Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dear Nurse Annie,

My blood pressure is up. My doctor wants me to take pills. I mean it was really, really high.

My wife says we can lower our blood pressure by eating better.

Annie, this really scared me. What can I possibly do?

I work all day driving my van starting at 4 am. The stress is awful. I pop in cheap places and eat crap.

What can I really do?

Scared Sam.

Dear Sam,

Sam I hear you.  Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Let yourself relax and ease off worrying.

There is a lot you can do to feel better. First, of all promise me you will take the pills until your doctor agrees that you can safely stop or reduce them. Your wife is right, you can eat better and your blood pressure will get better. 

1.       At sunrise, take a break with a little relaxing walk. 20 minutes is good. But don’t worry if it is less or more.

2.       Make good solid changes very slowly. Make a good decision and implement it over weeks. In 3 weeks you’ll have a new habit.

3.       Drink some water. Actually, drink a lot of water.  No.  Coffee, tea, beer, fruit juice don’t count as water. (But hey, juice is better than nothing.)

4.       Hide the salt and preserved foods.

5.       Have a little fun. Instead of driving though a fast food line for French fries, Stop in a healthy deli. Try something you have never tried before. IF you like it do it again. When you drive by a fresh fruit stand or farmers market pick up a little something you like or don’t usually eat. You can keep water in the van for washing fresh food. Enjoy fresh locally grown fruits and veggies. 

6.       When you try a new food just buy a little bit, one red pepper is OK if you have never eaten one.  Then take a little taste. You don’t even have to swallow it. Just taste it every day for a while. Maybe you will add it to your diet maybe you won’t. Try it again in a month or a year. You will like it better. Just have fun.

Sam, Let me know how things go for you next week.  

Nurse Annie.

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