Izzy's story: Living with the DASH diet
"I'm a believer!"
That's the proclamation from Izzy, a 60-year-old clerk from Petaluma, Calif. She's talking about a way of eating that helped her lose weight and brought her blood pressure way down. "If there were a commercial for the DASH diet, I'd volunteer to be a spokesperson," says Izzy.
The DASH diet is an eating plan that is low in fat but rich in low-fat dairy foods, fruits, and vegetables. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure.
"I didn't have any blood pressure problems until after I'd been quite overweight for about 10 years," Izzy says. But when her blood pressure tests were a little high, she knew her health could be at risk.
Today, 2 years after deciding it was time to take action, Izzy has lost her extra weight. And her blood pressure is 110 to 115 over 60 to 65.
Eating more vegetables
Izzy happens to love fresh vegetables. So she started using them to fill her plate—and her stomach. "My lunch usually includes a heaping plate of raw cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes," she says. She also makes sure she has 3 servings of dairy every day, usually in the form of low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks and fruit smoothies made with nonfat vanilla yogurt.
She says she makes a big effort to eat from all the other food groups, but vegetables are her go-to food. "They're always my entree, you might say. When I have meat or rice or something like that, it's like a side dish."
"Finding a permanent way to eat healthier seemed like an impossible thing to me," Izzy says. "I didn't see how I could ever give up so many things I love. But here's the thing: I didn't give them up. Yep, I still have my beloved nachos once in a while, but my portions are much smaller—just enough to satisfy my craving, you know?"
This story is based on information gathered from many people facing this health issue.