Errrrr!! I went to the doctor because I had a sore back from bending down to pickup my laptop whilst still sitting on the lounge…errr, do not do that again. Anyway, I thought that I wasn’t getting any better so I went off to the doctor to see if he could do something. He told me that I needed to lose weight and do some exercise. Errr, well I suppose I had put on a bit of weight, but I didn’t think I was too bad. He weighed me – yep, a whopping 68 kilo’s!!! Errr, my weight should be about 65 kilo’s. Then he thought that he would “just check my blood pressure” whilst I was there.
Well! 155/95, not good apparently. No wonder I had been feeling terrible for the last year. OMG! Then the Doctor said! “Susanne your blood pressure is critically high! You need to take this prescription straight down the chemist (he explained it was only 100 metres down the road on the left), and immediately take one of these tablets. You are currently at high risk of stroke or heart attack. Lose some weight, exercise, reduce the stress and come back and see me in a month”. He stressed that the tablets would reduce the blood pressure quickly and that is what I needed to do – reduce the blood pressure QUICKLY.
W e l l….I don’t like to take tablets and I don’t believe that your own heart can attack you, and I believe that ‘stroke’ is something that you do when you swim….sssssoooooo, I didn’t go to the chemist. Instead, I went home and thought about what to do. Was I really in such danger? What happened if something went wrong with me? Who would look after me? How terrible it would be for my youngest daughter to see me have a stroke or heart attack (my two others are adults and don’t live at home). I didn’t want that. Still I didn’t know what to do, so for a couple of days I did nothing. Then I started to panic and had that same feeling of being very ill. Heart beating at a thousand miles an hour, feeling like you can’t wake up even though you are awake, slight panic, and just a general feeling of being very unwell. Oh and the heat! I felt like I was going to melt down, literally! They say that high blood pressure is the silent killer because it doesn’t have any symptoms. So, I sent my husband off to the chemist to get the tablets – just in case…
I am allergic to most things so tablets and I don’t get on very well. Codeine, Aspirin and Sulphur drugs are a few and then there is Morphine, which gives me such a headache I would rather have the pain that it is trying to ease. We had a long conversation with the Chemist over the phone. I didn’t like the sound of the side effects, but we got them anyway. When I looked in detail at the side effects, I started to wonder if I wouldn’t be better off dead of the heart attack. These tables have almost everything possible as a potential side effect. Headaches, nausea, aches, heart quickening, etc. Yuk, I thought, “I can’t do this”.
SO I JOINED A GYM INSTEAD!
So this was the 11 November 2011 and on the 16 November 2011 I went and joined a gym. I don’t like gyms but I like swimming and this gym overlooks a huge indoor swimming complex, so I can either swim or use the gym whenever I like. I planned to do at least 3-4 days a week there so my program was planned and on the first day I started at the gym, my blood pressure was 155/85 – still high! I was determined and pushed on. It was really hard. I couldn’t get through half of what the program said I had to do, but I went every second day for the first 3 weeks and monitored my blood pressure.
In the first 3 weeks my blood pressure readings were 155/85 (very high), 132/85 (good), 149/100 (no so good). I realised that the exercise was not going to kill me and in fact when I felt bad the best thing to do – was to exercise. I always felt better after some exercise. I mixed the gym work with swimming and at first; I struggled to swim 4 x 50 metre laps. I can usually only do breast stroke or backstroke and at first I just floated on my back and kicked along in the slow lane.
As the second reading was so high the gym instructor said I should not drink tea before going and having my blood pressure tested – in fact, not drinking tea at all would be the best idea. I immediately gave up tea – completely! I love tea, but I have successfully replaced it with Dandelion tea that I make in exactly the same way as normal tea. Tea and coffee are high in caffeine and so are not good for someone with high blood pressure. It made an impact straight away as you can see by the second week’s blood pressure reading. I started drinking decaffeinated coffee about three years ago and never noticed the difference. I don’t drink that much anyway, it was the tea that was the problem.
I have always had trouble with sinus headaches so about a year ago I changed to a gluten and lactose free diet. This helped enormously with the headaches, the sinus and a feeling of being bloated all the time. I found that if I ate porridge (my favourite breakfast) that over period of a week I would get more and more tired as the week progressed. Now I eat Gluten Free Rice Flakes by Lowan and I make porridge the same way as I used to, but now have replaced the oats with rolled rice flakes. This is have I make it;
- Add about a cup of flakes for each person to a saucepan and then cover with warm or hot water;
- Let this sit until the flakes has absorbed all the water – about 15 minutes;
- Then add some soy milk and a little bit more water for cooking;
- Stir over heat until you get a nice porridge look.
- I add baked fruit to mine so that it adds some taste and a bit more milk to suit.
OTHER BREAKFAST THINGS THAT I LIKE FOR BREAKFAST
- Two boiled eggs and some spelt toast
- Baked fruit
- A fresh juice or a cup of dandelion tea
At the start of 2011 and before the high blood pressure issue, my daughter and I became badly infected with a mould skin infection, and Candida. We had been right in the Queensland floods and just couldn’t keep the mould at bay in the house. It was inside and outside of us and the scratching and itching was unbearable.
As soon as we could, we got back to our Naturopath in Sydney who gave us lots of vitamins and herbs to take. The main thing we needed to do so that we could kill the infection was to eradicate sugar from our diets. I have always eaten fresh fruit and vegetables and didn’t eat much prepacked foods, preferring to make my own as much as possible, but you would be amazed at how much sugar is in almost everything. It’s in bread, it’s in most of the packaged foods that we eat, it is in breakfast cereal and of course it is in those yummy sweet things that most people like. There are also some fruits like Banana’s that are high in natural sugars and we had to avoid them as well. Bananas are my favourite fruit so this was hard. The sweetest thing that I could eat was a green apple. It took seven months to get rid of the infection, but once we had, we felt much better and I started to lose some weight. The headaches started to disappear due to the lack of wheat and lactose in my diet and I was really feeling good, but now I had high blood pressure! It was hard going for my daughter as she is a real sweet tooth, but she was determined and I am very proud of her achievement.
I had changed from sugar in my tea to honey about 5 years before, but I was still eating too much of it on my morning porridge so that had to change. As well, I was drinking about 10 cups of regular tea per day each with a teaspoon of honey. We were going through about a kilo of honey per week! We would have a Pepsi with dinner and cakes at the coffee shop when we went out – all this had to change!
CHANGING MY DIET
So over the course of two years I had changed my diet and cut out;
- Regular tea and coffee now replaced with Dandelion and decaffeinated coffee;
- All lactose products including milk, cheese and chocolate. I sometimes have goats milk cheese, always have soy and rarely ever eat chocolate, cakes or biscuits;
- All wheat products, I have replaced bread with Spelt Bread and find this to be nicer than regular bread. It is more expensive so you need to use it well and look after it;
- Sugar now replaced by honey in smaller doses;
- All soft drinks;
- All pre-packed biscuits – I sometimes make my own using gluten-free flour and dark chocolate;
- Most prepacked foods. Many of the canned foods have sugar in them so it all adds up.
FRESH JUICE – Joe the Juicer
I got a juicer for my birthday in 2009 and love using it. We usually go to the markets and
buy all our fresh vegetables and fruit in bulk to last us for two weeks. We juice everything and it is a great way to stay healthy as well as use up food that would otherwise go to waste. Any apple peels or pear peels that I don’t use when I bake the fruit is used in the juicer. We add vegetables as well so that it is really packed with vitamins. My wonderful friend, Joe Cross, now better known as Joe the Juicer from his movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, http://www.facebook.com/FatSickandNearlyDead inspired me along with thousands of other people to take up regular juicing.
Check out the recipes on Joe’s site at or join the Reboot for heaps of support and great recipes for a healthy diet.
WHAT I HAVE FOR LUNCH
- Fruit – banana is my favourite and some green apple with some cashews or almonds;
- A good quality pâté with gluten-free crackers;
- An avocado made into guacamole – this is really easy. Crush a garlic clove, peel an avocado and mash-up, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and some salt and pepper. The lemon makes it last a day in the fridge so you can have it on toast the next day as well!
- Two boiled eggs, avocado on spelt toast, some fresh tomatoes and something green like rocket salad;
- A platter of fruit
- A juice of 2 green apples, 1 pear, 1 carrot and some bok choy, broccoli or kale.
I have been reaching some fitness and wellness milestones and have been posting them to my Facebook page until one of my friends asked me what program I was one so I thought that I would share my journey on my blog as well.
I am going to track my progress on this blog – I will put my milestones on my attempt to reduce my blood pressure and get it back to normal. I hope you will join me.
PLEASE NOTE: I am no expert so if you are seriously ill with high blood pressure or other condition that I have mentioned, please seek professional advice first. This is just what has worked for me.