears constantly, every so often I’ll get wax stuck deep within my canals to the point where I can’t hear.
After the nurse practitioner removed my impacted ear wax and I could hear again, she let me know that I was prehypertensive. My jaw just about fell on the ground. Prehypertensive?!?? What?!?? I eat well, I exercise . . . What do you MEAN that my blood pressure is in nearing high blood pressure levels??????
When I shared this information with a few trusted acquaintances, friends, and loved ones, several of them said they weren’t surprised. I have a high stress life, and they felt that I shouldn’t have been surprised by the diagnosis at all.
My nephew’s teacher told me that she believed that I could get my blood pressure to healthy levels naturally, without medication. I was totally on board. She recommended that I get a book about how to lower my blood pressure levels, naturally.
Deciding to Eat Vegan a Minimum of 5 Days a Week
I ordered the kindle version of the book “30 Days to Blood Pressure Control: The No Pressure Solution” by Dr. David DeRose, Dr. Greg Steinke, and Trudie Li (MSN, FP). In the book, the authors shared compelling scientific research about how rates of developing blood pressure differ greatly between vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores (those who eat all foods). The authors recommend eating vegan for 5 days a week, and eating omnivore 2 days a week. I started out that way, and then transitioned to eating vegan 7 days a week.
My first attempt at going vegan failed: After about 3 weeks, I became exhausted in a way I had never experienced exhaustion before. I was tired to the very core of my being, deep down in my bones, to my very spirit. No amount of sleep made a difference. No amount of eating made a difference. I thought that perhaps I had iron deficiency, so I upped my iron intake. That didn’t change a thing. After a while, I conceded and went back to eating meat. Within a week, all was well.
I decided to try eating vegan again. The research is just so compelling: It’s rare for a vegan to have high blood pressure. And for my second attempt at going vegan, I joined a few Facebook vegan / plant-based eating groups to get some help.
This decision ended up being both good and bad: Thankfully I learned from others in the groups that I probably had a B12 deficiency last time around, and not an iron deficiency. I ended up purchasing a B12 supplement that many vegans take and that an employee at Sprouts highly recommended as their best-selling one. With taking B12, I had no issue at all with fatigue. Yay! 😀
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of participating in the vegan / plant-based Facebook groups was thought I encountered a lot of carb-heavy recipes that led to weight gain. Another downside was that I encountered some cult-ish acting vegans. Not all vegans are this way, but there are vegans who are crazy extreme and very discouraging to those who are transitioning to a plant-based diet.
Deciding to Add Eggs, Tuna, and Salmon Back into the Mix but No Dairy
Though my second attempt at going vegan was pretty successful — meaning I was not fatigued, I had little craving for meat or dairy, and my blood pressure levels were heading in the right direction — I was gaining weight. I was fluffy in areas I had never been fluffy before. I was gaining 1-2 pounds a week, and it was getting very discouraging. This is because unbeknownst to me, my plant-based diet included too many carbs.
After speaking with a doctor and an advisor the doctor recommended, and after watching several of Dr. Joe’s videos (see video linked below), I decided to add eggs and tuna and salmon back into my diet. The advisor felt strongly that I should eat according to my blood type, and that some blood types need (healthy) meat in their diets. Dr. Joe explained that eggs are pretty healthy (for those without other risk factors such as high cholesterol) and are highly nutritious. I thought about all of this and about the fact that the authors of “30 Days to Blood Pressure Control” recommended eating vegan for just 5 days a week, not the full 7 days a week. I looked in the mirror at my new fluff and added pasture-raised eggs, mercury-tested tuna, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon to my shopping list.
Next Health Post: (1) Plant-Based and Vegetarian Non-Dairy Recipes and Foods, (2) Recipe Authors, and (3) Supplements That Are Working for Me
In the next health-related post, I’ll share some of the dairy-free plant-based and vegetarian recipes that I’ve learned of that are DELICIOUS. These include smoothies, omelets, soups, salads, meat-free “tuna” that tastes awesome, meat-free “cheeseburgers” that are soy-free and dairy-free and taste GREAT, and more. I’ll also share each of the vitamins and supplements I take. Lastly, I’ll introduce you to the recipes and recipe authors that are REALLY working for me! I never thought I’d reach a point where I have zero cravings for meat or dairy, but here I am! Healthy blood pressure, HERE. I. COME.
Until next time!