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I have taken a long hard look at genetics and lifestyle choices through the lens of my older family members. To a large extent, we all carry distinct genes, but looking at health trends within our families can be helpful when sifting through diet and lifestyle choices. I have noticed a large amount of older relatives on blood pressure medications. I now have a choice to be reactive or proactive: I can wait and medicate or I can find remedies based on research to prevent this issue from forming in the first place. I chose to be proactive.

The studies and research focusing on healthy blood pressure management recommend a diet primarily based on a wide variety of whole, plant based foods: leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains and a healthy weight. In addition to losing 70+ pounds, I have decided to go 100% plant based. I felt the research was most compelling regarding reversing and preventing heart disease related conditions (and other conditions as well – more posts coming). It is part of my long term goal to prevent lifestyle ailments and avoid subsequent medicating.

When it comes to my health, I have a responsibility to take care of myself. And that means looking honestly at my lifestyle choices and where they will lead me in the next 5 to 50 years. I want to live a healthier life than my predecessors. And, I want to grow old without blood pressure medication, stints in my veins, open heart surgery and a machine to help me breathe at night.

I have to study my relatives’ choices, understand where they lead and be aware of the consequences of their lifestyle choices. I have a better chance at a healthy and happy life as I age if I do not follow in their footsteps and accept cardiovascular failure as an age related illness. Statistically, it is not. It is largely a lifestyle consequence and one which I can prevent by adhering to a plant based diet.