It’s never too early or too late to reconsider your healthy life choices. Recently a high blood pressure scare prompted me to reconsider what I was doing with my health, and if I actually was as healthy as I thought I was. I guess I would have always considered myself to be a little bit of a health nut, at least compared to what my friends were doing, and certainly I was known as “the healthy vegetarian” of the group. I never would have considered myself to be “the unhealthy one”, but was I?
About 16 years ago I first adopted a vegetarian diet. Admittedly I knew nothing about healthy eating or the necessary nutrients for optimal health. My main reasons for the dietary change at that time were animal welfare and honestly, a way to stick out and be quirky and unique through high school. Since then it has been and on and off again love affair with fruits and vegetables. For most of my vegetarian career I was what I would call a “junk food vegetarian”. My diet was high in fats, sodium, and carbohydrates. Most of my meals would be drenched in cheese, sauces, or riddled with highly processed fake meat alternatives.
As I aged, I noticed I just didn’t feel good anymore. I erroneously self diagnosed myself with needing meat. After all it’s what people had been telling me for years. I slowly started to integrate meats into my diet and was surprised to find that not only was I not feeling any better, I was feeling much worse. I, just by chance, had my blood pressure checked and was shocked to find it was dangerously high. Having a family history of heart problems, I was in absolute disbelief! I exercised a few times a week, and ate healthfully enough, I thought.
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