Cooking Master Girl – Pre-hypertensive Edition

I have a bit of a challenge lately, having had my blood pressure up to pre-hypertensive level consistently for the past week. I never really monitored my blood pressure level before, but I wasn’t feeling well at the start of last week, and they checked and found out that my BP was a bit on the high side. Indeed, I have the genetic pre-disposition to hypertension, but it was as if there was a switch that turned on when I reached 30. Last November my BP also already went up. Seems like I really have to do something actively about it now.

Thus the real challenge: what should I eat? I know that I should avoid fatty and salty foods, and thus fastfood, most processed foods and instant foods should be avoided. Therefore I have to prepare my own food five days a week at the condo, and I only have a microwave and an oven toaster to make do with. I have to be a little bit creative.

Armed with a little research, I made my way through the supermarket earlier with a revised grocery list. I got back to my place after, and removed the instant noodles and canned meat from my pantry. I have to avoid them at all cost now.

For dinner, I prepared grilled chicken in the oven toaster and put together a simple salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing. I took pains to marinade the chicken in everything except salt – I put calamansi (a local lime), olive oil, and some spices. It tasted ok so far, but i’ll probably still add some more spices next time.

I got a lot of grains for brekkie – rolled oats, wholegrain cereals, muesli. I also got high-calcium low-fat milk to match. That should keep my tummy entertained in the mornings for the next few weeks.

For snacks I got fresh fruits, unsalted mixed nuts, and low fat yogurt. I also got wholegrain loaf for whatever – for sandwiches, for pizza bread, or just as a match to anything for meals.

Let’s see in the next few days how things work out. Hopefully there will be enough variety, enough flavor, as well as reduced salt and fat in everything I eat.I’m also hoping that I’ll be hsppy with the food I prepare so it will be sustainable. Once I have my blood pressure under control without the need for medication, I may be able to throw in the occasional fatty and/or salty treat.

The fitness bug

I think the museum team may have caught the fitness bug. A few people from the team have already started attending fitness camps after work hours. More than 20 of us got a 15-day pass to a yoga place that is opening soon. Small groups have been running or swimming once a week. The office fridge is now filled with a number of milk cartons of all types, and the pantry cabinet filled with different kinds of cereals.

I must admit, though, that I sort of started the milk-and-cereal trend in our pantry. I have a carton of non-fat high-calcium milk and a box of high-fibre cereals in the pantry (with my name written all over it, literally). I also try to go brisk walking at least once a week, though I don’t usually do it with other people. I’m back to yoga too, and hoping to stay active in yoga at least once a week. In short, I am one of the people in the museum team with the fitness bug. It’s good though. It’s good to be in the company of health enthusiasts, not to mention, a group far from vices (unless you consider Jollibee Coke Float a vice, hehe).

I have a long way to go in terms of fitness. My heart does not allow me for high intensity cardio workouts (and even mid-intensity would still leave me knocked-out), and so I have to find a good fitness regimen that has low-intensity cardio but will still help me reach my targets. I’m hoping that regular brisk-walking and yoga would do the trick. I also need to find a diet that I can stick to, hopefully something that won’t leave me hungry or craving, but satisfy my hunger pangs without the excess calories. I still have to lose N lbs. (where N>10).

Well, we are all hoping for the best. 🙂