Blood Pressure – Plant Based Diet

The doctor told me I had high blood pressure, which was supposedly the reason I had a recent vision issue.

I re-started eating a whole-food plant-based diet again, after failing to stay on it the last two times I tried. I’ve been compliant except for one restaurant meal of minestrone soup and salad (both with some fat, the soup probably had beef broth).

This time I am starting out eating a starch-based McDougall plan diet, with a lot of starchy foods (rice, beans, potatoes, lentils), a lot of salad, some fruit and cooked leafy green vegetables. The first time I truly went plant-based I used the Fuhrman plan, which was primarily leafy green vegetables and salad.

I lost weight (water weight and then fat) very quickly under Fuhrman’s plan and then switched to more of a starch-based diet after most of the weight was off. I like greens, but I prefer a higher starch diet.

It’s not surprising that my weight is coming down more slowly under McDougall’s plan. Greens are lower in calories than starch. I lost some weight but not an extraordinary amount in the week+ so far. My blood pressure is starting to come down already. I haven’t taken any medication, and likely will not take any going forward. If McDougall’s predictions are correct I might be at normal blood pressure in a week or so.

It’s really amazing how quickly my body responded to plant-based eating vs. the extravagant meat-eating I normally do. I expect to lose weight since I am consuming fewer calories, but it’s astounding that my cardio vascular system improved so rapidly. My friend has been on blood pressure medication for 10 years to keep him at normal levels. I won’t need medication at all (supposedly).

I ate plant-based for 2.5 years between 2013 and 2015, and gave it up despite great health, normal BMI and feeling terrific. Stupid, I know.

The big issue has always been how hard it is to fit in while eating this way. That hasn’t changed. I am eating different food than my family; I can’t share the family dinner. There’s really almost nothing to eat a restaurant; I used to order something ridiculous like two salads and two baked potatoes, or just eating whatever crappy salad they serve. There are no fast food plant-based food joints; Vegan restaurants all use oil, so I can find about the same amount compliant food at a vegan place as a steakhouse. Every time I want to eat something at home I have to make it (other than fruit); I can’t reach for a pre-made box or a bag of anything.

None of that has changed and I am likely to feel annoyed and isolated by this diet once I regain my normal weight, just like the last time.

The difference now is that my normal SAD diet has given me significant health issues. I suppose I could do what everyone else does – go to the doctor all the time. But I think I would hate that more than the hassle of plant-based eating. I AM NOT living a life on pills and stents and constant doctor visits.

At the moment I do not crave the old food, but it’s been less than 2 weeks. We’ll see what happens. I feel a whole lot better already.

2 thoughts on “Blood Pressure – Plant Based Diet

  1. Thank you for your post. What was your blood pressure before and after going strict on the whole food-plant based diet? I lowered my LDL from 120 to 65 and my total cholesterol from 210 to 124 now. It’s almost 3 years later. Also came off blood pressure medication and my blood pressure is normal, but close to high. In addition, my heart rate was controlled with the medication but no longer has to be. It is 71. Previously before the med on the American diet, it was over 100: not good at all. Weight is down 50. Very happy!

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    1. That’s great. Congratulations on staying with the plan for 3 years! I hope you get all the support you need to stick with it forever. I regret going off it. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have high blood pressure now and I’d be normal weight. My bp hasn’t changed much so far, which confuses me since I’ve been told that bp can return to normal levels within a couple of weeks after starting the plan. But I feel better overall. I’m glad to hear you’ve had so much success. You’re an inspiration!

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