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04 April 2006 @ 04:21 am
The Silent Killer  
I know there really are people who do live on fast food, junk food, never eat veggies, and generally think they can get away with it. I see them on the show "Wife Swap" where I stare in disbelief, and in fact my own family was almost that bad.

I was reading the personal blog of the woman responsible for the Vegan Lunch Box I recently posted about, and she talks about her husband getting a check up for blood pressure and getting a high reading. He intended to disregard this and go on with his unhealthy diet. (Yes, even married to a vegan educated about healthy eating. Go figure.)

Some of the people commenting on this entry also echoed this reasoning. They said things like, "So it adds a year or ten to your life, but you could get hit by a car anyway. Why not enjoy life." (A composite of that type of answer.)

Others responded that quality of life is why they eat healthy food! They feel much better and can enjoy life more.

It's sad we have this all-or-nothing approach to this issue. Can it really hurt to limit fast food to once or twice a week? Will we die if we don't have sweets and fried foods every single day? Can't we make an effort to eat the few veggies we like or add some fruit to our diet? Switch to olive oil and reduce butter? Exercise even a little more?

I met a woman once who had a stroke in her late thirties. She was bitter and angry that no one told her that because she had high blood pressure, she was risking stroke if she didn't treat it. She was in a wheelchair, paralyzed on her left side, and fully dependent upon people to help her shower, cook, clean, and live in her own apartment. What she would give to do something about that when she still could have.

High blood pressure can KILL you. It's hard to enjoy a big mac from the grave.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/QZ00033

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2153

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbp/HBP_WhatIs.html

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America (as well as chronic disease limiting quality of life before death) and high blood pressure is always the precursor or early warning sign. Control your blood pressure and even if you still develop heart disease you may increase the number of years before intervention is needed and improve your quality of life.

Don't be fooled into thinking thin people don't have high blood pressure or need to have it checked. Not true! Thin people die of heart disease too and get high blood pressure. They call it the silent killer for a reason--people don't know they have it until it's too late. Get checked regularly.
 
 
 
Angie: Rylee: Rawr!xtremeroswellia on April 4th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC)
I'll admit, I live on junky food and fast food more than I should, and I do have a history of high blood pressure (though I take meds for it). My main problem is chocolate. I'm really addicted. And I'm not a big fan of many veggies--unless they're out of the garden. The only one I really like is corn and it has no nutritional value. Any thoughts/suggestions?
Tapatitapati on April 5th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC)
Dark chocolate, in moderation, is good for your heart health. Try a couple of good Dove dark chocolate squares per day. Make that your treat in the evening for eating well during the day!

I wouldn't like many vegetables if I ate them plain. But I became accustomed to ethnic cooking like Indian, Mexican, Italian--and they make vegetables appealing by mixing them together in various ways and adding spices or citrus or healthy sauces. Look at some vegetarian cookbooks for those cuisines. Moosewood has a good cookbook about cooking light, and the recipes are yummy.

You can also take your favorite pasta dishes and add in some veggies cut up into small pieces. A painless way to sneak them in.

Like sweet breads? If you must have sweets, try carrot bread or zucchini bread.

If you don't like veggies but do like fruits, make them three of your servings per day and veggies the other two. Like carrot juice? Make that one of your veggie servings.

Make sure you use whole grains as much as possible and limit the white flour products in your life. Hitting your system with too much starch at once is one way to up your triglycerides, a factor in heart disease. Complex carbs digest more slowly, give you longer lasting energy and when you get used to them, taste better. Wonder bread is tasteless to me. :)

I was raised on a pretty unhealthy midwestern diet. Your taste buds can be re-trained. Also, when I lived in the midwest vegetables were always cooked into an unappetizing mush. No wonder we hated them! If you cook them yourself, make sure they are still a little firm and they will probably taste better to you and have more vitamins left.

If you don't like them cooked, how about raw? I love red bell pepper strips and they have a lot of good vitamins. Or cook red bell peppers with corn--that's a good combination.

Good luck! You are at an age when you can still head some of this off and keep a lot of plaque out of your arteries. You'll be much healthier when you're my age if you do. :)
Angiextremeroswellia on April 5th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you for the advice...and being from (and living IN the midwest now) myself I know exactly what you're talking about. I stopped eating white bread a couple years ago when I read somewhere that eating wheat bread helped calm anxiety. I will definitely be taking you up on some of your suggestions. :) <3 Thanks!