Health Matters

Monica asked where I figured out how to drop my blood pressure from 160/100 to normal in just a few weeks, and others have expressed interest, too. Comments have also addressed the issues of weight and Type II (or Adult Onset) diabetes.

I’d love to be able to claim credit for figuring out how to get healthy on my own, but in fact, having been forged and tempered in the crucible of traditional medicine, I was as much of a nay-sayer as the rest of the medical establishment. I believed the origins of Type II diabetes and primary high blood pressure were “idiopathic,” (which is the medical establishment’s baffle-’em-with-bullshit word for “we don’t know what we’re talking about”).

About seven years ago, Matt found a book by a guy named Anthony Robbins (yes, he of the bad hair and infomercials), and read it, and tried to convince me to read it. It was about losing weight and getting healthy. I wasn’t having any. He did talk me into buying a program Robbins did called “The Body You Deserve.” I still thought it was bullshit, but I’d been on other stupid diets to lose weight, I was post-partum, and I had a lot of weight to lose. So, scoffing, I went ahead and ordered.

Within six weeks of starting the program, Matt had lost seventy pounds and I’d lost about fifty. I lost sixty overall, and both of us saw our cholesterol levels drop from the 200s to considerably less than our ages plus 100. My resting pulse went from high-eighties, low-nineties to the mid-fifties, low-sixties. My blood pressure was steady at 90/60. I looked great, I felt great.

(Then I had two miscarriages, and used depression and grief as excuses to eat crap, and to gain back everything I’d lost. It’s taken me this long, and a health-related gun to my head, to stop making excuses.)

The problem with the Robbins program is that it’s damned expensive. You can learn the same info (though without Robbins’ admittedly very good motivational techniques) by reading three books. The first is The China Study, the second is Fit For Life, and the third is Juiceman’s Power of Juicing.

The first is for the science behind eliminating milk and meat for health reasons, and why, in doing so, you don’t have to worry about getting enough calcium. It will also tell you what your current diet is doing to your body, and what changing your diet will do to your body, and back both up with massive studies conducted across thousands of villages in China (and with other corollary studies). The second tells you how to get quick and lasting results by eating without milk or meat, and includes such useful information as what foods to buy, how to find them, and some recipes. (The recipes are a life-saver.) And the third is about juicing, which you may or may not want to get into, but which I recommend with lunatic fervor.

DISCLAIMER: I cannot claim that these programs will work for everyone as well as they have for me, my family, and my friends. I can prove my results and I stand by them fully. However, your results will vary based on the choices you make, how well you follow directions, how willing you are to change the foods you eat, and on underlying health problems, either known or unknown, that you may suffer from. Due to the litigious nature of society, I also have to state that you assume full responsibility for any changes you make in your diet, whether for better or for worse, and for the outcomes you receive as a result of making either better or worse choices. Such disclaimers suck, I hate them, but the world is not a friendly place, and I am not a fool.

If you decide to get healthy, let me know how it goes for you. I’ll be cheering for you.

Blank Blood Pressure ChartOh. I scoured the internet trying to find a printable blood pressure chart on which to graph my blood pressures. I found nothing. I ended up making one for myself. If you need a chart sheet for blood pressures and want to copy mine off and print it for your own use, click through the link, save the full-sized JPG to your hard drive, and print off copies whenever you need them.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

5 comments… add one
  • hollylisle Jun 8, 2006 @ 9:27

    Shelbi — I’m so delighted I could offer something you could use. Good luck with it.

  • shelbi Jun 7, 2006 @ 15:44

    Thanks, Holly. This is an old post by now, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to stop buying meat from the store, and dairy products are out, too.

    We’ll probably eat what we have now, but from here on out, I’ll be shopping differently.

    I followed your link and stumbled upon the PETA site [which uses way too much emotionally manipulative language, but I know the facts behind what they say are mostly true].

    My husband worked at a pork processing plant, and a friend of mine worked at a chicken plant, so I know first hand that what PETA says is true about those places.

    I had no idea how cows and chickens were treated on the farms though. I grew up on a [very small] dairy farm that also had chickens, and the animals were always treated humanely, never injected with hormones, and precautions were always taken to make sure antibiotics weren’t put into the milk supply.

    Most of my dad’s cows lived well over 15 years, some close to 20 before dad sold them, and when I read that most milk cows only live four years on the big farms, I was horrified.

    I don’t have a problem with people eating animals for food, but I definitely have a problem with inhumane killing, neglect, and abuse. Not to mention the hormones and chemicals I’ve been feeding my kids.

    For me, this is one of those deals where now that I know about it, I can’t un-know it, and I can’t ignore it anymore.

    So anyway, that was a really long way to say thanks for giving me the final push I needed.

    Take care,
    Shelbi

  • hollylisle Jun 5, 2006 @ 11:34

    Where to find the money to eat vegan, or at least no-milk, low-meat?

    We eat a LOT of bean dishes (canned black beans mostly), a lot of rice (big bags of Jasmine rice because it tastes and smells wonderful, and only costs a little more than yuck short-grain rice), a lot of pasta and tomato-sauce stuff. Bagged frozen veggies over rice. We have fruit in the mornings, mostly apples and bananas, sometimes a canteloupe, oranges when the price isn’t outrageous. Salads with tomatos, but nothing fancy. Fresh veggies when they’re cheap. (HINT: If you can’t buy it at Wal-Mart, we don’t eat it, because everyplace else is too expensive.) We did a garden last year, but this year I wasn’t feeling good enough to put one in.

    As for wild game, I wouldn’t give that up if I could get my hands on it. Wild game isn’t full of the hormone injections and other crap you find in commercial meat, it’s much lower in fat content, and it’s damned tasty. Kudos on the hunting husband. Throughout my childhood, we got a heavy percentage of the meat on our table from my dad hunting and fishing, and for exactly the same reason. I know where you’re coming from.

    If you’re looking for one big change to make, look at milk and milk products (ice cream, cheese, and whey). Milk, especially pasteurized milk, is the most dangerous thing in most folks’ diets.

  • shelbi Jun 5, 2006 @ 11:08

    I’ve been sideswiped with high blood pressure just in the past month. I was having headaches and dizziness, and decided to check it. 139/96. Ick.

    I had just started back on birth control, so I stopped that, but it’s still high a month later. It may yet go down on its own, but I know I need to change my diet [as well as the diet of my family, we’ve been horrible about junk food, and we’re all paying the price].

    My main concern with going vegetarian is that I’m hypoglycemic and I get sick [and chronically hungry] when I try to stop eating meat and cheese.

    There’s also the expense factor. We can get meat free [husband hunts] plus milk, eggs, and cheese through WIC free, but fruits and veggies cost a lot. Not to mention the cost of tofu.

    You’ve mentioned that money is an issue at your house, too, so any insights you might have in this area would be helpful.

    Thanks for posting this, I don’t think it’s an accident that you’re doing something very similar to what I’ve been thinking about for a long time. You’ve given me more to think about [and maybe the determination to do more than think] so thanks again.

  • valerie Jun 3, 2006 @ 23:55

    Interesting to hear how your health journey is going. I just posted about my own: http://invalslittleworld.blogspot.com/2006/06/on-weight-loss-and-health.html

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