Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

I have learned a lot of things in the past few weeks. I learned I have high blood pressure. And now I know the difference between systolic and diastolic. I know how your kidneys use sodium. I know what happens when they can't use all that you give them.

My doctor wants me to supply him with a chart of my blood pressure every 3 days for a month. So I had to get it checked in Vancouver. After squeezing the life out of my arm at least 5 times, each giving a reading of a diastolic much more elevated than a systolic number (consistent with the numbers my doc got) the little Chinese dude exclaimed, "You numbers. They close together."
"Yes, I know. That's why I'm here." I replied.
"You no eat salt. You walk." He ordered.

My doctor didn't flat out tell me to lose weight or die, but he implied that perhaps I am packing around a little more than I need to. I think I was secretly hoping he'd give me the "lose it or die" ultimatum so I'd actually get motivated. But alas, he only left it as a suggestion that I eat smarter.

Did you know table salt is only 40% sodium? And it generally only accounts for 10% of our daily intake. It's the processed foods that are the major culprit. You'd think that you'd be smarter to cut out the fries than the burger, but in fact medium fries have 250 mg of sodium. A cheese burger has 750. I'm shocked by this.

To lower blood pressure the recommended intake is 1500 mg maximum per day. (The body only needs about 500 to function adequately.) Most adults consume about 4000 mg.

Lose weight and intake less sodium. That's the challenge set forth.

So... I'm on a label reading tangent. It takes me 2-and-a-half hours to grocery shop.

But what is one supposed to do? They tell you being fat raises your blood pressure. Eating sodium raises your blood pressure. But as they reduce fat from food products, they increase the sodium. So which is supposed to be the lesser of the two evils? By the time I leave the grocery store I'm so confused and frustrated I say, "To hell with it." and throw the bag of nachos in the cart and head off for a burger and fries on my way home.

1/2 cup tomato soup - 3 times the sodium and similar calories as Doritos.
What would you choose?


Anonymous said...

Fruits and vegetables....

GraceeJ said...

No processed anything is the safe way. Not the exciting way, the boring way..but all together still safe.
Doctors are from the debil!

mari said...

we took a nutrition seminar when M started kindergarted that basically showed us not to eat anything from the pantry more than once a month. That's everything in the pantry combined! A family of 4 shouldn't eat more than half a box of ritz crackers per month.. and no other crackers, chips etc at all!

They told us to shop only on the outside of the grocery store and don't go down any aisles... and no juice. Juice is bad.

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