With out sounding smug, I wanted to post a simple recipe that I developed for myself to get off 10 years of taking medication for high blood pressure. Let me also note that I was on a third medication because it caused me to have acid reflux of the esophagus. Happily to report, that today I’ve been given one more month to become completely off all three medications.

First, let me make a disclaimer. I am not a physician, a dietitian, a therapist, a gastrointestinal physician, nor am I even a fitness trainer. I am someone that spends more time reading news about these topics and took responsibility for my own health and decided to change my life. I am merely telling a story from personal experience.

About ten years ago, I was diagnosed with level 3 hypertension. I was approximately 220lbs, 5’8″ and about 29 years old. I had no idea how to eat, nor did I understand what physical activity was. I was always the hefty child in school until my senior year when I weighed about 185lbs. For me, that was pretty decent body composition. With 30 approaching and starting a new chapter in my life, I learned that I either need to do something about my diet and exercise program, or begin to take medications.

For some reason, I chose the latter. Bad idea.

Working as a creative type, one must spend much of their time reading and researching for conceptual ‘art’ for clients. This causes one to eat poorly, get lack of sleep and more importantly, work more. A terrible way to try and stay alive. But there is a way you can prolong your miserable eating habits and poor physical activity– BigPharma!

Not understanding that eating well and moving more often can keep your aging body from becoming a pile of tissue suitable only for a coffin at an early age.

Could you imagine being dead at 55 because you wanted to eat lousy food and work a 60 hour a week career? Now that I have a family, this is much more important to stay alive as long as I can.

A year and a half ago, I decided to make a change. Here is a list of things I did to change my life.

1. Move more. Even as little as 2 generations before ours, we moved more. Roads and automobiles were pretty new and foot travel was widely used. Our careers keep us indoors, away from sunlight and in a chair for 10 hours a day. Since I am a designer by day, I discovered I was not walking as much and spending much of my time on my tush. I decided to add activity to my day. Walking more, climbing stairs, and playing more outdoors.

2. Eat less. Consuming more calories than you need can lead to stored body fat. Let me make one thing clear, I am speaking about a neolithic diet. One with lots of sugar and grains. Eating less food when you are just eating for comfort is what I basically mean. Now I stopped counting calories which leads me to my next rule.

3. Eat more. Eat more nutritive foods. Ever eat 3 bananas at once? How about one pint of blueberries in 10 minutes. It’s hard. It’s also hard to get lots of calories from real food. Processed foods are loaded with so much sugar and starches that 1 cup of rice or pasta has as many calories as 4 cups of blueberries; and has no nutritional value. Animal proteins seem to be an issue from a caloric perspective, but proteins and fat aren’t metabolized like sugars and starches so I don’t count calories when I eat a plate of bacon and eggs. It’s fuel.

4. Food is fuel. If you can get over that every meal does not have to be a birthday dinner or even Thanksgiving, you’ll stop obsessing about your next meal. I fuel for workouts every day. Popcorns, pretzels, even some nuts are nothing but habitual hand to mouth experiences and have no place in the lifestyle.

5. Ignore your doctor. Ok, I am kidding here, but my physician told me that my cholesterol was too high and I should begin a program of a statin. For me that was a wake up call. I was already on blood pressure medications and I was not about to add to the cause. Remember, when you take medication to help a condition there will be a side effect. If the side effect is not as serious as the condition, then great. But taking statins while on blood pressure medication simply means exhaustion. My heart was already compromised and now I was going to stop what my liver is supposed to do all because I decided to eat like crap and live a sedentary lifestyle? Yeah lifestyle. Those medications are prescribed for people with conditions, not for those who choose a lifestyle. High blood pressure can be a serious condition. There are needs for these medications, but unless you are fit and eating per my suggestions, you are simply choosing to correct a condition with medication. Again, I am not a MD, but my cardiologist told me at 29 years of age with a “normal” heart that lifestyle would NOT correct my high blood pressure. I am 10 years older today and I am off my medication. Coincidence? No, lifestyle adjustment.

6. Take responsibility for your own health. Tossing your self to another person will get you nowhere. You are the only person who knows ‘you’ and what better judge on what is making you alive is you.

7. Stop eating things that aren’t meant to be eaten. Without giving you years of research, we’ve only been consuming refined sugars, grass seeds (grain), and legumes for 1% of our existence on this planet. In the last 10,000 years we’ve become fatter and sicker and it is from the foods we eat. We aren’t dieing of disease like plagues and trauma anymore. Therefore we should live far longer than ever in our existence and we are only averaging at 74 for men. We should be doing much better. Especially since kids are seeing adult diseases because of how they eat. It’s sad.

8. Laugh more. I keep telling myself that if I can laugh a few times a day, my heart will thank me and my family will love me. So far this has been true. I now have a son because of it.


— Daniel Merk

POSTED BY Daniel Merk | 03:15pm 9th-Jul, 2010