Friday, February 21, 2014

Eliminating Processed Foods from my Heart Healthy Marfan Syndrome Lifestyle Diet

Knowing what you need to do and doing it are two totally opposite actions.  I know I must avoid processed food if I want my body to continue to function.
Oh no! My favorite fish is loaded with ugh fructose corn sweeteners!

But as I am writing this post about the importance of eating not-toxic, un-processed, real food that even looks like real food, well….I just finished off three fig bar cookies (hey….Aldi foods sells them for $0.89 a package and they are loaded with high fructose corn sugar (HFCS)).  I know it is important that I give up HFCS.  I know this in my brain.  But my brain does not always carry majority rule over my tongue and my mouth and my belly.

Dylan, our teen grandson who is living with us while his mom recovers from a serious brain injury attends the local jiu jitsu dojo most week nights.  His instructor and I were talking about diet the other day and I really, really agreed with his statement, "everyone has to have their cheats".

My cheats today were the three fig bars.

Seriously, I am proud I stuck with food that looked like food today.  Except for the fig bars.

I ate nuts, oranges, greens from the garden, chopped okra, cooked beans, garlic, a couple pears and a can of sardines for breakfast.  The sardines were very, very rich in fish oil. So rich in fact that hours later when Dylan came home from school he asked me, "Papa K, did you eat sardines today?"  So despite scrubbing my teeth, gargling with peroxide and flossing, the fishy smell still lingered.

Sardines and fishy smelling fish are full of important omega three fatty acids.

A small handful of walnuts each day is always part of my omega three purposeful diet but the walnuts do not pack the omega three punch strong smelling sardines do.  Herring has long been another  favorite fish dish.  I especially love(d) Vita Herring in wine sauce and  in sour cream.  OMG.  Melodious waves of joy and ecstasy would roll across my tongue at the first fishy bite.

But no more.

You see, I have started reading labels and this has led me to some seriously sleepless nights lately.  I am finding out what I am really eating.  And most of the processed foods I am eating, no matter how healthy the labels look, are filled with chemicals and MSG and HFCS and other fabricated compounds right out of a show like the 'Twilight Zone'.

I knew this years ago but my tongue and stomach and mouth kept vetoing my brain's attempts to boycott these processed foods.

Unfortunately I am finding that if a food tastes really, really, really tasty then either MSG or HCFS are present.

I was very afraid of reading the labels on my Vita Herring because my brain was in no mood to piss off my tongue, mouth and stomach.  But I read the labels and sure enough they were full of high fructose corn syrup.

Sadly, I usually do not change habits until I have to.  And so it was with my Vita Herring.  A while back I started noticing my blood pressure spiking after I'd eaten my Vita, my systolic hitting the 150s.  150 systolic is way too high for someone like me with a dissected descending aorta.  In fact, systolic that high is deadly for me.

My brain knew the overload of HFCS was to blame but I tried eliminating every other food I'd been eating recently with no luck.  So I read the ingredients again, just to be sure.  HFCS was a major ingredient.

So I threw my Vita Herring away.  And I cut out all the HFCS and MSG out of my diet (except for those three fig bars today).

Within a week my blood pressure had returned to a normal range of 110/55-120/60.

My brain finally won the vote.

Yet this means that I've had to eliminate almost every processed bit of food from my diet.  No more ranch or blue cheese dressing.  Too much MSG.  No more fig bars.  After today.  No more ketchup.  No more delicious buffalo wing sauces.

I am going primal.

I knew I had to do this all along.  Friends urged me to do this for years.

The only reason my brain has won is because I really, really want to live.

Processed foods are so addicting.  We live in a world today where slow death by toxic food is an accepted norm.  My tongue, mouth and stomach are laughing at my brain for thinking this.

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