The D.A.S.H.(Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) Diet has been advertised as one of the healthiest diets ever that helps you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. This is done by a combination of limiting unhealthy foods and increasing your healthy food intake.
One of the greatest and most vague bits of this diet is that you get to make your own menu and meal plans as long as you follow the DASH diet guidelines. While for some this is easy, most others find it hard to even plan that much out.
After reading many resources one this way of eating, below is how I would start my first week one this diet as well as some recommended readings for you to look at and perhaps buy as you continue your journey to make yourself healthier and happier. Here is my Dash Diet menu and eating plan that I would follow, I hope you enjoy.
The DASH Diet is broken down as follows:
Grains must be whole grains. These can include oats, brown, red and black rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and popcorn.
Vegetables include all vegetables that you can think of. The main thing with this category is to make sure that if you are using canned vegetables, make sure to use low-sodium or no-sodium varieties.
Fruits are basically all fruit. As above with the vegetables, the main thing you want to watch out for when getting the canned varieties is to avoid ones that are in light or heavy syrup. Instead, look for ones that are in fruit juice.
Dairy specifically needs to be one the lower fat end of the spectrum. For milk, you want either the 1% or no-fat version, and go for lower-fat cheeses.
Lean Meats include any protein that contains less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3.5 ounce serving. These can include beef, chicken, pork, fish, poultry, soy and eggs.
Fats and Oils actually are needed by your body to help absorb certain nutrients and vitamins, and these can range from cooking oils and oil toppers, to dressings and butters.
Seeds, nuts and legumes are delicious and can include sesame, peas, green beans, almonds, walnuts, lentils and sunflower seeds. With these, you want to make sure that any you get have no coatings or salt.
Sweets and alcohol are pretty self-explanatory. These are things that you generally want to avoid, but if you are going to indulge try to stick to how much you are “allowed”.
As a person who knows that habits are good to form when it is a positive activity, I follow the same rule when making my meal plan. I give myself a couple of options to chose from for certain meals of the day and repeat those throughout the week.
This not only will get me used to the portion sizes that I am actually going to be eating(and yes they are going to be different than you expect) but also makes it easier to do my grocery shopping. In my opinion, it is better to buy several of one item than to buy several items that you will maybe eat once every so often.
I broke my meals down as such
Snack 1 Options:
Snack 2 Options:
Snack 3 Options:
Sweets and Desserts: I am not going to put anything here because I would try to stick to not eating any. IF I did find myself in a situation where I wanted to indulge, I would follow the guidelines. I am female, so that would be one serving of alcohol on any one day, and less than 5 servings of sweets in a total week.
Here are a few suggestions for continued reading as you go along your journey to a healthier you in your pursuit of lower blood pressure.
I would have to say the biggest thing is portion size. Anything that you are going to consume you must look up what a single serving is of it. For grains, it can be 1/2-1 cup, for vegetables it can be 1 cup.
One of the main culprits of high blood pressure is too much salt consumption. The human body does require salt, it is an electrolyte and can’t function without it. Unfortunately many people consume WAY too much. While this might be something that you are used to adding to every meal, try not too. Even a minor reduction in salt intake can be beneficial.
Added sugar can contribute to being overweight and that can contribute to high blood pressure. Hidden sugars can be found in drinks, snacks, cereals, and foods you wouldn’t expect such as chips and even things as simple as canned fruits. Just make sure to read the nutrition facts labels and see what you are really consuming.
You might want to consider tracking your food intake. It will be hard at first to change everything if you are used to eating a different way. Tracking what you eat, how much, and when is a great way to remain mindful and curb your indulging behaviors.
The last point I want to make is to remain hydrated. As your body starts to get all this nutrient dense food, it will begin to expel toxins that have been stored in your body. This is natural, and unfortunately will make you feel like crap for a little while.
When I have gone on cleaner eating journeys, I have experienced up to a week of my body detoxing from the crud I had been putting in it. The best thing I can suggest is to continue on.
As always, make sure you have informed and cleared any diet change with your doctor. It is very important to be monitored and adjustments made to the diet plan to fit what you need. You doctor and/or healthcare team can and should be a part of these decisions.
If you have questions, comments, or just want to say hello, please leave me a message below. Look forward to hearing from you and here is to your new journey 🙂