As you may know, I was recently diagnosed with venous insufficiency and put on a low-sodium diet. For some reason, at my doctor’s visit I wasn’t offered any resources and I didn’t think to ask for them. When I got home I was a little lost on how to implement low sodium or what it even meant, so I did an internet search.
I found out that low-sodium refers to a daily diet of less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day. I also discovered that the National Institutes of Health helped to develop the DASH diet (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which is lower in fat and sodium and higher in fiber than the typical American diet.
First, there are a few calculations you will need to make to determine your caloric intake on the plan. You will need to determine your BMI (Body Mass Index) and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Since I have been on Sparkpeople since 2008, I already knew these numbers, but the book includes links to online calculators that make these numbers easy to figure.
The DASH Diet Health Plan includes tips on getting started and finding success with the program. One of the best tips is to find a salt substitute. I can’t use a traditional salt substitute (like Lo-Salt or Nu-Salt) because they are high in potassium, which mixes badly with my blood pressure meds. Instead, I use a blend of herbs and seasonings which I find to be more flavorful than salt for most cooking.
Another great recommendation is to drink plenty of water. Ever since I had a kidney infection more than 20 years ago, I have been hyper-vigilant about drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. I keep an 18 ounce water bottle with me at all times.
The book includes dietary recommendations for a range of caloric intake as well as shopping lists of recommended foods. But for me, the best part of The DASH Diet Health Plan is the sample eating plan and recipes. I have developed a great love for balsamic vinegar!! Some of my favorite recipes in the book are the Italian Toast Plate, Cherry French Toast, Rosemary Chicken, and Artichoke, Shrimp & Scallops. Art has been bemoaning the loss of his beloved french dips, and I just discovered a low-sodium French Dip recipe in the book, so we will be trying that soon!!
Also included is the 28-Day Dash to Fitness Workout Plan. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this part of the program, because I already do an exercise program through Spark, but I think the Dash workout plan would be highly beneficial to someone who is just starting out with exercise.
It’s been a little over 3 weeks since I started the DASH diet. I have lost more than 5 pounds and lowered my blood pressure by about 15 points. In addition, and my friends on Spark will get this the most: I have had more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day but two, with no problem!!
I highly recommend this book for those who are looking for ways to lower their blood pressure and get healthier. I give The DASH Diet Health Plan four stars.
I was not provided any incentive for writing this review. I bought this book with my own money and wanted to share the information with my readers.