Diet is a 4-Letter Word

1 Feb

Let's talk diet here. And I don't mean "diet" as in starving yourself to lose weight (I've done that enough times in my life!). A diet that falls in that category truly is a 4-letter word. 

I'm talking about this Hypertension Quick Start Diet. This is a combination of foods that, when eaten for 1 to 6 weeks, has been proven successful in returning high blood pressure to normal (or so the book says). Once normal blood pressure is achieved, you begin adding in other healthy food choices such as whole grains, lean fish and poultry, nuts, beans and low-fat dairy.
So today marks the first day of Week 3 for me on this diet. And I'm really proud of myself, if I may say so! I started on January 18 with BP of about 170/120. YIKES, I know! During Week 1, I did REALLY well. You can only eat brown rice, fruits and vegetables. And that's what I did. I ate brown rice topped with fruit for breakfast every day, some kind of homemade soup with vegetables in it (see my favorite recipe below) for lunch, and steamed veggies over rice for dinner. I drank only decaf herbal tea or water. My BP started slowly coming down. 
Week 2 was a little harder because my parents were visiting from North Carolina and we had various family gatherings to attend. I did the best I could, though, eating just salads and vegetables at the get-togethers. Probably the only non-Quick Start things I ate were some pecans and olive oil on a salad. (I actually skipped the lasagna at a gathering of the Italian side of my family!) Since olive oil is so "heart smart," I've decided to permanently add it back in. It really is hard to cook anything exciting without oil of some kind.
Well, on Saturday morning I actually got a BP reading of 148/96. YAY! It's working! I celebrated Saturday night by making several new vegan recipes I found on — stuffed mushrooms and a roasted red pepper/olive tapenade. And I splurged by enjoying some seasoned (no salt) black beans on 100% whole grain Wasa crackers, topped with homemade guacamole. I was in heaven. Jason wasn't complaining, either, about having yummy snacks by the fire!
But today is Monday and it's back to business: Quick Start Diet with no changes except the addition of a little olive oil to roast or stir fry my veggies in. After I pick the kids up from school, I'll be whipping up another batch of my own Vegetable Chili. It's been my saving grace on the Quick Start because it tastes like the real deal. Here's the recipe…

VEGETABLE CHILI (pictured above in my header bar)
1/2# mushrooms, 1/4" dice
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup zucchini, 1/4" dice 
1/2 cup yellow squash, 1/4" dice 
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
14 oz can diced tomatoes, no added salt
8 oz can of tomato sauce, no added salt
3/4 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon NuSalt (salt substitute)
1/2 to 1 cup water (use only if chili is too thick for your tastes)
In large stockpot over medium heat, stir together the mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, green pepper, onion and celery. Stir constantly for several minutes to prevent veggies from sticking. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour. Thin with water, if necessary. You can top it with a dollop of homemade guacamole, because avocados are allowed. I garnish mine with chopped fresh cilantro. You can also serve it over your steamed brown rice — it gives it a little more staying power. Enjoy! Makes about 6 cups.

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One Response to “Diet is a 4-Letter Word”

  1. Tamie Spears February 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    Today's BP reading = 149/108

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