Greatest GIFT

Faith, God's Wisdom, journey to healthy living, Life and dreams


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Blood Pressure and Medications

 

systolicHigh blood pressure worries and frustrations in four years time had led me on a mission and a quest to find out about this notorious and scary hypertensive heart disease.

When I gained 35 extra pounds in a matter of five years of quitting my job and relocating, I’ve noticed I became very sluggish and I would feel tired even just after a shower.  I knew that I needed to do something about the changes I was feeling. For one thing, I did not even know that I gained so much weight. I’ve thrown caution to the wind, stopped weighing myself in the morning, enjoyed life and ate out a lot even if there was no special occasion. I’ve eaten sweet desserts way late in the evening, had some ice cream and junk snacks while enjoying internet browsing and watching movies. I was just having the greatest time of my life after working so long and hard in life. It was a time of junk foods that I did not even know were bad for me; and eating out and buying all kinds of processed foods, were part of finally arriving to a period and time that alarm clocks no longer ruled my life. I could be up almost all night, waking up late in the morning with no set sleep schedule. Hey, this was what life was all about after all!

Then came a warning sign. To compensate with bad eating habits, I would do my treadmill workout. At first I was able to still do high speed intensity and uphill workouts. But then one day, I had a bad fall while sort of running on our hallway to catch an important life event on video. It was a bad tumble on a hard concrete flooring, chest first. A few months later, when I felt okay to go back to exercising, I started feeling chest pains while tread milling. I would stop working out for days, and returned back when the pain was gone, but there was still the same nagging chest pains.

One night I woke up with this worse chest pain on my left side that my hubby had to take me to the emergency. Thank goodness, it was not a heart attack. However, the emergency doctor suggested that I see a cardiologist to be safe and sure that my heart is not weakening. The following day after seeing a cardiologist, he wrote me a prescription for Nitrostat to take as needed should I experience chest pains again. The cardio visit led to another visit as he wanted me to undergo some tests. I declined having one of them because of what was written about the possible bad reactions to the test. The doctor mentioned that my blood pressure was in a high range. He suggested that it might be the cause of my chest pains.

Knowing nothing about high blood pressure, I did not know where to start. But it led me to start researching about it. I’ve read that caffeine intake can elevate blood pressure. I stopped drinking tea and coffee, not even decaf, and the chest pains subsided. I read that I should buy a blood pressure monitor to help with knowing my blood pressure numbers at home. My first blood pressure monitor was giving me high systolic numbers but my diastolic numbers ever since was normal.

Getting frustrated and stressed out with worries about the high blood pressure, I finally saw a general practitioner who suggested that I start taking blood pressure medication. The first medication prescribed was Lisinopril. When I went back for 3 months check up, I told my doctor that I was experiencing bad night coughing. He then took me out of that and prescribed Benicar, but I had a bad sore throat and itching from taking it that I had to go back to my GP and he changed the BP prescription to Losartan. I stayed with Losartan for a while. This time I started with a Blood Pressure Log to keep track of my daily BP systolic and diastolic numbers and heart rates. And I bought a better and reliable BP monitor. My numbers were good and stayed in good range.

I make it a habit to take three months worth of BP log sheets each time I see my doctors. I have a white coat hypertension syndrome where my blood pressure systolic reading is higher at the doctor’s office. I used to wonder why, but I know now the reason. Everything is rush-rush in the doctors office. Taking blood pressure measurement should be done after 5 to 10 minutes of rest sitting down doing nothing.  Your upper left arm is at the same height as your heart, placing it on a table. The clinic assistant should not do anything or not talk to you or touch you to take your heart rate etc., while taking the measurement. These are not adhered at the doctors office. They don’t give you a chance to breathe if ever. You’re already stressed out being there and if they call your name right away while filling some paperwork for updates, your heart is already racing. Of course, in turn, your blood pressure reading undoubtedly has skyrocketed. This is what I tell them now after they take my measurement and my reading was high; and I show them my BP log sheets. I am right away vindicated. I don’t give them a chance to tell me to up my BP med dose just because.

Many people find that their blood pressure increases because of subconscious stress from confrontation with medical institutions and the staff working there. This is usually called “white coat hypertension”, that is, elevated blood pressure levels from just seeing the white lab coats doctors wear.
This is a common problem: a full 10-15% of people diagnosed with high blood pressure after measurements taken at a hospital or medical facility, later find that measurements taken in their own home or averaged over 24 hours are normal.

If you’re one of the people with “white coat hypertension”, you have approximately the same risk of heart disease as other people with normal blood pressure. People with “white coat hypertension” don’t need blood pressure-lowering medication – but they often get it unnecessarily! ***DietDoctor.com

lowerbloodpressurenaturally

This time around I started on my plant based diet, reducing simple sugar carbs and saturated fats, started with calorie counting and lost a significant amount of weight. My BMI went down to normal. I also started with intermittent fasting. Anyway with BP med intake it seemed like I finally achieved successful control of my blood pressure, or so I thought.

But then after a few months of taking Losartan daily, I started feeling backaches, cold sweats especially at night and the worse chills like I could hardly breathe at night and would wake me up in the middle of the night. Suffice to say, I had so many sleepless nights. I would have chest pains on top of it that my GP referred me to another cardiologist who is more reliable than the previous one I was referred to at the Emergency Hospital. This time I finally agreed to have a cardiogram test and a nuclear test. My nuclear test had a good result. I do not have any blockage and my heart condition is good and so did my cardiogram result.

But I was still being pestered with back pains and all the side effects that came with taking Losartan. I had a little argument at my next visit with my GP. He was getting annoyed that I was complaining about side effects. And asked me point blank why should he prescribe me another BP med when I seemed to complain about side effects all the time. I told him you’re my doctor, you’re supposed to help me. But looking back at it now, I guess he probably would want me to stop taking them period. Both of us frustrated, he prescribed Norvasc or Amlodipine. At this point, I was just about as stressed out with BP meds.

veggies

I then researched on what veggies and fruits and whole grains and other plant based foods that can naturally lower my blood pressure. I’ve adjusted my daily prepared meal to be as close as the Mediterranean diet focusing on lots of veggies and fruits.

After taking the Amlodipine for three months, side effects followed.

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I had the worst lower and upper back pains. I could barely sit down for a few minutes because I would have chest pains and back pains. I started getting very tired and fatigue at the end of the day that I had to stop taking it because I can hardly get a good sleep. This time I did not call my GP. I felt good through all the summer last year after quitting Amlodipine. The back pains were going away. I was able to get goodnight sleep again. Without the BP med, I found out that with adding plant based foods and losing weight, my blood pressure numbers are not bad at all. My energy was optimal.

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But I decided to give Amlodipine another try early this year to make sure that I was just not imagining the side effects. Just three weeks into taking it everyday, my lower and upper back started to bother me again. I started getting dizzy and feeling faint like I would pass out. My legs were starting to swell and ache like I was having a blood clot on both legs. I started sneezing really bad everyday, I could barely function. I lost my energy. I was able to prepare my smoothies and eat plant based foods, but I was so fatigued toward the end of the day that I felt like I was so depressed and feeling run down. I told myself that this is not the way to live a full life! I was having a restless sleep. I’ve prayed so hard and asked God for discernment and wisdom on how I could deal with these trials I was going through with my health.  I was exhausted and tired and sneezing continuously most days that once and for all, I’ve got to stop taking the BP med.

 

Norvasch

Lowering blood pressure helps prevent getting angina, heart attacks and strokes. BP medications can surely lower your BP, but with the side effects that come with taking these meds long term, a person will die of side effects, not of the high blood pressure. And would possibly die of heart attacks anyway. These drugs are awful! I’ve learned to be vigilant with all these drugs doctors prescribe to be used long term and daily. Check out the side effects! Most likely, you will experience those side effects. These conventional drugs will take over your life and lose it in the process. My chest pains were actually caused by these BP drugs!

After a week of quitting the BP med,  I felt better. I’ve been taking Gaba Plus for years, so I started taking them again. I stopped taking my supplements because of fear that they might badly interact with my BP med.  I started taking Fish Oil and Co Q-10 and Vitamin D and calcium again. In my research, I found out that taking Gaba Plus and Fish Oil will lower my blood pressure.

Yesterday, my blood pressure systolic was 127 and my diastolic was 64 and heart rate is 62. I’ve been getting good BP readings even without the conventional BP med. The chest pain is gone and yesterday, I returned to doing a moderate treadmill walk. When I’ve first embarked on changing my eating habits and lost a lot of weight and doing intermittent fasting, I was in the middle or period of taking the BP med. So whatever benefits and nutrients I was getting was helping me somehow,  but the side effects of the BP med were so overwhelming that daily dose of this medication was giving me a poor quality of life.

In a recent 6 month’s visit last week at my cardiologist office, I told the nurse practitioner that was assigned to me that I stopped taking the BP med. I showed her my BP log sheets and told her the side effects I experienced. She was concerned about the BP reading that was taken by the clinic assistant because my systolic reading was high. I told her what I’ve learned about the right ways to take BP measurement. I was surprised she didn’t know. She let me rested for about 5 to 15 minutes and took another blood pressure measurement. It was 135/70 with 64 heart rate.

Blood pressure readings varies each time in a day, it can be lower, in the middle, higher or extremely high depending on how our heart and brain react on things around us. I found out that it is normal. The medical concern really is if our systolic or diastolic number remain high, especially the systolic number and does not change even when we are at rest before doing the measurements.

One of the best websites about hypertension or high blood pressure I’ve read was DietDoctor.com ( https://www.dietdoctor.com/blood-pressure )

An ideal, healthy blood pressure is not over 120/80. This is what young, healthy and lean people have…

Values between 140/90 and 160/100 are considered as slightly elevated blood pressure.
Over 160/100 is said to be moderately elevated.
Over 180/110 is a severely elevated blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is severely elevated (over 160 systolic or over 100 in diastolic), medication is wise. If you have other risk factors for heart disease (like smoking, diabetes or obesity), medication may be recommended even for a slight elevation in blood pressure (over 140/90).

Up until recently there was no evidence that medication improves the health of otherwise healthy people with mildly elevated blood pressure (140-159 systolic and/or 90-99 diastolic). This meant it was unclear whether it was worth risking the side effects of the medication if all you have is a slight elevation.

After losing a lot of weight and eating plant based foods, my daily blood pressure readings are in the mid 120s and low and mid 130s at the most. The Fish Oil and Gaba plus have added extra help in lowering my blood pressure steadily without BP medication. Hopefully, I am at the time now that I have reached the level where my blood pressure is finally well controlled. I’ve thanked God and grateful to Him that He has given me understanding and wisdom in overcoming the maladies concerning high blood pressure. God once again opened my eyes!

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Intermittent Fasting is my way of life

IntermittentFasting

 

I’ve been on intermittent fasting for almost two years now and I’d say I’ve never felt better in my whole entire life. I’m so used to doing it that my body has well adapted to this daily fasting regimen that I don’t feel deprived. Drinking 8 glasses of water after eating only within a certain ‘window’ of time each day, has helped curve any hunger. On my daily eating window, I make sure to eat wholesome plant based foods which keep me full and would carry me during my fasting hours.

New study from the University of Florida proposes that intermittent fasting works because it causes repeated “flipping of the metabolic switch.” After you have fasted for about 12 hours, you start to lose body fat because your body is forced to change temporarily from its main energy source, glucose (sugar) to fat from the fat stored in your body, and using these fatty acids that are converted to energy to produce ketones that are also used for energy. The “metabolic switch” is defined as the shift from using glucose to using fatty acids and fatty-acid-derived ketones for energy, and then shifting back to glucose when eating is resumed. This leads to weight loss and a variety of other metabolic benefits including lowered blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar levels. Most of the studies reviewed in this new article show that intermittent fasting caused weight loss primarily through loss of body fat, not loss of muscle.  **DrMirkin.com

My recent blood test has confirmed to me that my daily intermittent fasting has greatly improved my numbers. My fasting blood glucose level has gone from 92 in 2015 to 85 in 2018.BloodSugarglucose

Blood sugar testing measures how much glucose is in the bloodstream. No matter what is eaten, from a small snack to a large meal, blood glucose values rise in response to any carbohydrates that are digested.

In a healthy person, the pancreas reacts to the higher blood glucose by releasing insulin, a hormone that converts blood sugar into usable energy.
In addition to carbohydrates, other body processes also raise blood sugar levels.  When a person fasts, which is defined medically as not eating or drinking anything aside from water for at least eight hours, the release of glucagon is triggered in the body. Glucagon instructs the liver to metabolize reserve supplies of glycogen, which are then circulated into the bloodstream as sugars. Accordingly, the amount of plasma glucose goes up. This is how the body creates energy even while fasting.

In sum, when diabetes is not present the body responds to all blood sugars by manufacturing insulin in proportion with the glucose level. When it comes to fasting blood sugars, insulin lowers and stabilizes the levels so that they remain in a normal, healthy range. Yet when any form of diabetes is present, either pre-diabetes, Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, the whole physiological process doesn’t work correctly, and blood sugars are often considerably higher than normal. The fasting blood sugar test (FBS) is commonly used to detect the existence of diabetes. **BloodSugarEasy.com

I have cut down considerably, from my daily lifestyle diet, the ingestion of simple sugar and processed foods. Most processed foods have added sugar that our body does not need. I reduced intake of sweet carb desserts like cake, pastries, cookies, crackers, chocolates, ice cream; you name it, I cut it down and lost my sugar addiction in the process. bloodsugarlevel

I have added more organic fruits like apples, pears, most berries, bananas, kiwi, mangoes and other seasonal fruits. I alternate eating them and when they are available, but there’s always fruits in my daily eats.

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables help to reduce the chance of obesity, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other health issues. While fruit juices and applesauce aren’t necessarily something you have to avoid when planning your meals around diabetes, these snacks have had their fiber removed and as such lack much of the nutrition found in whole fruits while hosting a higher sugar content. Fruit has been identified in American diets as one of the most under-consumed foods, with the standing recommendation being to consume at least 2 cups of fruit in a daily diet of 2000 calories. Consuming a well-rounded nutrient profile while minimizing foods that can lead to spikes in blood sugar is essential for diabetics to function at their best.

Vegetables became my main food ingredients in my daily meal. Most days, my breakfast consists of green smoothies. They consist of different types of organic kale, spinach, carrots and broccoli. My lunch I always make veggie salads which can be with cucumber, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, romaine, radicchio, all organic. My plate is an abundance of veggies with small share of lean meat, chicken or seafood, with small portion of brown rice and quinoa.  I cook daily and I seldom eat out.

I was able to maintain my weight and I can say intermittent fasting has helped me with that and more. There are more great results I’ve got from my recent blood test that I will cover next time I blog.

IntermittentFasting4 IntermittentFasting3IntermittentFasting2

 


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Peak Fasting

I finally broke the plateau hurdle in my weight loss journey! Aside from losing the two pound gain from the 2017 Christmas holidays, which got me back to 105 pounds. I maintained this weight since late 2015 when I started losing weight and plateaued at 105 lbs.

It’s very true, the last 5 pounds are the hardest to lose. Either I was not mentally ready to get lower than 105 or my mind is playing games with me.

wp-1507945080633..jpgThis is me at 105 lbs. last year before the holidays. It looks like I look okay. My BMI was 21.2 which is considered a normal weight. What makes me get rattled is when I go to my primary doctor and my cardiologist for my checkup, I seemed to gain an additional 5 or 6 lbs. each time they weigh me in! So for them, I am 110 or 111 lbs. which is ridiculous. I still am considered normal weight for my height, but it seems unfair. Whatever the weight that registered at the doctor’s office scale is what they go by and record on their office chart. And they don’t pay attention when I say my weight is lower than that! One assistant said: “you must have eaten a lot before you got here.” No lady, it’s all the clothes I’m wearing! No sympathy I’m telling you! LOL

On the positive side of things, I am so thrilled that I am 2.6 pounds away from my goal of 100 pounds! My BMI is 20.7. The less weight I can lose, my BP will go down more and my heart would not work as hard.

What really helped me to get past the diet plateau, was the peak fasting or intermittent fasting. When I started my weight loss journey, I did not know anything about peak fasting. I was losing weight by counting calories then, which tremendously helped a lot. Weighing the food we eat had educated me and my husband and reality sets in as to why people gain weight. The bad carbs are the greatest culprit of all. Anything with sugar triple your chance of gaining unwanted weight. And so does saturated and trans fat. Anything heavy in weight, like sweet potatoes to grapefruit to meat ribs with bones, we would remove the parts that will not be eaten when we use the food scale. Or else they will add up to the gram count!  152 grams of half of a medium size grapefruit is 64 calories already.  Sweet potatoes at 51 grams is 77 calories.

 

 

They seem small in calorie numbers, but when we add the other foods to the list, they add up to the daily food budget. I’ve learned to truly lose weight, and still able to consume variety of foods good for me is to weigh my food. To maintain my weight is to learn how to eyeball the amount of my daily food intake and learn to adjust when I gain an ounce or two or a pound based on what the food scale has taught me.

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This was my lunch one day at 353 calories. I can eat tons of veggies without hurting my food budget.

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This is 465 calories. Sweet Potatoes and the pork ribs provided the most calories on one lunch this week.

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I had a bowl of organic popping corn to the lunch mix. My lunch for today, Sunday was 284 calories including the popcorn. Bowl of popcorn is 69 calories at 19 grams. Panseared seabass was so delicious with tomatoes, red peppers and red onions. My sides were organic garbanzo beans and pearled couscous. I can only have 21 grams of pearl couscous which is not very much in a very small serving cup. And it’s already 75 calories taken away from my daily calorie budget. We did not know couscous would steal the calorie show. They are as bad in calorie count as white rice!  The lunch was so good though! Mediterranean diet at its best! And the kitchen still smells so good!

Most of my daily breakfast consists of veggie and fruit smoothies which always meet my daily fiber requirements together with veggie salads. This week I’ve added some organic apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter. 20180128_193850.jpg

Today, for my morning snack, I had this delicious crispy noodle and nut mix. For a very small cup of this to die for snack, it cost me 131 calories! I cheated on this one and I added a little more so it was more than 131 calories. But I just had to have it.

I do moderate treadmill walking most days which helps reduce the calorie budget. I drink 8 glasses of water everyday. My last meal is always lunch, then I start with my peak fasting.

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2016/04/29/peak-fasting.aspx

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Intermittent Fasting, weight loss and Christmas holidays

Ahhhhh, the holidays are finally over! A month of holiday celebration was somehow a hurdle with losing or maintaining weight; but thankfully, I only gained two pounds total since yesterday, New Year’s Day!

I got so used in doing intermittent fasting and it helps on days before and after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year; the reason why I was able to control my weight. The calorie counting I incorporated during those times that I have to lose 20 pounds when I started changing my lifestyle habits, has given me the heads up when I was facing with all those glorious holiday foods. I knew that if I ate more than the calories that I have been used to, I will gain the following day. But I’ve learned also that if I ate less the next day of gaining some ounces or a pound, without being hungry as I fast, the following day, I would lose the calories I gained. That’s how I was able to maintain my weight. FB_IMG_1513610750289.jpg

I’ve learned that our body system can adapt to changes in eating habits, so if I feed my body less, it would be happy and content. The lessons I’ve learned as I am realizing it now is if I trained my system to eat less processed sugar, like cakes, cookies, chocolates, ice cream, pies; my system will adapt and would not anymore clamor for those types of food. The biggest dilemma for me is if I start tasting them again on holidays, and they are so attractive during the holidays, my digestion process seems to want to betray me and dislike the taste of the natural sweetness of the whole foods such as fruits. It doesn’t help, too, that most of the best fruits are not in abundance during the winter season of holidays galore.

Well, I promised myself that today, I’m starting to nip it in the bud, start to eat less and less simple sugar again, replace them with smoothies and more veggie salads, which get my energy in a better level, and control my hunger pangs and to get back to working out.FB_IMG_1513610843289.jpg

How sight and smell relate to digestion

 

“At first glance — or sniff — the digestive link between your eyes, nose, and stomach sounds a tad weird. But think about it: How many times has the sight or scent of something yummy like a simmering stew or baking bread set your tummy rumbling?

The sight of an appetizing dish or the aroma (actually scent molecules bouncing against the nasal tissues) sends signals to your brain: “Good stuff on the way.” As a result, your brain — the quintessential message center — shoots out impulses that

 

  • Make your mouth water.

 

  • Make your stomach contract (hunger pangs).

 

  • Make intestinal glands start leaking digestive chemicals.

All that from a little look and sniff. Imagine what happens when you actually take a bite!

Tasting and chewing in the digestion process

You know that small bag of potato chips you have stashed way at the back of your desk drawer? Well, dig it out and take a chip.

As the chip hits your tongue, your mouth acts as though someone had thrown the “on” switch in a fun house.

 

  • Your teeth chew, breaking the chip into small manageable pieces.

 

  • Your salivary glands release a watery liquid (saliva) to compact the chip into a mushy bundle (a bolus in digestive-geek speak) that can slide easily down your throat on a stream of saliva.

 

  • Enzymes (which you can think of as digestive catalysts in this case) in the saliva begin to digest carbohydrates in the chip.

 

  • Your tongue lifts to push the whole ball of wax . . . no, bolus, back toward the pharynx, the opening from your mouth to your esophagus, and then through a muscular valve called the upper esophageal sphincter, which opens to allow the food through. In other words, you’re about to swallow.”

source: http://www.dummies.com/education/science/biology/the-human-digestion-process-or-what-happens-after-you-eat-food/

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Just One Bad Meal Can Mess with Your Health

Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me was one of the first to vividly demonstrate the consequences of trying to sustain yourself on a diet of fast food. After just four weeks, Spurlock’s health had deteriorated to the point that his physician warned him he was putting his life in serious jeopardy if he continued the experiment.
But as the featured study showed, it doesn’t take a virtual month to experience the health effects of a poor diet. In fact, the changes happen after just one meal, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

When you eat a meal high in unhealthy fats and sugar, the sugar causes a large spike in your blood-sugar levels called “post-prandial hyperglycemia.” In the long term this can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, but there are short-term effects as well, such as:

Your tissue becomes inflamed (as occurs when it is infected)
Your blood vessels constrict
Damaging free radicals are generated
Your blood pressure may rise higher than normal
A surge and drop in insulin may leave you feeling hungry soon after your meal

The good news is that eating a healthy meal helps your body return to its normal, optimal state, even after just one. Study author James O’Keefe of the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri told TIME:

“Your health and vigor, at a very basic level, are as good as your last meal.”

source: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/29/junk-food-metabolism.aspx

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I experienced this poor diet effect when I ate a meal high in unhealthy fats and sodium, one night when we went to see a movie last month before Christmas week in a theatre, where they serve food inside the auditorium. I thought to myself, it was only for one night, it would not hurt me, but it did. I felt so restless in bed and I had chest pains. I lost the calories I gained from it two days after I got back to eating my healthy homemade meals, but it surely proved that foods served in restaurants are not the best quality foods that your body definitely does not need. I can even tell now which restaurants we would go to and their foods will give me heartburn. Of course, after going twice, and it’s still doing the same result after I ate their food, there is something in their ingredients that do not agree with the human body’s digestion. For one thing, to gain profits, they serve you with the cheapest ingredients combine with trans fats and high in salt and hidden sugar, it’s a stomach catastrophe waiting to happen. Overtime, when you keep eating fast foods, you will develop all kinds of  maladies:  illness · sickness · disease · infection · ailment · disorder · complaint · indisposition · affliction · infirmity · syndrome · bug · virus – you name it!wp-1508636809959..jpg


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Bad Cholesterol is pretty scary!

“LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of your arteries and form plaque, which can narrow and reduce the flow of blood through your arteries (arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart). This plaque buildup can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis —also known as ‘the hardening of the arteries.’”  Source: https://www.repatha.com/high-ldl-causes-treatment/?WT.srch=1

Cholesterolcholesterol-in-artery1Clogged Artery

Recently I heard news from a close friend of mine that her husband had an emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder full of gallstones. Gallstones may form when there is too much cholesterol in the bile. …
High levels of bilirubin can lead to formation of gallstones. …
In case the gallbladder is not able to empty often enough or if it is unable to empty completely, there may be a concentration of bile. …

I was not familiar with gallbladder which I thought was the same as the bladder that stores urine. They are two different body organs.

Gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac which is made up of a mucous membrane, a fibromuscular coat, and a serous layer. It lies in a depression of the posterior surface of the liver.

Gallbladder

Urinary bladder is a part of the urinary system that stores urine produced by kidneys until urination takes place. It is found anterior and inferior to the pelvic cavity and posterior to the symphysis pubis. Bladder receives urine through ureters, the small tubes connecting two kidneys and the urinary bladder.

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“Cholecystectomy is the medical procedure that surgically removes the gallbladder. Around 60% of the patients that undergo this procedure experience an improvement in their digestion, but for the 40% patients, they experience side effects and other discomforts. Diarrhea is a common side effect of removing gallbladder. Heartburn can also be experienced by people who have undergone cholecystectomy.
Unexplainable discomfort is usually felt by the patients a few days after the surgery. Bloating is the result of carbon dioxide pumped inside the body and remains there.
Difficulty in breathing. It is important that after surgery, deep breathing is now practiced. Heartburn is the result of improper digestion. Since there is not enough bile in the system, some of the fatty foods remain undigested and these fatty acids and gastric acids will try to regurgitate back to the esophagus, causing pain in the chest, neck, throat, etc.. “ Source: http://www.tandurust.com/digestive-problems/dangers-of-removing-gallbladder.html

Hopefully, my friend’s husband is one of the 60% patients that improve their digestion when the gallbladder is removed.

Anyway, I never realized that too much cholesterol in the body cannot only affect the walls of our arteries, but can cause problems on the other parts of our organs. Pretty scary!High-Cholesterol-Foods

How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally
These are the 7 steps you can take to lower cholesterol naturally. And if you follow all of them, you can count on a very high success ratio.

Eat a healthy cholesterol lowering diet. Some fats help lower cholesterol, while others can raise it. So get your fats right.

Reduce overall fat intake, avoid trans fats, limit saturated fats and replace “bad” fats with “good” fats, such as olive oil and those found in whole grains and omega 3 fish.

High fiber foods also help lower cholesterol naturally. They decrease “bad” LDL and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

Do regular healthy physical activity. At least 30 minutes of exercise a day has been shown to decrease total cholesterol and improve “good” HDL cholesterol levels, while lack of regular physical activity can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels as well as lead to weight gain.

Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can decrease “good” HDL levels and increase “bad” LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Eliminate sweets and refined foods. Few realize that eating sweets and other high glycemic foods increase triglycerides and cholesterol production. These foods are also addictive. Once you eliminate them, you’ll find that fruits, vegetables and whole grains actually taste sweet.

Cut out caffeine and alcohol – drink water. Both caffeine and alcohol have been shown to elevate cholesterol. So it’s best to switch to pure water and, at the very least, follow the “no more than one a day” rule.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco in any form. Smoking damages blood vessels, contributes to hardening of the arteries and is a major health risk for heart disease, stroke and other degenerative diseases.

Practice good healthy stress management. Just like cholesterol, a certain amount of stress is healthy – such as with exercise. But the link between excess stress and high cholesterol production is well established. So take time to relax, let go, meditate, enjoy yourself or do whatever it takes to keep your stress level under control.

Use the 7 steps to lower cholesterol naturally to reach optimum levels of:
Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dl.
Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl.
HDL “good” cholesterol over 40 mg/dl.
LDL “bad” cholesterol less than 100 mg/dl.

You can greatly reduce your all-around risk of both heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #3 causes of premature death in the U.S. by simply following these guidelines on how to lower cholesterol naturally.   Source: http://commonsensehealth.com/how-to-lower-cholesterol-naturally-in-7-steps/

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List of Foods that Lower Cholesterol Naturally.  

Below is a list of foods that lower cholesterol naturally. You can use this list of cholesterol reducing foods as a guide when eating and should consider having a majority of these foods that lower cholesterol in your home.

– Oat cereal

– Cereals containing flaxseed or psyllium

– Whole grain cereals

– Pecan nuts, walnuts, olives, soy nuts

– Dried or canned beans, peas and lentils

– Corn, fresh, frozen or canned

– Soybean products

– Whole wheat bread

All types of fruits, especially currants, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, citrus fruits, apples.

– Canola and olive oils and margarines made from these oils.

All vegetables, especially onion, watercress, leeks, spinach, carrots, artichokes, avocado, broccoli, kale Brussels sprouts and cauliflower

A variety of flavorings, herbs and spices, especially fresh garlic.

– Lean meats and chicken.

– Salmon, swordfish, tuna and trout

Source:  http://www.all-about-lowering-cholesterol.com/foods-that-lower-cholesterol.html

Another method of healing I found on line is Ginger Garlic Apple Cider Vinegar Mix:

1 piece of grated ginger, 1 glove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Liquefy with the use of Nutri Bullet blender. Consume 1 tablespoon of the mixture before breakfast and another before lunch or dinner.  This mixture lowers blood pressure and cholesterol naturally according to the website. Screenshot_20171030-091257.jpg

 


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Food Shopping for health and wellness

Ever since I’ve modified my eating habits for the past few years, I’m always conscious of what to buy at the grocery stores.  I have gained knowledge into the type of foods that  would either make me healthy or will eventually cause diseases to propagate in my precious body. I’ve learned so much about organic foods and GMO laden produce and food products. It’s scary when you think about what’s out there bad to eat.

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When it comes to my health, I don’t want anymore to let food commercials dictate what I should eat. I was commercially sublimated during my younger years of busy and stress loaded life. When you’re young, you don’t think of food in terms of your health, but what would make you feel stuffed, glutted or engorged regardless of the bad consequences and that would satisfy your hunger pangs. Looking back, I had eaten quite loads of fast foods. They were delicious, for Pete’s sake! Ate in many restaurants, hole in the wall types, and some elegant ones. I let the chefs’ or cooks’ concoctions to rule my eating habits. It was fun while it lasted. As luck would have it, I was into workouts to save my life! Yes! You should see my collections of VHS and DVD workout tapes! I have tons! And I still have them, but now contemplating in donating them.

I lost some weights, maintained the weight loss, but eventually succumbed to gaining extra pounds. That’s when health problems surfaced. My blood pressure went up and I was not feeling so good anymore. This led me to research about the causes of high blood pressure and how to manage it naturally. I went through different types of high blood pressure meds and most had bad side effects. It was frustrating. My salvation: plant based foods! They are miracle foods. But then I’ve learned that not all plant based foods are created equal.

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Most grocery stores carry food produce that are laden with dangerous pesticides. Even the ones on the grocery shelves.DirtyDozens2 To top it off, most are GMO or genetically modified foods. They are foods genetically altered to look attractive to our eyes and genetically enhanced to have longer shelf life!GMO2

“The rise in autoimmune diseases, infertility, gastrointestinal problems and chronic diseases may be associated with the introduction of GM foods. In a position paper by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the authors ask all physicians to consider the role of GM foods in the nation’s health crisis, and advise their patients to avoid all GM foods whenever possible. The Academy also recommends a moratorium on GM seeds and calls for immediate independent safety testing and the labeling of all food items containing genetically modified products. As of 2010, the U.S. does not require food manufacturers to identify foodstuffs produced with genetically modified crops.”

How To Avoid GMOs
“The best way to avoid GMOs is to cook at home using certified organic ingredients. Organic foods, by law, are non-GMO. When buying produce such as corn, look for the PLU code on the label — if it begins with 9, it is organic.GMO4 If you use packaged or prepared foods, look for “USDA Certified Organic” on the label. Packaged foods that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients are not permitted to contain GMOs. Assume that all restaurants are serving GMOs. The vast majority of non-organic products sold in a conventional supermarket, including pet foods and baby foods, contain some form of GMO corn, soy or other ingredients.”

Source: https://www.livestrong.com/article/216714-dangers-of-gmo-foods/

I only have one body to live on and one life to live. But I have capabilities to control what I will eat. Screenshot_20171022-111922.jpgThis day and age, there are tremendous information at my beck and call to help gain knowledge on protecting my health.

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Today’s breakfast – organic cereal with 11 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein with some blackberries

I’m thankful and grateful for stores that are popping up and carrying organic and non GMO foods. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and now Aldi. Groceries near us are carrying organic produce and non GMO products. On the side of our world, we have HEB and Kroger and even 99 Ranch that dedicate organic food sections, or organic and non GMO products spread all over their food shelves. You just have to hunt and look for them. And because of the increase demands for organic and non-GMO products, the overall costs are moderately going down. Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, I’ve seen organic pricing getting to the level, in some degree, with their conventional counterparts.

Screenshot_20171022-111733.jpgIt cost me such a lot of hours of research to get where I am with my health now. I am, more than ever, pays attention subsequently to what I require for myself to be able to give the necessary defense, to protect my body from the radical changes that poor eating habits entail. I promised myself to succeed.

 

 

 


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Walking for health and energy

Today, I walked along the sidewalks of Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris!

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Although I’ve been to the country sides of France, during our travel, we intentionally decided not to be in Paris at all.

Today via Live Stream, I felt like I was there and walked the streets of this popular tourists destination. I’ve discovered these Live Stream videos on You Tube last year and I incorporated these video walks with my treadmill exercises. I really enjoyed it. I’ve gone to different parts of the world via these Live Streams. I’ve gone to Hawaii, Australia, Wales (in real life, we were in Wales in 2014), the country sides of Great Britain and some places here in the U.S.

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I really enjoy these virtual walks on my treadmill. It’s mostly a 30 to 35 minutes of walking. The videos are well done and I actually feel like I was there at these places walking and enjoying the sights.

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These Paris street sidewalks are just like walking on the streets of the Los Angeles Rodeo Drive but on a bigger scale. They also have stores popular in the U.S. like Sephora, Disney, Gap, QuickSilver, Abercrombie & Fitch, among others.

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Some of the health benefits of walking include good physical and mental health, protection from heart ailments, diabetes, cancer, and other types of chronic conditions. Further studies show that walking increases bone mineral density and prevents the condition of osteoporosis.

Walking

 

 


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Too much cholesterol

foods-high-cholesterolAccording to WEBMD, our body through our liver produces 75 percent of cholesterol that circulate in our blood. A normal level of cholesterol plays an important part in helping our cells do their proper jobs in our body system. 25 percent of cholesterol comes from our food. Therefore, when we eat foods high in cholesterol more than our body needs; and we eat them everyday, it can cause damage deep within our body. We don’t feel any symptoms when our body carries too much cholesterol, but over our life span, it can lead to a build up of plaque inside the arteries and narrows the space available for blood flow and can trigger heart disease. It’s pretty scary!

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But there are ways to lower our body’s  cholesterol, thank goodness! First stop is to have our cholesterol level tested via blood testing at the doctor’s office. The results would show the levels of bad (LDL), good (HDL) and triglycerides.

 

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Since I started this blog and has kept my weight down with the help of plant based eating, I have lowered my blood pressure and my last cholesterol test showed a low level because of the plant based foods I’ve become accustomed to. My intake of meat, poultry and seafood becomes my side dishes. I’m still into smoothies, apples, oranges, grapefruit which I eat in the morning after drinking a glass of water. I still drink eight glasses of water. Most especially, I still keep track and weigh myself daily before I start my day. If I gain a pound or maybe two, I eat more plant based and lesser simple carbs and less protein and I still do intermittent fasting.  If I am mindful of what I eat daily, keeping the weight down is easier nowadays.

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Calorie Awareness

People nowadays can easily consume more than 2,000 calories in one seating. With the abundance of restaurants and fast food chains, a person can easily devour more than 4,000 calories from eating breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner in a day. If a person eat this much everyday, the weight gain is obvious. And if this person is not eating healthy, the person’s immune system would suffer and so does the rest of the person’s body organs and cells. Chronic diseases will follow suit.

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This worth of breakfast food is 2,100 calories, according to The Upshot article on What 2,000 calories look like.

Lunch

This lunch combination, or it can be for dinner,  is worth a whooping 2,670 calories.

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This delicious meal just by itself without a soda or side dish and bread is 2,370 calories.

And when we dine out, we totally disregard the need to eat veggies and fruits that have so much nutrients and what our immune system is craving for. So, when we eat restaurant entrée and fast food, our digestive system is working so hard. If we are lucky, our body may get some protein in the process, but mostly bad fat and bad carbs that would add up to our waistline because that is where the bad food we had eaten would end up, while our immune system starve to death.

Ever since I’ve started using food scale and have been journaling my food intake for a year now,  I’ve noticed that my stomach has adjusted to the reduced calories I’ve been consuming each day.  I’ve mostly consumed foods eaten at home which I prepare and cook. Occasionally my hubby and I would venture and eat out at Whole Food’s food court or buy the ready made lunch/dinners they sell, which is heat and eat. Mostly, they are nutritious and not so high in calories. We’ve dined out occasionally on special occasion and I would go back to eating less the following day.

I’ve read that the way to accomplish this effect is to train your body to get used to accommodating smaller meals. Your stomach will adjust to proportions suitable for the needs of the average quantity of food you’re used to taking in, in a single serving. Over time, eating smaller-portioned meals reduces the size your stomach is accustomed to inflating during mealtime.

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This is one of my measured food portion for lunch which consisted of Asparagus Risotto at 71 calories, a combo of wild Akeya rice and brown rice at 203 calories, baked chicken wings at 107 calories and 136 calories of Romaine and Avocado salad with cucumber and Siracha ranch dressing. The total calories for lunch that I have eaten was 517 calories. That day I had also consumed 301 calories of healthy breakfast cereal with strawberries mixed with plain Kefir. For snack I had an apple with peanut butter and some blackberries at 235 calories. For a year now, I’ve used smaller plates and bowls. For my drink, I always have 8 glasses of water consumed in a day, not counting my glass of Mineral Water I would drink for lunch almost everyday. Thankfully, Mineral Water is zero calories.

My total calories that day was 1,053.screenshot_2016-05-30-15-58-22.png

To maintain my weight, according to this plan, I have to eat 1,599 calories (for me this is a lot of calories)  and to lose weight, I have to eat less than 1,368 calories a day.

I can see now why I gained a lot of weight from dining out. I had eaten more than 1,599 calories. Knowledge is power definitely! Using a food scale now, it revealed to me that  it’s very easy to eat more than 2,000 calories or more in a day!

I’ve learned that veggies and fruits have lower calories. We can eat lots of veggies and fruits combined and it will not even make it to 2,000 calories. Amazing!

According to this article I’ve read, women who consume more fruit and vegetables have a healthier and more attractive glow than those who don’t, scientists have discovered.

Carotenoids – a type of pigment found in carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and tomatoes, is credited with helping to protect against cancer.

People consuming diets rich in carotenoids are healthier and have lower death rate from a number of chronic illnesses.

The chemical can also work as antioxidants, aiding in the prevention of cancer.

A recent study showed that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42 per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

I’ve just read that: “A new study published in JAMA Oncology revealed four lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Staying away from smoking, keeping a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding hormone therapies after menopause can lower your risk of getting breast cancer by 30 percent.”

 


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New development on blood pressure numbers

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Two days ago, I went to see my primary doctor for a 6 months checkup and refill of my blood pressure medication. I’ve been trying to stop taking it for the sole reason that I want to lower my blood pressure naturally. However, my blood pressure the past days for my systolic seemed to be elevated and I was trying to figure out if it was because I stopped taking my BP med. My systolic reading was around 138 to 140 in the morning. And I thought it was high, as I was getting systolic readings of 126, 127, 130 to 134 before I stopped taking my BP med.

I was running out of my med, so I’ve decided to see my doctor. He was glad that I maintained my weight. I told him that the chest pain I was having before was completely gone after I stopped drinking anything with caffeine, especially coffee and tea. My doctor said that I’m having a bad reaction to it. I referred to the pain as angina and he told me that I should not use that word as I do not have it. It is a heart disease and other doctors may misunderstand me.

My doctor conveyed to me that there were some research studies done about blood pressure measurements that was discussed at the doctors convention he attended. I knew pretty much what he was going to tell me as I’ve read these reports online. In my case, since I do not have other health issues or chronic conditions, the 3 months worth of BP readings I shared with him via my daily log were great. He told me not to worry so much of my blood pressure even if my systolic goes up to 150 from time to time. He believes I should keep taking my low dose of BP med and we will take it from there. He knows that I’ve changed my diet and started eating more veggies and fruits and that I am proactive in regards to my health. April2016

I was ecstatic! Finally, a conventional doctor I’m seeing is accepting the change of times in the medical field. There’s hope for conventional doctors. High blood pressure is a serious condition and millions of people in the world have them and they do not know that they are walking time bombs as HBP is a silent killer that lead to massive heart attack or stroke.

One of the reports I’ve read about the changes on blood pressure measurement, I copied and posted below to remind myself and this great news. The link to the website where I gathered the information from, I’ve attached and posted here.

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“Whom does this study affect?

SPRINT focused on a specific group of people with hypertension: those 50 and older with at least one other chronic condition, such as heart disease or kidney disease (both of which raise heart attack and stroke risks), and those 75 and older. Of every six people with high blood pressure, only about one of them is in such a high-risk group.

If you are in that group, talk with your doctor about whether lowering your systolic blood pressure to 120 is worth the risk, says Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University. If you’re not in that group, based on these new findings, you may not need to aim for such a low number.

Also talk with your doctor about making lifestyle changes that can help reduce blood pressure. Those are especially important for people like those in the group studied in SPRINT.

For the rest of us . . .ReduceBloodPressurerightaway5

If you’re not in one of the previously mentioned high-risk categories, what should your blood pressure be? Consumer Reports’ medical experts consider 150/90 a reasonable goal for most people age 60 to 75 who don’t have other risk factors. They suggest a goal of 140/90 for people younger than 60, those with diabetes and those younger than 50 with chronic kidney disease.

Those numbers are based on recommendations from an independent expert panel convened by the NHLBI. The panel noted that achieving levels below 140/90 can require additional blood pressure drugs or high doses. That increases the risk of the previously mentioned side effects and — depending on the drugs — problems such as persistent coughing, erectile dysfunction and frequent urination.

But be sure of your numbers.

Uncertain about your blood pressure? Get it measured, even if you think it’s fine. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that everyone 18 and older be screened for hypertension. Having high blood pressure generally causes no obvious symptoms, so an estimated one-fifth of American adults with the problem don’t know they have it.

Surprisingly, the most accurate way to measure your blood pressure is not at your doctor’s office. Up to 30 percent of people receive an incorrect diagnosis of high blood pressure, often because their blood pressure is normal at home but spikes in a doctor’s office, perhaps because of anxiety. Blood pressure can also fluctuate depending on such factors as sitting position, bladder fullness and placement of the monitor’s cuff.

The gold standard for measuring blood pressure — a method known as ambulatory monitoring — involves wearing a small, doctor-prescribed device that records your blood pressure at frequent intervals over 24 hours. But that monitoring isn’t widely available, and insurance might not cover the cost. A good alternative, the task force says, is a home blood pressure monitor. Record levels once in the morning and once in the evening for a week.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/its-important-to-get-high-blood-pressure-under-control-but-how-low-should-it-go/2016/04/21/9193efe8-b3bc-11e5-9388-466021d971de_story.html

http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20131218/new-blood-pressure-guidelines-raise-the-bar-for-taking-medications