The DASH diet has been around a long time. I just learned of it in January, when it was again named one of the best diets in the country by U.S. News & World Report. DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
Ken and I both are on blood pressure medications, and we’d love to take less of them. We both wanted to shed a few pounds. So when I proposed this new way of eating, Ken was totally on board.
I checked out some websites, found a Facebook support group page, and bought a book for my Kindle to learn how it all worked. You’ll find a ton of DASH diet books on the shelves and on Amazon, but I chose “The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution” by Marla Heller, because it seemed to fit our goals and I just liked the tone. It doesn’t promise a quick fix; it presents a long-term lifestyle change that’s doable and sustainable.
The list of Don’ts is pretty short:
- Very limited added sugar
- Very limited refined starches
The Do list is much longer:
- All the non-starchy vegetables you want
- Up to 3 servings of fruit a day
- Up to 3 servings of whole grains a day
- Low-fat or non-fat dairy
- Lean protein
- Nuts, beans and seeds
- Healthy fats (for example olive oil and avocado)
I have three meals and usually three snacks a day. Some kind of protein is included in every meal and snack — it may be meat, nuts, beans or dairy. My favorite snacks are cottage cheese with chopped tomatoes and fresh ground pepper, or plain nonfat yogurt with fresh fruit.
No Crust Pizza from the "Weight Loss Solution" book
I try to incorporate veggies in every meal — even breakfast — which may be a hard-boiled egg or a frittata muffin and a slice of Canadian bacon. I try to keep plastic containers in the fridge well-stocked with cut-up celery, peppers, radishes and cucumbers.
We’re allowed two or three planned splurges every week, so on our date night we may treat ourselves to some really good bread, or potatoes. Maybe we’ll go out for ice cream one night to celebrate a small victory or milestone. We always save room for Sunday morning Bible study treats, because St. Paul has some talented and generous bakers!
So far the results have been everything I’d hoped. Ken has lost 21 pounds so far. I lost about 19 and I'm trying to hold steady at about 108. I was able to decrease my blood pressure medication. Our cholesterol and triglycerides are lower than they were before DASH. Overall this eating plan is working well for us and we’re sticking with it.