So about 3 years ago, I decided to cut out red meat from my diet. It worked, until I had a hamburger for the first time in awhile, and it went downhill from that point. What can I say, but I love meat! I also tried to go vegan/vegetarian during that period as well, but just like most of you carnivores out there, I didn’t think the diet was for me. Things have changed.
For 4 years now I’ve struggled with high BP. It’s been moderately high, high, and off the charts. It has never been low enough to be considered good or normal. All this time I’ve refused to take meds because I’ve seen my BP go up and down from different diet and exercise tweaks. The tweaks weren’t enough. Two months ago, I got bitten by a dog which resulted in having to get shots and antibiotics. That day at the hospital my BP was so high, they would not let me leave without receiving a BP prescription. After a few days my BP lowered tremendously! After all this time I felt I should have gone on BP meds a long time ago. I was just anti-medication for no specific good reason. Then one week passed.
On that 7th day of the BP meds and antibiotics, I ate a banana at 5:30am and went to work out as usual. By 7am I started to get seriously dizzy. By 8am I couldn’t stand or walk because I was so off balance. I tried to eat, and vomited. Tried to drink water, and vomited. Nothing stayed down. The vomiting never stopped. I vomited from 8am to 4pm. The dizziness was so bad, not only could I not walk, I couldn’t open my eyes. So by 5pm I was back in the hospital. Saw the same doctors from the dog bite.
They said I was having a severe episode of vertigo, and was also severely dehydrated. This was all possibly brought on by an allergic reaction to the antibiotics or the BP meds. Funny thing is though, they didn’t know for sure. Really? You don’t know what’s wrong with me? Aren’t you guys doctors? They said I could stop taking the antibiotics but not the BP meds. They told me to wait until the vertigo went away to start the meds again. So I did. It took about 4 days for it to go away but when I started the meds again, the dizziness came back randomly. Not as severe, but it definitely didn’t allow me to function normally.
I will say that while I was on the BP meds, my numbers were the lowest I’ve ever seen them in 4 years. But with the obvious side effect of being randomly dizzy, it was difficult to function normally some days, let alone go to work. Since the doctor never told me what was causing the vertigo I spoke to several sources and found info about dizziness being a side effect for some people on BP meds. I’m not sure why the doctors didn’t mention that when they gave me the medicine in the first place.
Among the many people that I told about my latest struggle, I ran into one particular young lady to whom I related the story. She said, without hesitation, that I needed to stop eating red meat. She described all of the benefits and how incredible this diet was for not only her and her family, but some her friends and colleagues as well. She told me to watch a documentary called “What the Health”, and I did. This is where it gets interesting.
So I’m not going to get into the content of this documentary because like most similar documentaries, the substance is very controversial. I actually have reservations about some of the content, however I do agree with most of it. But if you’re curious to know why at age 46 I’ve decided to change to a plant based diet, just watch it and I’m sure you’ll understand.
I watched it almost 3 weeks ago on a Saturday, and that Sunday was when a started my plant based diet. I’m calling it my plant based diet because I’m not going to realistically be completely vegan or vegetarian the rest of my life. But eating a 90% plant based diet is definitely doable for the rest of my life I think. Also just so you all know, I researched several sources on plant based diets before I started. I just used the documentary as a catalyst.
So for the last 3 weeks on this plant based diet, I’ve basically had no meat besides salmon on 3 separate occasions, and no dairy other than 2 eggs. As I stated before, realistically, I will continue to eat fish and seafood on occasion. I’ve eaten a ton of greens, fruits, whole grains, lentils, nuts, rice, potatoes, beans, pasta and even tofu for the first time ever. There hasn’t been any need for concern about my calorie consumption at all. I’ve been eating something about every 2.5 hours or so, and let me assure you that I’ve been eating alot of food. Along with new foods, I’ve also tried new recipes and there hasn’t been anything that I’ve haven’t liked yet. Now let’s talk about what happened.
THE GOOD: In just under 3 weeks, my BP is down significantly, not down to normal, but down without meds. I dropped 11 pounds with no increased activity, particularly noticeable from my waist. I’ve had no inflammation or pain since the day I started. My summer allergies are nonexistent, and I work outside about 5 days a week, not including playtime with the kids. My strength training workouts seem easier to get through. My headaches were easily twice a week before, I’ve had 1 in 3 weeks. Overall I simply just feel better. I also noticed that you save money on groceries when you don’t buy any meat or dairy. Try it if you don’t believe me.
THE BAD: The only thing, and I repeat, the only thing seemingly bad about this diet is the fatigue. I’ve found myself just randomly tired in between meals. This is scientifically due to the lack of B12 and iron that you normally would get from meat. Plant based diets seem to give you instant energy, unlike the reserve energy you get from meats. I think also it was more that my body had to get used to the huge transition. I learned to eat more frequently and have some caffeine some days to combat that. Now it’s fine.
This may all sound like a lot. But it really isn’t. This is simply about quality life and longevity. I personally have chosen this to battle my high BP, which we all know as the silent killer. High BP is a major contributor to heart disease which is still the number one cause of death world wide. So there you have it.
I will continue on my plant based journey and post more in the months to come. If you’re struggling with high BP, your weight, diabetes, joint pain, high cholesterol, or any other unhealthy factor, I strongly encourage you to try the plant based diet for at least 30 days. If you see any changes, I urge you to stick with it. If your body changes in 30 days, just imagine what the rest of your life could be like.