my open book
my dash diet experience
This summer, close to end of June, I started a diet known as the dash diet. It is #1 diet on the country for heart health, and later became #1 as a beneficial diet for diabetes and even #1 for overall health. I know what everyone is thinking when first reading this. Your probably saying, I have tried many diets, they did hardly anything for me, and they are difficult to stick to. You also may say, it's not giving me the quick weight loss I'd like. Though listen to my story before you underestimate the power of this diet, and how easy it is to stick to it. Around the middle of July, my dad was on a trip to the Grand Canyon to attend classes for his Doctoral program. He is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership. Well, he suddenly felt his body orientation change, and he felt so ill, that he checked himself into the hospital. Instead of attending his classes, he had to seek emergency medical care and take an early flight back home. As it turns out, his blood pressure was reaching levels too high, and my dad was feeling too disoriented and weak to function. My dad has been having this problem quite some time, and has been on blood pressure medicine for a few years. So a few weeks after this incident, my dad decided to research some new health ideas. He then came across a book titled the Dash diet. My dad read the entire book, and was then convinced that we should all give the diet a try. It was more than just a diet in our minds. We all consider it a lifestyle change. Here are some of the basic concepts of it, and then I'll discuss how my family went about following it, and what the benefits/outcome was. The dash diet consist of the following main components. Eating foods with low sodium, low sugar, low fat, and no preservatives. The book discusses all about the harmful side effects of preservatives and how when we eat food, it should be as natural as possible. Some examples of natural ways to eat, are cutting up real tomatoes for tomato sauce instead of buying canned tomato sauce, or cooking your food from scratch. The other things the diet targets is avoiding as many processed foods as possible, since those are the foods with the preservatives. The last major factor is adding salt to foods. Salt is said to be one of the worst things to consume so much of. As part of this diet, there is a seasoning called Mr. Dash that combines many different seasonings, though excluding salt. Lastly when you eat bread, it should be 100% whole grain/wheat and you should eat brown rice instead of white rice. You should also have many vegetables/fruits and only about 1-2 servings of meat a day. And when buying deli cut sandwich meat, you should request low sodium, and no salt added meats. Many of you may be thinking while reading this, that it sounds great, but how will I have time to cook natural everyday? As Americans, we love convenient, and fast cooked meals. It is more compatible to our everyday busy work/family/school schedules. Though take a listen and thought to how my family has made this work. We purchased what is known as a pressure cooker. This cooking system speeds up the process of cooking food tremendously. A roast that normally takes 2 or 3 hours to bake in an oven, takes 25 min in our pressure cooker. This has made this diet easily fit into our schedules. Everyday we find new health recipes and even recipes for a pressure cooker. Anytime the recipes calls for salt, we put Mr. Dash seasoning instead. We also cook a few sides to make the meal well rounded so that we take in our daily nutrition. My mom even goes as far as buying as many gluten free things to cook with as possible to help with her glucose intolerance. Within a matter of a day, my dad noticed that his blood pressure started slowly dropping back to normal levels. It even started maintaining at lower levels, and my dad was able to get his doctor to lower his medication. My dad said that he did not feel all the same uneasy feelings as before. Also everyone in my family has been losing a tremendous amount of weight and my moms diabetic issues started improving as well. My mom has difficulties with walking on staircases and other elevated platforms, and even that has slowly started going away for my mom. And for me, I lost 20 pounds. I weighed 150 at the beginning of starting this diet, and now 4 to 5 weeks later, I have lost 10% or more of my body weight. The rest of my family has lost about the same amount of weight. And none of us are losing from cutting out food groups or refusing to eat meals. That is why I call this a lifestyle change. A diet such as being a vegetarian, would tell you to just eat vegetables and as little diary products as possible, and would list all the things you should never eat. Whereas on the dash diet, there is nothing that you cannot eat. You just cannot eat that particular food if it is processed or contains preservatives. Therefore, every food group is allowed on the diet. The book even goes on to discuss that it is okay to have cheat days where you have ice cream or cookies. When we carefully read the labels at the store and pick out foods low in sodium, sugar, and fat, it truly goes a long way in how we look, and feel. I encourage anyone who is reading this, to take a look at the book about the dash diet, and really give it a try. If you know someone in your family that could not possibly live without adding salt to food, let them add it themselves at the dinner table. Do not cook it in the pot. Its these small changes that make the greatest impact on our health. Here's some of the science behind it. It is said that these preservatives have a difficult time breaking down in our bodies, and that it passes through our digestive system so quickly, that our body does not have enough time to absorb the nutrients that keeps our bodies functioning. And what I have read about the differences between whole grain and white bread, is that when the sugar is added, it kills most of the nutrients that the bread naturally already contains. So this is the most I am going to lecture about this diet/LIFESTYLE CHANGE :) Feel free to tell me your opinion of what I discussed today and if there is anything else you'd like to know about it.
Also write about your experiences with the dash diet if you have tried it, or if you have tried something else that might be just as good or even better :) I always love being aware of healthy and nutritious ways of living and eating :)
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