I have said my whole life that while I am eating one meal, I am thinking about the next. I just love food! But in the past year, I have had my best relationship ever, with it.
In September of last year I found myself in hospital with sixth nerve palsy. I was away in a business meeting, and felt like every time I turned my head, my eye was delayed in catching up. Within 24 hours I was in extreme pain and seeing double. My friend and her 3 year old, drove me home from the meeting, which was a 10 hours of drive and an overnight ferry. Another friend took me to the hospital and waited in the parking lot for 5 hours, because he knew I was not up to having anyone taking care of me – story for another day. The next morning, the ophthalmologist met me in the hospital clinic, to review my brain scan. I was her only patient that Sunday morning, which I guess gave her the time to treat me like a human. She sat back and said ” so tell me, what’s going on in your life?” After a bunch of crying and conversation, she hugged me and told me I need to take control – no one else was going to do it for me. We talked about her recent medical scare and how stress affects the body.
Stress is defined as a process in which environmental demands strain an organism’s adaptive capacity resulting in both psychological demands, as well as biological changes that could place you at risk for illness. Emotional stress is a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. ‘source’ Stress was driving up my blood pressure and putting me at risk of more health issues.
According to the World Health Organization “Everyone can take five concrete steps to minimize the odds of developing high blood pressure and its adverse consequences.
- Healthy diet:
- promoting a healthy lifestyle with emphasis on proper nutrition for infants and young people;
- reducing salt intake to less than 5 g of salt per day (just under a teaspoon);
- eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day;
- reducing saturated and total fat intake.
- Avoiding harmful use of alcohol i.e. limit intake to no more than one standard drink a day
- Physical activity:
- regular physical activity and promotion of physical activity for children and young people (at least 30 minutes a day).
- maintaining a normal weight: every 5 kg of excess weight lost can reduce systolic blood pressure by 2 to 10 points.
- Stopping tobacco use and exposure to tobacco products
- Managing stress in healthy way such as through meditation, appropriate physical exercise, and positive social contact.” ‘source’
So, I did all of that. Well most of it; I still love wine way to much. I have spent way too much time, during my adult life, wearing exhaustion as a badge of honour. But since that trip to the hospital, I have made myself, my number one priority. It is a daily journey; and each day I have to make very conscious decisions on who I place first. I don’t always get it right. Some days I fall back into my old ways and I let shit that does not matter, bother me. And sometimes I let my adult kids be my number one priority. But most days….
I got this.
Here on The Brave Squirrel, I would like to share with you my first steps, in a more concrete manner. I rarely do anything half way. So when it comes to food, I have done a ton of research. I have landed on a whole foods plant based way of eating. I do not consider myself a vegan – veggie burgers at A&W and potato chips are vegan. I have cut out all animal product – no meat, no dairy, no cheese – you get it. I have cut out all oils – yes including the so called healthy oils, as well no nuts, no avocados. What does she eat, some of you may be asking?
I eat the most amazing food. I can eat whenever I want and I never consider the weight scales or the calories anymore. And yes I have lost weight – but that was not the goal. My relationship with food has changed in a manner that I never dreamed possible. Added bonus, menopause is under control. I am excited to develop new recipes and the challenge of creating something that tastes amazing and is guilt free is very rewarding. I am currently working on a 30 day grocery list and 30 days of plant based recipes for a friend. I would also like to create it in such a manner that I can share. But I want it to be community based. I want to get to know you and share in the journey.
ANY IDEAS on how we can share?