Getting Personal: I Need To Sweat!!

I will turn 65 in October. Holy Smokes! It breaks my heart. Mainly that’s because I realize how many more miles I have behind me than I have in front of me. I love life. Looking back, my life has been an amazing adventure. Yes, it has had some terrible, I mean awful, periods of pain: physical, emotional, spiritual, and even financial. But when I look at the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the relationships I’ve developed, the number of people I’ve led, and learned from, I am amazed. I have been fortunate.

The time has come for another change. It’s scary. Really scary. At the end of September, I’m moving back to the USA. I’m retiring, or at least, mostly so, and I’m going to travel, write, and podcast. I will travel at least until January of 2022. I will hopefully find where I want to settle by then.

As a part of my preparations for this coming change, I’ve been researching my health challenges and how I will treat them going forward. I should have done this years ago. In many ways I did, which is why I became a farmer to begin with. I wanted to eat organically, and wanted to eat grass fed and free range meats, eggs, and dairy. But there were specific things related to my heart condition and my blood pressure that I have mostly ignored.

I had my open heart surgery three years ago. And I’ve been on blood pressure meds since my heart attack and strokes, four year ago. Only recently, have I started studying how to naturally treat those conditions.

I have learned a great deal about which foods I should eat. Many of them are already incorporated into my eating plan. There are some kinds of fruit I need to eat more of, like bananas, apples, oranges, and grapefruit. There are some things I should cut back on, like butter and cream.

Those of you who are Keto Purists, will see those fruits to add, and the fats to cut, and shake your heads. You will think I’m abandoning the program.

I’m not. I’m modifying it, because of my needs. I have high blood pressure. Sometimes it has been very high. I no longer want to be dependent on pharmaceuticals. I want to practice what I preach. And that means I need to tweak and modify my eating plan.

I will still eat low carb. I may have to lean more on the South Beach Diet, than strict Keto. I have been researching their overlap and compatibility for a while now. And I think I have a plan on merging them. I will keep you well informed.

Also, as you know, I have long believed that if God made it (for food), it can’t be bad for us. It’s what we do with what He’s give us, that will determine whether it is a boon or a bane. Let’s take sugar for example. In it’s natural forms, like fructose in fruit, it is a benefit to us. The same is true for honey, and things like sorghum. When we strip it of all it’s natural benefits by highly processing it, like white sugar, or commercial honey (feeding sugar water to bees for example), we have taken what God has given us, and turned it into a monster.

I won’t go on and on, but that’s what we’ve done with wheat. We have changed the way we grow it, altered the varieties, changed the way we dry and process it. All to our detriment. Perhaps one day soon, I’ll write all about it. The end result is, bread, that was once called, the staff of life, is now, a poison, practically devoid of nutritional value.

The same is true of much of the fruit we buy at the grocery store. It has been altered for commercial purposes.

I have studied and studied, and found a plan that will work. Now I have to make it affordable. Eating well (healthily) should not be limited to the 1%. Eating well, yet affordably, was much easier when I had a farm. Now it will require work. But my health is worth the effort.

We all want stuff cheap and in easy reach. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, eating cheap so we can have all the nicest stuff in life, is a major flaw in our priorities. I am sensing another book. I have so much to say, and no space here to say it. Beware!

One of the things I have been noticing for the last several months, is, I don’t sweat in this country. My work is not physical. Even when I go out and walk, it’s never hot. It’s the 27th of August as I write this. Many of you in the States are still experiencing temps in the 90s and higher. I’m wearing a sweater. The temps and humidity rarely cause me to sweat. I miss that.

I have to take a diuretic several days a week because my blood pressure meds make me retain fluid. I don’t sweat enough to get rid of it. I never had that problem when I lived in Florida or Georgia. In fact, I remember, years ago, I had to take an extra T shirt and dress shirt to work with me in Florida, because by the time I walked from my car in the parking lot, to the office inside, I was soaked with sweat. When I farmed in GA, retaining fluid was not a problem. Making sure I stayed hydrated was the challenge. That was when I switched from sweet tea to unsweet. I needed the fluids without all the sugar.

I see an increase in sweating in my future. That’s why the potassium and magnesium, from things like bananas and sweet potatoes, may well benefit me. I’m not looking forward to sweating like a horse, which I will. But I am eager to experience the benefits it will bring.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a note or a question. I know this has been an odd post. I’m processing more than giving out info and advice. Thanks for lending an ear.

High Blood Pressure And Keto – Yikes!

I’m in a pickle. I have high blood pressure. I’ve had it for years. My mother had it. I don’t know about my grandparents. Mom was always told to take meds and cut back on salt. Like me, though, there was no way she was going to give up bacon and ham. She died of lung cancer, but her blood pressure was very high as well.

Over the last few months, I’ve been very concerned about all the meds I’m on. Let me back up. 5 years ago, I had my first stroke. It wasn’t a big one, but it was really scary. My mind was a mess. I couldn’t even hold an intelligent conversation. I could understand everything people said to me, but I couldn’t formulate a response. I used to be really quick with my memory. I was good at trivia games and stuff like that. Suddenly, my memory was in the slow lane.

Over a couple of months, things got better, and I could at least hold a conversation, and preach a bit. I had to teach myself to prepare sermons and speak publicly. It was a gradual process. Honestly, I preach and teach completely differently than I did before my first stroke. It’s not the same at all.

Anyway, this time in 2017, late August, I had a heart attack, and had two strokes while in hospital. It was so scary. Eventually, after much trial and testing, I had open heart surgery in June of 2018. The reason I didn’t die from the strokes was because of a birth defect. One of my arteries, doesn’t flow from the heart. It is attached to one of the other arteries. How weird is that? But because of the way my heart valves are misformed, one artery was not blocked. It attached to the other one before the blockage. God was looking out for me.

Anyway, while I was on the table, having triple bypass surgery, I had another stroke. Fortunately, and obviously, I didn’t die. I am, however, partially blind in my left eye.

While I was waiting for surgery, I was put on blood pressure meds, including a statin, and also a blood thinner. I was also given dihydracodeine for my very serious sciatica. I was told I could take 4 of those a day. I only take one, at night, an hour before bed.

After all that background, here’s the point. It’s been three years since my surgery. I’ve lost over 50 pounds., thanks to Keto. And I’m still taking every medication I was prescribed all that time ago. I don’t want to. I’m a believer in all things natural. These medications are not natural.

Here’s what I’m trying. First, I’m going to reduce my dihydracodeine to ½ a day. And try to wean myself off of it. It’s not very powerful, but it is an opioid. IMO, I should never have been kept on it this long. But because of Covid, I haven’t been able to see a doctor in person for almost 2 years.

For the BP meds, I’m going to start by reducing it to every other day, and monitor my blood pressure twice a day. Then I will quit the statin, followed by the Blood Pressure meds. Those, BTW, I discovered, have some side effects that are not good, including water retention, and brain fog.

I will eventually switch my blood thinner to a daily aspirin. I will also take my diuretic as needed.

Aspirin I trust. It’s natural. And I’m not worried about a diuretic.

I also have to make some adjustments to my diet. First, I need to start using more Olive Oil and less butter. I know butter works for Keto, and it tastes great. But it’s not the best for my blood pressure. I’m not going to switch to margarine, I’m just going to use more Olive oil for cooking. I’ll still put some butter on my cauliflower and my broccoli, fear not.

I have to cut back on cheese. This will be the hardest of all. Cheese is my favorite food. And it’s further ahead of every other food than Secretariat in the Belmont. I will switch to lower fat cheese, and varieties that are naturally lower in fat.

Also, I will reduce the amount of cream I eat. I know that is all contrary to Keto thinking, but sometimes health requires compromise. Besides, I need to cut my calories as I’m stuck on a long term plateau as far as weight loss is concerned. The scales won’t budge.

I’m also going to eat more berries, and a couple of bananas a week. Oh my word. I can hear people now, cancelling subscriptions to this blog. I’m still tracking my carbs, people. I’m just making adjustments so I can get off the meds.

I’m probably going to incorporate more apple cider vinegar, and some occasional citrus. I already drink very little alcohol, other than some red wine. Oh, caffeine. According to the literature, I need to watch my caffeing intake. Yikes. Giving up Dihydracodeine AND caffeine at the same time. Holy Smokes, I’m going to be a grump.

Seriously, I do take in a lot of caffeine. I start each day with two cups of coffee, then have hot and iced tea by the gallon. I will start by switching to one cup of coffee, and maybe have some decaf for the second. I am drinking a cup of decaf tea as I type this post. I don’t love decaf. I think you can taste the difference. But in hot tea, it’s not as bad. As for iced tea, its my drug of choice. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do. One thing at a time.

I already, eat right. I eat plenty of salmon and sardines. I eat mostly chicken and turkey and some lean cuts of beef and pork. All my veg is either organic or frozen. I have cut out sugar, and white flour, including white pasta. I eat no white rice.

I’ve been eating Keto, for a long time now. I’m just making tweaks to cut calories, and improve my blood pressure. I MIGHT have to raise my carbs ot 50 grams a day, knowing that I’m cutting calories at the same time. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I know this all sounds complicated. Sometimes our health is. I don’t want to be on medication the rest of my life. I’m antipharma. I’m one of the most outspoken people you’ll ever meet about it. And yet, I’ve found myself trapped in their chain of pills, prescriptions, and profits.

I have said before, I believe God built healing into creation. I believe in medicine, too. I believe that things like surgical techniques have changed the world. But I also believe, that Big Pharma is killing more people that it is helping. But I believe the same thing about Big Agra. And Big Supermarkets. I believe in farmers, I just believe they are trapped in the grip of big buisness like the rest of us.

Ok, I’m starting to ramble. That means it’s time to go. Thanks to all of you who read these epistles and rants. I don’t put them on Social Media. I’m just letting them grow, idle, or die, without promo. Please, if you get any benefit from them, drop me a note in the comments and tell your friends and family. Subscribe too. That always helps. I never hate disagreement. Just don’t be disagreeable about it. Drop those thoughts in the comments too. And any questions. Thanks for wading through today’s rant. You rock.