Several months ago, before I decided to get the coronavirus vaccination shot, I made a decision to visit my doctor to find out what’s going on inside my body before I get the shot. To do so I requested blood work because I wanted to know if I’m in good shape or do I need to address some underlying health issues unbeknownst to me. To be exact, I needed to know do I have high cholesterol, sugar diabetes, any signs of cancer cells creeping in and what is my blood pressure reading? Am I healthy or borderline unhealthy? Having this information was vital because it would put me in a position to make an educated decision regarding the coronavirus vaccination shot. Well come to find out I did have high blood pressure that required taking a low dosage of losartan potassium. I was shocked because I call myself a healthy eater of fruits, vegetables, lean turkey, grilled chicken along with drinking lots of water daily. Of course every now and then, I would eat pizza, tacos, fried chicken, burgers, fries and drink ice cold water with every meal. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Too much inflammatory food was in my system. Recognizing this problem, I began to look into the food I need to eat in order to bring my blood pressure down along with exercise and rest. The changes I wanted to see within myself forced me to think, and keep trying to eat better and exercise daily. Eventually I reached my goal of having my blood pressure lowered from a high 180 over 90 down to 135 over 80 consistently. However, let me tell you, this was no easy task. I had to put on my Practice U thinking cap every day and sacrifice the desire for inflammatory food for a better choice of anti-inflammatory food. It all started with me going to the grocery store reading the labels. Allow me to explain.
The Grocery Store Nutrition Facts Labels
As a result of reading the nutrition facts label that started in 1994, updated in 2016 and again on January 1, 2020, this was the beginning of addressing my high blood pressure concerns. Each can good, packaged meat, boxed, and bagged product, was a lesson within itself that empowered me to make the best choice. Starting at the top of the label with the number of calories and scrolling down to the percentages of saturated fat, trans-fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar is what led to me to clearly see and understand the amount of inflammatory ingredients there is in our food. Learning how saturated fat and trans-fat are 2 ingredients that can lead to high cholesterol meaning my arteries are clogging up with a waxy type of substance that will eventually prevent my blood from flowing freely is something I needed to pay attention to. Such food purchases as microwave popcorn, butter, pie crusts, ice cream, cake, crackers, candy and cookies, pretty much the same stuff we see at the movie concession stands are the types of food filled with saturated fat and trans-fat that leads to high cholesterol. Most of us are well aware of other food filled with saturated fat and trans fat that leads to high cholesterol such as fried chicken, pizza, French fries, chili-cheese fries, but not the store grocery store items on the shelf?
The American Heart Association and other groups recommend healthy adults should limit their saturated fat intake to no more than 10% of total calories. For a person eating a 2000 calorie diet, this would be 22 grams of saturated fat or less per day. Equally damaging is the ingredient, sodium or salt. Taking notes from the Food and Drug Administration study, they state “Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. Consequently, they recommend we monitor and limit our sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day—that's equal to about 1 teaspoon of table salt! I say, instead of going up to the full 2300mg, why not consider a low dose of 575mg sodium which would be about one-fourth teaspoon.
Next on the nutrition facts label is sugar percentages. Based upon what the American Heart Association, guidelines, we should not consume “more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar) for most women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men.” In a nutshell when we consume too much inflammatory food, we endanger our health. We find this to be true especially at the fast-food mom and pop eateries and big corporate fast-food chains.
Inflammatory Food in the Fast-Food Chains
The fast-food industry gets our attention through countless commercial ads from TV and digital billboards on the streets and highways to our cell phones and other devices including radio advertisements. They’re everywhere and constantly inviting us to come on in and spend money. Unlike the grocery store labels, we have no idea how much saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, or sugar is in their burgers, fries, sodas, pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken wings, sauce, ketchup, soup, and deserts. We just know it taste good eating their food. Eating their food can become an addiction and eventually our problem, not theirs. In exchange for us giving them our money for their food, we gradually get the unwanted diseases and illnesses we didn’t sign up for. What started out as a celebration on every Friday night, Saturday outing and Sunday dinner after church slowly became a reality check at the doctor’s office. To bring our numbers under control we have no choice but to spend extra money for medication. To recover will take a great deal of self-discipline and putting back on my Practice U thinking cap. This is also a time in our life where we begin to think about the benefits of self care, clean nutrition and fitness.
Clean Nutrition and Home Cooking is the Anti-inflammatory Solution
Clean nutrition starts at home in the kitchen with a cook who knows about how to put food together the right way. The cook knows what ingredients to use and not use. He or she measures out how much sodium and sugar will go into the food. They control how much meat we eat, and how much fruits, vegetables, we put on our plate. They look for the best seasoning and herbs such as Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning. And gradually we learn how clean nutrition doesn’t lead us to heart disease, high cholesterol, sugar diabetes and other underlying diseases. As a matter of fact, what clean nutrition does is position our mind and body to work for us. Our hair and skin is healthier. Our teeth and eyes are healthy. We have a chance to live longer and more importantly, we have a chance to impact the lives of those who look up to us. We get a chance to teach our kids, relatives and friends the benefits of clean nutrition by being an example.
I must admit, having that conversation with my doctor was a catalyst to set me on the right course to address my health issues and prepping me for getting the Covid vaccination shot with confidence. Like anything else in life, there’s taught sense and bought sense. We pay for the decisions we make. Unfortunately, it’s only real when it happens to us and our body. If we want to live beyond 100 years of life, we have to practice a healthy lifestyle filled with clean nutrition, consistent exercising, and rest. That way we can become an example to our kids, grandkids, and hopefully great grandkids. Tell us what you think on Facebook.