blame it on bacon

by KalaLea on October 27, 2013 • Posted in News Practicing Awareness Preventative Health Care The Act of Eating

My appetite has been insatiable. I’ve been eating everything including the most incredible avocado BLT sandwich for lunch nearly two weeks ago. Yes people! I ate pork bacon and relished every bite.  But then I had a check-up Friday afternoon and my blood pressure was pretty elevated. We could blame it on the bacon but let’s not. It was as if somebody slapped me in the face. I left the doctor’s office feeling certain the results had everything to do with me not exercising this season and my “eating out” nearly three times a day, almost daily. In addition, I’m not cooking which means I have little control over my sodium intake. I’ve been feeling out of control and my body is sending “pull it together” signals yet the cravings can be over-powering and the food is soooo damn good in New York.

So this past week, I cooked three times with the exception of last night. I had dinner plans and totally indulged. I had a yummy beef burger with sharp cheddar cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and fries then I ordered the flour-less chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream. NO SHE DIDN’T!!

Yes, I did!! But now I’m paying for it…so much mucous and congestion. Moving along …

On Friday, my co-worker came into my office to say “Good morning!” I perked up then yelled, “Happy Friday Dude!” We made office small talk then he complained that he hardly slept the night before. In usual WDIET fashion, I began to question him:

What did you eat last night?
or Drink?
Are you worried about something?
How comfortable is your bed?

He watched the game last night; he couldn’t remember what he ate but he had three sodas…


To me, this is a no brainer:

3 Cokes = Lots of caffeine and sugar = Very little sleep

Then he retracted and said, but they were diet sodas.
OH MY GOSH!! Insert “Diet” before Coke and the result is the same, even worse.

The words couldn’t come out fast enough:

No wonder you couldn’t sleep. That’s a lot of soda in one sitting, and diet soda at that. With every gulp you are dehydrating your beautiful self. And, IF you’re going to drink soda at all … please drink the regular stuff. Aspartame is not cool. Google it.

He was like, “AWW MAAAANNNN! Okay, okay, this weekend I will not drink ANY soda.”

I smiled and responded, THANK YOU!!

He bowed his head then disappeared.

It’s not easy being the “healthy one” at work. I know he is so over me but I feel like he’s open so I share what I know little by little and let him do the rest.

I look forward to seeing how it went tomorrow.

By internet search standards, my co-worker is dealing with 7 of the “at risk for hypertension” factors on the list below:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

We had been discussing health and our families lately which is why I know these things.
And I know he doesn’t like exercise because he refuses to take the stairs when we have meetings.
Though I’m not sure if he drinks or smokes on a daily basis.

He and I are two different people, with extremely different lifestyles and body types but we are potentially dealing with the same issue: High blood pressure or hypertension.

Hypertension runs in my family … at least the family members who share a similar lifestyle. My mother and father were both diagnosed before they turned 40. When most people speak of future goals, they are referring to career, creative projects, or personal desires. For me, it’s often been about staying healthy and being happy because I used to be afraid of dying young. Although my family is cool, fun, talented, and smart, they rarely discussed diet with us or what it means to be healthy. I spent ten years un-learning poor lifestyle habits and another ten years educating myself about the importance of :

  • Drinking water (LOTS!)
  • Eating balanced meals
  • Managing adversity (thereby stress levels)
  • Practicing deep breathing
  • Exercising (doing some amount of physical activity 3x weekly)
  • Loving myself (and what this means fore me)
  • Being in tune with my body and nature’s way
  • Being aware of how the body reacts to certain foods or lifestyle changes
  • Basking in the glory of the magnificent sun

While researching various sites including youtube, I was not surprised to find that nearly 11 million people viewed the infamous MC Twerking VMA video yet the highest views related to managing blood pressure was a mere 200,000. Our priorities are skewed and misguided but there’s hope.

In several blogs where people write about their near death experiences or the first time they had a heart attack or stroke, there’s a common sentiment:

…It took something like this for me to pay better attention to my health…

High blood pressure can lead to hospitalization or death. The road to recovery can be much more challenging than walking for 20 minutes each day. As my dear friend Joel reminds me, WE ARE THE CO-CREATORS of OUR LIVES. Praying, wishing, and thinking about changing is not enough. Be in action.

A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic). The ranges are:

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Pre-hypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above

People whose blood pressure is above the normal range should consult their doctor about steps to take to lower it.

For additional information, check out these sites:

Deepak Chopra – Hypertension: A Lifestyle Disorder That Needs A Lifetime of Attention
(more technical overview of blood pressure)

 Natural Ayurvedic Home Remedies
(great explanation of how blood pressure works, causes and symptoms of high blood pressure)

How to Lower Blood Pressure Using Ginger Tea
(you do not need to grate the ginger, just wash, poke holes in it the root in various places, then place in a sauce pan full of water and bring to a boil

Wishing you a wonderful productive week!
Lala aka Kala

(p.s. this post is super long … so only a few photos that make me smile)

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