Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our thoughts on oatmeal :)

Well! Quite a discussion got going in the comments yesterday. Instead of replying to each, I'll just put my thoughts here.

So, Chris' BP was 120/80 so technically normal, but on the edge of being considered prehypertension. He always used to have low BPs, like me, more like 105ish/60ish. He'd like to be back to that place and maintain as we age.

The big thing that has changed? Going paleo. I'm NOT saying eating paleo causes high BP, though!! I'm just saying that's the major change in his diet since this change. It COULD just be genetics or something, who knows. But, being scientists at heart, we want to see if a tweak in the diet might affect long term change for the better.

Eating real oatmeal (not instant) a few times a week for a few months is just a test... One with valid research behind it.

Eating a diet high in fiber can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 g of fortified oats has 10 g of fiber. Oatmeal is high in  SOLUBLE fiber. Soluble fiber is unique in that it dissolves in water, as opposed to insoluble fiber, which absorbs water. Some research shows that soluble fiber helps reduce blood pressure.

And he is going to continue eating paleo 90-95% of the time (I aim for over 95% of the time but fail sometimes haha).. Because we truly believe a diet high in lean protein and vegetables (all if high quality) will keep us healthy.

This is just an experiment, because... Why not? I do not believe a few servings of oats will wreak havoc inside my husband. If, in a few months, his BP is the same or if other readings are out if whack, back to no oatmeal.

He eats the same foods I do, and I have low BP readings, so his body is just different. We eat so many veggies and such good quality meat, we just aren't sure where to tweak our diet as far as all of that goes to work on his blood pressure, because the diet is already spot on. We eat leafy greens, seeds, bananas (all good for BP), don't add salt to food or buy processed foods (which are high in sodium), and aren't big drinkers.

So, what else?

We are rational human beings who do not think we know everything. That's why we tried paleo even though people were dismissing as a fad diet... And we each began to maintain 10 lbs lighter than previously and noticed reduced inflammation and higher energy. The experiment stuck!

We like to read, learn, and question. That's all. 

I get that wheat and grains in THIS day and age are not like they used to be and no longer good for us because they are changed at a genetic level. That's why I don't eat them. But there is a lot of research out there that shows oatmeal can help lower BP, and BP is a really important thing to have under control. Right now, it's worth the slight risk from the grains to see if it makes a significant difference.

And, as far as we know, his cholesterol is perfectly normal, so we aren't worried about that. I eat about 8-10 eggs a week and my cholesterol is normal. I know there's a lot of conflicting information out there about egg yolks and whites and good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, but it's never been an issue in our lives so, we just keep everything in moderation hope for the best.

I'm still keeping on with my normal diet!

I was proud of myself yesterday. At work, my office mate asked how long I would be there, and when I told her she insisted that I stop by before I leave for a piece of cake she had made. It was full of Bailey's Irish cream and rich chocolate and whiskey and sound delicious! She definitely is a food pusher. And cake, it's a huge weakness of mine. I love the word cake, I love cake frosting, I love cake! (Cake, cookies and pizza are my holy trinity hahaha)

So, what did I do?

Just thanked her politely for the offer, didn't commit to coming for the piece of cake and just went home when work was finished.

Down to 122.4 today. :) Finishing my coffee, walking the dog, hitting the books then going to the therapist.

Have a beautiful day!!


  1. APOE geneotype. If you have one or two copies of APOe 4 , then a higher fat diet may not be the best thing. It's been a popular podcast topic lately.

    That's why some people do better on a plant based or plant based paleo approach. Search Dr Loren Noel on podcasts/iTunes
    Customizing your food template to keep you well is a lot of work and a great honor. To address major health risks with out drugs is a great thing. Hope Chris cans find what works. :) Karen P

  2. Great job on passing up the cake this time. It does sound like a rather tempting one. I think swapping the eggs for oatmeal will be an interesting test. If something isn't quite right, tweaking something and analyzing the results is the way to go. You may find the best solution is a change in the diet, or you may find that aging may be at play. You're on the right track and know your bodies best. Have a great day.

  3. First, 120/80 is THE medical community's definition of a normal blood pressure. EXACTLY normal.

    I suspect that his bp being that and slightly higher than his normal, could be related to stress. Stress over you; you've been pretty sick (recently almost died), now you are having emotional issues and starting therapy over that, he's gone a lot, and I don't even know what else work-wise or otherwise might be going on. Stress is the fastest cause of heightened bp.

    And the fiber that lowers bp doesn't have to be grains of any kind. That's what veggies, particularly raw, are for. But hey, you guys do what you feel is right and seems right. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't.

    I just know I've gone from 2 high dosage bp meds a day, and still uncontrolled high bp, to 1/4 pill dosages a day, with a low-normal bp. With no grains. :)

    1. I absolutely agree with what you've said- but we eat so many vegetables, and Chris has always eaten more raw veg than me! Like I said, this is just an experiment - it fits into his life, too... He often has to eat hotel buffet breakfasts at work (and we're not rich so we take a free meal when offered) when he travels, and the oatmeal is often in a more natural state than the processed eggs that come out!

      Everyone has to find what works for them and tweak when necessary!

    2. Oh, I definitely don't eat scrambled eggs 'out.' But I loved eggs over medium, or in a good omelette, with meat and a side of fresh fruit. :)

  4. I think that almost all of the food we eat has changed from early days, not just wheat. I happen to think oatmeal is healthy. I like your scientific approach. Good luck!

  5. That's why blogging is so great ....

    We can exchange news, views, ideas ....

    We can find out what works well and what doesn't and always keep in mind any underlying health issues.

    Keep well, keep posting, we like reading and sharing.

    All the best Jan

  6. Do your experiment, I think it's fine. I do agree with Gwen regarding stress though - over the last few weeks there have been other things going on that are more likely to cause higher BP. It will be interesting to see how he goes. I've never considered good oatmeal to be too bad if you don't have blood sugar issues. I do so it's not for me.

  7. I, like you, have tweaked one thing, holding all others the same, so see what happens. It is the benefit of really solid, good habits. A clean science experiment where there are one or two variables and you can count on results. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    Food sensitivities sometimes means that our body's reactions do not fit what the books or research says. Really good to try.

  8. The medical community is getting very rigid with their BP standards. For one thing, BP fluctuates throughout the day and in different situations. 120/80 is perfectly normal for a random test. Hypertension used to be 140/80 or above. Nevertheless, oatmeal is a great food, so it would be interesting to see how the BP is affected. I have always had low blood pressure 110/70 and sometimes less. It runs in my family. Sometimes we can't force what we are genetically predisposed to. But your husband is perfectly normal at 120/80.

  9. I don't know what became of your hubby and oatmeal. You might have said in a later post and I missed it. I happened to write a post on this topic, this week, and wanted to mention it to you.