5.11.2020

Some days, it seems impossible to have a positive outlook on everything that's going on in the world. I go back and forth all the time, grasping for any semblance of control. One of the positive things I can control at the moment is my desire to become more comfortable in the kitchen. If I actually get good at it, that's a different story! A few months ago, I created a board on Pinterest and I titled it "cooking for the timid cook." I don't own any cookbooks or have many family recipes to go by, so I began searching for anything that looked delicious, somewhat healthy, and most importantly, doable! I've slowly been attempting different recipes, but since the pandemic started my efforts have increased.

As some of you know, I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2013. It's a scary thing to hear when you're 29 years old and otherwise healthy. I remember going to my doctor right before my wedding and the lead nurse joked that "we need to figure this out. You don't want to walk down the aisle and suddenly your heart explodes." Um, excuse me sir?! Not funny! Thanks for that. Anyway, after that morbid scenario, I've been doing my best to better manage what I put into my body. I struggle a lot and there's more I can always do, but thankfully I've gotten to a place where I'm finding it more manageable, and I'm being honest with myself instead of denying it's a problem.

I modify recipes to lower the amount of sodium, and I often adhere to DASH - dietary approaches to stop hypertension.  Lots of vegetables, certain fruits like blueberries, poultry, fish, and limiting sugar and alcohol intake (honestly the hardest part for me). I still drink, but I can't split a bottle of wine with a friend anymore. This isn't to say that my eating is perfect, or that I don't give into certain cravings, because I definitely do! I'm not sure I'll ever be able to give up my love of cheese entirely. I'm just more mindful, and having an underlying health concern that I'm finally dealing with head-on is a way to show love for myself.

Foods that are typically in my grocery cart:
Spinach
Broccoli
Asparagus
Sweet potatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Blueberries
Bananas
Salmon
Chicken
Ground turkey
Whole wheat bread
Eggs or egg whites
Cottage Cheese
Greek Plain Yogurt
Unsalted nuts
Olive Oil

Here are some favorites that are easy to throw together:
Smoothie with frozen and fresh blueberries (or whatever frozen and fresh fruit you may have), a handful of spinach or kale, plain yogurt, handful of walnuts, and water. Make sure to blend well.
Note: You can add some juice to make it even better, but just be mindful about added sugars. I like grapefruit juice but it counteracts my medications. 

Quick snack or even breakfast - cottage cheese with any type of berry (I obviously like blueberries) and a drizzle of local raw honey.

I love Greek flavors, so I try to make a salad or bowl with grilled or baked chicken, tomato, red onion, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese. I used a leftover Greek dressing from Baron's, but it's healthier to just add olive oil and lemon juice. 


I've saved a lot of really simple recipes on my Pinterest board, so I hope you'll take a look and follow along! There's a mix of everything, and as I said above, most recipes are easy to substitute or tailor to your specific tastes and dietary needs. I'm learning a lot, laughing at myself when I mess up, and cooking for fun...something I'm only beginning to understand!

If you have any recipes that you make often, please share below! Also, do any of you have high blood pressure? 

5 comments:

  1. welcome to your cooking journey, I don't have HBP but my mom and sister does, so I'm all too familiar with that. My mom HBP issues when I was really young is what me passionate about eating better. If you check my pinterest, I have severals boards dedicated to recipes and during the quarantine I started my own cookbook, it's just a notebook where I write my own recipes or recipes I've enhanced or recipes I got from my mom.

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    1. Thank you Rachelle! What a journey it's been LOL. I'm still a very timid cook, but I'm actually having some fun with it and am loving trying new recipes. I wish I could eat your food! Everything you make looks so delicious. It's really hard to see people you love struggle with a health issue like HBP but eating healthier definitely helps and I hope that maybe I can go without meds in the future and that my blood pressure gets normal.

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  2. Ugh I have been trying to cut down on my salt BUT IT IS SO GOOD! I have found myself going for a lot more spicy things to try to compensate for the salt so this is really great to know!

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    1. Salt is everything! Ugh I know, I love salt. That's been tough to cut back on in the past, but right now I'm just doing what I gotta do. No excuses! I do feel better, so that's a plus :)

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  3. It looks very appetizing. I like!

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