Until last year in February, when I started my healthy eating plan, I did not look at food labels. Instead I would go about picking up my shopping, looking at the front of the packet and if I liked what I seen, I would then pop it into my shopping basket.
If I did look a little deeper, then it was just do look at the ingredients, to rule anything out that I did not want to eat. That was it! I did not look at salt content, etc…
I am not on a diet
Now don’t get me wrong. This healthy eating I am doing is no way a diet. What I am doing, is a change for life and I care more about what I eat. I am not being to strict with myself, as I still have what I want, but in moderation. So sweets like chocolate and puddings, I only allow myself to have three times a week. Occasionally I had four sweets a week, but I now don’t do this.
The other change I have made is, I only mainly have Greek or natural yoghurt now, with sometimes Alpro plain yoghurt in between. When I have the Greek or natural style yoghurt, I have fruit mixed in with flaxseed and sometimes I will add sunflower seeds to it.
I also don’t drink alcohol anymore. It will be 2 years on 17th August, since I chose not to drink.
Before I changed the way I ate, I started off at 12 stone and as I write this, I am now 10½ stone.
My eating is much healthier than it has ever been, by making sure I do stick to having a cooked dinner that contains veg, even if I cannot be bothered to cook. I managed to mentally stick to this by creating a meal plan for the week. So on some down days I had, where I could not be bothered, by looking at that meal planner on my fridge every time I went into the kitchen, I was mentally telling myself, I am having that dinner. This worked for me.
This year, instead of having a meal planner on my fridge for the week, I now use a note pad to plan my weekly meals. I have it visible on my kitchen worktop, so it is still close to hand and visible.
I have always loved eating fruit, so having fruit in the home is no problem. But there is no point me buying sweet treats in advance, as I find I cannot resist. (With exception of chocolate wafers.
Some things are not healthy as they seem
While paying attention to the food I eat, I have learnt that there is some food that is not as healthy as it seems. Food I have had, like a particular brand of yogurt for example, that I won’t name here, had too much sugar.
Another food I had for dinner, which was a ready prepared Chinese meal, had too much salt. Not good for me, for someone who at one time took medication for high blood pressure.
Coming off my blood pressure medication
Back in April, last year, I went to see a Nurse at my doctors to discuss my healthy eating and blood pressure. I wanted to check that what I was doing, it was ok and to discuss my concerns, as I was 2 weeks into my healthy eating and I had a very bad dizzy spell. I had some before my healthy eating started, but none as bad as particular as on this occasion, which scared me.
Everything I was doing, turned out to be fine and she was impressed with my knowledge. (I am still learning.) But she did point out to me, that I could eat everything in moderation, when I talked about what yogurt I will only eating from now on. But I explained to her why I would only eat Greek, or natural style yogurt, which was because I did not want to have extra sugar than I really needed. Especially, if I will treat myself to a sweet now and again. Why have yogurt in a morning, that has more sugar than Greek, or natural yogurt, to then have that sugar loaded pudding treat later?
With all the notes added on my record, that we spoke about that day, along with my blood pressure check and looking at my own record keeping of blood pressure taken, this would then be passed along to my doctor to look at. The nurse would then inform me later, if my doctor wanted me on a lower dose of blood pressure medication. It turned out that I could come off them. So it was a lovely, unexpected surprise to hear, as I had been on them for years.
I was told it would take up to a month for my blood pressure medication to come out of my system. In the meantime, I was to carry on checking my blood pressure once a week and go to see the nurse, for her to check, as instructed for so many weeks. If it was 140 over 90, then I would have to go straight back to my doctors.
When I had my last check with the nurse, she advised me to see my doctor, to check he was still happy for me to be off my blood pressure medication. Which he was and to this day, I am still off my blood pressure medication. My doctor is happy for me to come and have my blood pressure taken once a year, when I go and see the nurse for my asthma review and I continue to take my own readings at home. But if there is to ever be any problems, then to go back.
So as well as me coming off my blood pressure medication and I am still off them as this post airs, the other benefits I have found:
- is not feeling tired as I was
- losing weight, as I mentioned earlier in this post
- my hair does not shed in clumps, when I wash or brush it
- and I feel mentally better.
It is true what they say, you are what you eat. A book I started reading and learning more from has also helped me. This book, I will share in a book review later.
I am still learning, as I have mentioned earlier in this post with regards to my healthy eating. But I am interested in what I have learnt so far.
The food I used to eat, but no more, due to high salt or sugar, has been a shock. But I have learnt I must read those labels so I do not get caught out again. If they are colour coded, it does make shopping easier and quicker. But if they don’t, I still look at the necessary information on the back of the tin or packet and work it out, using a guide I laminated.
Please note: If you are reading this and thinking of coming off your medication. Do not come off it without first seeing your doctor.
Your nurse is a good place for healthy eating advice, as well as the NHS website and Change4life. British Heart Foundation has helpful advice too. All the links are at the bottom of the page.