A Tale of BP, Wine, and Food
As I mentioned awhile ago, issues with BP have arisen. I always had low blood pressure, around 105 / 65, so when it started going up, I was in denial. However, it kept going up – and down – and up – and down. Finally, the diagnosis was “labile hypertension” which can be difficult to treat with medication. So, no treatment. My last visit to the doc ended with a threat of medication…but the fact is, I get “white coat syndrome” these days when BP is mentioned. Everything skyrockets – my BP, and my heart rate. At that visit, BP was 130 / 96 (not good) and my pulse was 98 (very not good). I argued that it was only in his office that everything went nuts. A deal was struck: record your BP and pulse 3 times a day, and I will see you in month.
Ha! I’ll show him.
Well, even though I am running, and can do 2 miles nonstop after a month, the BP is still up. Systolic (upper number) doesn’t go over 140, and the diastolic (lower number) hovers between 80 to 90. Not seriously bad.
“Get into the Mediterranean diet,” he says. “This means drink red wine.”
I am not a fan of wine, but like Scotch so much more. But, orders are orders, and . . . I begin to drink 5 oz. of red wine at night. More alcohol in 4 days than I drink in 6 months. My scotch intake is minimal, like once a month. The day I begin the red wine, the BP takes a serious drop, running as low as 113 / 76 and a pulse as low as 66 with occasional moments of stress bringing it up to 88. Running pulse is toward 160 at the high end, with a rate of about 84 a couple of minutes after resting. Pretty good recovery rate.
I’m sold. And, I find I am liking red wine. The current bottle is a 2011 Syrah from California. 1 drink left. Oh, dear, I am running out of medicine!!
So, now I drink wine. I can handle it, but am amused at how lazy it makes me – really, I get so tipsy! My husband says it is because I don’t drink, and need more practice.
The Mediterranean Diet can be found online in varied formats. For me, it really is not a difficult thing to do as there are really no major dietary changes necessary. The biggest shift is less meat, but I can live with that. I like fish, so I eat that, and try to have tofu once a week. More fruits and vegetables are easy to do. What I have given up is sugar, but I do eat dark chocolate. I really do not miss it, but know that if I give in and eat some cookie or a sweet, I’m hooked back on the worst drug in the food world. That is my nemesis.
One thing, though, I find a big help is to keep track of what I eat. I like FitDay.com, which comes with a lot of good things, although their food database is not as good as Fatsecrets.com. But, I prefer FitDay as there are not forums and emails from the site – they leave me alone! I can create custom foods, too, and record a lot of different things.
Tracking my food is not rocket science, and I refuse to get specific about weights and amounts. What I do watch, though, is the daily carbohydrate totals, and work to keep it below 100 g., and the fat to 25-35% of the daily calorie total. Many foods have fat, so I do watch what I add to my diet, but fat is also necessary for good health. I don’t eat butter anymore, nor am I using low fat dairy products – all nonfat. So, I have given up my beloved St. Benoit yogurt and turned to the nonfat Greek yogurt at Trader Joe’s. It is thick, which is what I like, not thin and runny, which is what regular nonfat yogurt can be unless gelatin has been added. I seldom eat bread, but prefer grains. Oatmeal and quinoa are my favorites. I also eat nuts. And I eat little, if any, cheese.
An average daily caloric intake is about 1200 calories, which, for me, is fine. I’ve also lost about 9 lbs. over the past several weeks, and it goes up when I eat salty foods, but has been going down regularly, and holding steady, too, which indicates a metabolic adjustment.
Altogether, life changes are occurring, and certainly ones which are improving my heatlh, my outlook, my activity levels. Most importantly, they are ones which are quite easy to live with and readily incorporate themselves into my life in general, and ones which are easy to become habitual.