Stroke Prevention Nutrition – Where Do I Start?

Moving Forward

My focus in researching strokes is learning how to reduce or eliminate strokes, starting with all natural methods available to all of us. During the initial searches I have done, I have found several primary steps anyone can take without even stepping into a doctor’s office and considering medication. The main things we can do to reduce the risk of strokes are:

  • Stay active or increase your physical activityWalking
  • Maintain your healthy weight or lose unwanted excess weight
  • Continue eating healthy or improve your eating habits

Today I would like to focus on Stroke Prevention Nutrition. This is big topic to cover so I will just introduce some basic ideas in this article and delve deeper in future articles.

Stroke Prevention Nutrition

One of the first things I heard while in the hospital after my stroke was “you have to change your diet.” It was a little foggy while trying to concentrate on the words coming out of the doctor’s mouth but I definitely heard words, like

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Lean Proteins
  • Mediterranean Diet
  • …….(the rest of what he said got a little foggy)

The question you all are asking is, did I follow what the doctor said (after my wife repeated it to me at home many more times)? The answer is a resounding no. I have tried to change my diet but the truth is I have gained additional weight and have not changed my diet permanently.

 

I want to place my stroke disclosure here for everyone. I am not in the medical profession and I have not reduced my stroke risks yet. All I am is a stroke victim (and it seems to run in my family) and I am still working every day to make positive changes and along the way, I hope to help you make changes to keep far away from this horrible health problem.

How Do I Start Eating Healthy

Let me just start with the simple answer. We need to stop eating fast food, processed foods (at home or a restaurant), and high calorie drinks. I am not going to hit you with a lot of industry labels here. I just want for all of us to hear it put simply, including myself. It is more difficult but we need to make more of our own food at home and concentrate on fruits and vegetable way more than we have in the past.

Strawberries

Without even going into high fat, low carb, high fiber……. I think we can all understand the simple stuff. Take some time at first without even making major changes to your diet and list what you are eating every day and be honest with yourself. No one has to see your list. You (we) just need to know what we are shoving into our mouths. You will be horrified on how much junk and how many calories you are eating every day and over time that just adds to more weight, higher blood pressure, and a higher risk of stroke.

Note BookThere are some great resources on the web, in the store, and on your smart phone that will make it extremely easy to do some basic tracking. Do your best to track what time of the day you eat, what you eat and how much of it you eat. What is going to happen is you will understand quickly why you have gained weight and why it is so hard to get it off. Once you have tracked your food for a few days to a week then it’s time to start thinking about easy changes to start improving your diet.

Diet is Not a Bad Word

Everyone thinks that “going on a diet” is a bad word. Well, it is if “going on a diet” is just something you do once in a while and there is no long term benefit for the changes or if the changes are not sustainable.

Diet Definition: The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. (Definition found on Google)

The word diet is primarily used to describe how you commonly eat. Most of us fall into the “See Food” diet category. If we see it, then we eat it. So let’s start changing our diet without going on a diet. There are many good diet programs available and here are a few of them:

  • Weight Watchers
  • Nutrisystem
    South Beach Diet
  • Mayo Clinic Diet

And the list goes on and on and on. These are some great places to start but let’s wrap up here by just making some easy changes that all of us can do.

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Difficult changes in life are always best to do one step at a time.Walking on a Beach

  1. Stop or reduce bad habits. This could be drinking to many sodas, eating out to often, cooking with high fat oil or butter.
  2. Start exercising or increase your physical activity. You don’t have to join a gym or do things that feel like you are killing yourself. Start by taking a nice walk. I don’t care if anyone thinks that walking is for old people. Even young people like to go for walks along a lake or in a park, especially if it is with someone they like.
  3. Begin adding one fruit or vegetable a day into your new “sustainable” diet.

These are just a few simple things we can all start with.

Let me tell you a few things I have done which have been easy to sustain. I immediately slowed down on the number of Mountain Dews I was downing each day. I started taking my dogs for a walk, especially on beautiful days. I added some natural applesauce and bananas each day as I like these and it’s not hard to tell myself to keep eating them. I also found a great pasta dish that my entire family enjoys that is actually pretty healthy. It has a reasonable amount of pasta (it’s not mostly pasta), grilled chicken breast and several types of vegetables that we all like. Put all of that together with about a half of a cup of light Alfredo sauce and you have a great tasting dish and no one even realizes they are eating a lot of vegetables.

It’s really that easy to start making changes.

How About We Start this Together

It does not matter if a healthy diet is all new to you or if you have already started working on it. Let’s decide on a few new things to do differently this week. I have been working on this a long time and here are a few things I am going to do differently this coming week:

  • Re-focus on eating more healthy for the entire week.
  • Add boiled eggs to a few meals.
  • Go for a walk at least three times next week.
  • Buy a lunch cooler to take some healthy snacks or lunch to work.

That’s more than a few things but I have been working on this for some time so I may have a head start on you. If you’re new to this than try these few things:

  • Only have one soda per day and try switching to a low calorie version.
  • Go for one walk if you have been a couch potato.
  • Pick up a fruit you like at the store. Maybe even try the small fruit snacks with no sugar added.

This is easy to start and it doesn’t even cost money by joining a diet program or paying for a gym membership.
It all starts with one step and that is for us to make the decision to start.

Young Friends Walking

 

 

 

 

About Rick & My Stroke

Rick Belden

Strokes run in my family but I never thought it would happen to me.

My Early Years

I grew up living in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington. Our family was always outdoors working on our land or going camping nearby. I lived for sports in high school, playing year around. I was able to eat anything in any amount and nothing seemed to ever stick to my body except muscle. Of course that all changed after college as I moved into my career as a transportation engineer designing highways. That line of work involved a lot of sitting, designing and attending meetings. The weight started adding up while the physical activity became nearly nonexistent.

 

I knew several people in my family had strokes, including my Mother. I cannot recall how many light strokes she had but there were several of them. One stroke my Mother had when she was pregnant with my little brother, caused here to go into convulsions. My brother died during the convulsions and my Mother lost about half of the use of her right arm.

Many years went by and everything was fine with my Mother and myself but then the strokes hit my Mother again and myself for the first time.

My First and Only Stroke to Date

One day in January 2012 I had been working many late nights on a highway project. I had about three nights or more of very little sleep or none at all. It was easier to do that when I was younger. We made our submittal on the project and I took a sigh of relief and went off to bed. There was nothing to worry about and I could rest easy now that everything was finished.

I’m not sure if was partially to do with my family history of strokes, the stress of the job or not eating well during that time or if it was the extra weight I had gained. It may have been all the above. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling numbness in my right arm but it must have been me sleeping wrong on my right side. I rolled over and tried to stretch out my arm to grab the nightstand to just re-position my arm to get the tingling to stop but the next thing I knew I was rolling over on to the floor. I tried to push myself up but nothing was working right. My wife realized something was wrong and asked me if I was ok but the words in my mind came out all garbled and I couldn’t get my mouth to work right.

What a scare that was for me and my family. My children had never been so scared. The firemen and the paramedics came and the next thing I knew I was having a nice vacation in the hospital for about three days. The doctor had to relay most everything to my wife because even though I was listening and nodding my head, most of the information was leaving my mind as quickly as it arrived.

It took my about two months before the numbness in my right arm, right leg and right side of my face went away and physically, everything returned to normal. It took about six months before I could sit down for long periods of time again and concentrate on my work as I was able to do before. Fifteen minutes was about the longest length of time I could focus on work before having to get up and clear my head.

You would think that light stroke was all I would need and I would completely clean up my life to reduce any future stroke risks but that wouldn not be the truth.

WHY I WANT TO HELP STROKE VICTIMS

I want to help people reduce the risk of having a stroke for personal reasons. I have seen what happens firsthand to people with even a light stroke but now I have seen my Father have to take care of my Mother 24/7 since she had a severe stroke in 2010. This is partly a path I want to take to help myself and keep my immediate family from having to care for me if I ever have a severe stroke. I didn’t realize that anyone who has had a stroke has about a 10 times increased likelihood of having another stroke.

It became obvious to me, even after a short time of stroke research, that proper diet, weight loss and increased physical activity were some of the most important things anyone can do to reduce the risk of a stroke.

MY GOAL

My goal here at Stroke Prevention Nutrition is to help people who have had a stroke or are potential stroke victims to follow along with me as we discover together how to reduce our stroke risks. I have to warn you in advance though that I am against medicine to reduce the risk of stroke. I understand that many people need to take proper medication but I truly believe that there are lifestyle changes and natural remedies that can help most of us in this journey we are on.

 

I hope you walk with me through this for yourself and for your loved ones. I believe I will have great things to share with you, not only in ways to reduce stroke risks but also in my personal success story of making changes based on what we find here together.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Here’s to a Brighter Future,

Rick

www.strokepreventionnutrition.com

Click on the image below to see a YouTube video of my stroke story.

My stroke story