or, as I am fond of saying, “Calories are cheap, nutrition is expensive.”
After having gone through this fruitless ordeal, I am finding my way through the morass of the pharma/insurer/federal/academe conspiracy that passes for the American medical system.
(Delete long-winded rant). Suffice it say that low potassium levels can actually raise blood pressure, which is sort of a counterproductive side effect in a hypertensive drug.
Raptitude’s blog post helped me articulate a direction I’ve been heading for a while: I don’t want to be a typical American with a sackful of pills. My mom told me all her friends think it is normal to take a pill for every decade old you are. That may be typical, but it’s definitely not normal. It’s not what I want. What I want doesn’t come in a safety-capped pharmacy bottle.
So I’ve been reading, listening and thinking. Rather than tell you all my interpretations, you can read it for yourselves.
- is potassium an underlooked cardio-protective nutrient? [UCLA]
- sacrilege? low fat diets aren’t better? [NYTimes]
- how the ag/chem/medical complex may have sent us down the wrong path [UK Guardian] (and why hasn’t the USDA recommendations to switch to mostly vegetable oil proven effective [AJCN] at reducing cardiovascular disease rates?)
- when your Omega3/Omega6 balance is out of whack [Exp Biol Med] and which ag conglomerates benefited from pushing all that corn and canola oil anyway?
- why take Omega3 supplements [NPR Diane Rehm show]
- Each day pasture-raised cattle spend in a feedlot reduces its Omega3s [www.eatwild.com] (and by extension, how a refined food diet is not so good for us either)
in the queue
- The Great Cholestrol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan (yes late to the party, I’ll get a good deal on a used copy)
What’s working (because I finally am measuring optimal blood pressure readings at home)
- cutting my meds in half, addressing the hypokalemia head-on, rather than throwing another hypertensive drug at the problem;
- a potassium rich diet, striving for 7 fruit and veg per day;
- not worrying too much about saturated fat and cholesterol, especially from our own yard eggs;
- pounding down Omega 3 supplements every day;
- running away from any food that comes in a box (ok there is one throw down box of Kraft dinner, but that’s for a major sick day. It’s our family comfort food). If I can’t in principle make it from scratch, it’s probably over-processed calories.
- working out at the gym 5 days a week;
- getting on with my life and taking up the mandolin.
After firing two primary care docs in 12 months, I like my new physician. He reads, communicates and is keeping up with science. Most I’ve run into don’t, can’t and aren’t. Too many seem to get all their current information from their lawyers and drug company reps. I’m no physician or scientist, and don’t rely on my opinions to interpret all those science papers for yourself. But at the end of the day, my health choices have to be my own responsibility, well-tempered with a grain of common sense.
It’s not perfect. I haven’t effected a miracle: there still is that diet soda problem. I still have terrible white-coat symptoms. Eating fresh veg takes more time and costs money (corn syrup calories are subsidized by the industrial ag/federal government complex). I crave cookies. What’s different is that I may have finally realized there isn’t any magic to healthy choices. Just do the work and results follow. Duh.