“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6: 19-20
About six years ago, my husband went to the doctor with a sinus infection and called me at work to tell me that he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. The doctor was very concerned as Chris’s blood pressure readings were “stroke level high.” The doctor went so far as to give Chris blood pressure medication in the office rather than sending him home with just a prescription. Chris had to come back in two weeks to see if the medication was working and to discuss other matters. Other matters turned out to be a series of every available heart test. Since Chris was in his early 30’s, it was determined that there may be extenuating conditions that might need treated.
Initially, I was very concerned about this health development. I took vacation days and went to every doctor’s appointment. Finally, after several months of testing and appointments the doctor told us that Chris’s high blood pressure was probably hereditary and that we would just have to keep trying medications and dosages until it was under control.
I did a little research and discovered that almost 33% of American adults had high blood pressure. In fact, many relatives in our immediate families had high blood pressure. We decided that this wasn’t the end of the world and pretty much ignored it. Chris continued to take medication and go to checkups every six months. Each checkup the doctor said the same thing, “It’s still a little higher than I’d like it to be.” And each checkup he either increased the milligrams of Chris’s medication or added another pill altogether.
Life went on, yet Chris had a persistent cough and often complained of dizziness and fatigue. A little more research told me these were the most common side effects of his blood pressure medications. Chris said he would just go off the pills and yet our concern was that his blood pressure was still well over the recommended 120/80.
After more research, we decided to change. We had had enough. It was time to address our diet, our lack of exercise, our general health. We started walking every day. We cut out red meats, processed foods, and pop. We didn’t mention our changes at the January doctor appointment in 2013, but by July 2013 the doctor had noticed significant improvement. For the first time in five years, he cut out pills and reduced milligrams. He changed Chris’s checkup schedule from six months to a year and he told us to keep up the good work.
Well, it’s been 15 months and we’re still on track. We’re eating healthier, exercising more, and feeling better. We now see our bodies as the temple of God and we’re determined to take care of them. As a cook whose whole philosophy was everything tastes better with butter or sugar, I’m learning a lot. Some days are easier than others but we know we’re doing the right thing.
In pursuit of better health, we’ve had to make some new recipes. This is one we really like, so I hope you do too!
Kickin’ Salsa Chicken Soup
Minutes to Prepare & Cook: 30
Number of Servings: 6
1 lb free range chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper chopped (leave seeds in for more heat, remove seeds for less heat)
5 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14.6 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes (with jalapenos for more heat, regular for less heat)
1 quart low-sodium, organic chicken stock
1/4 cup cilantro
juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked brown rice
1) Start rice (as directed on packaging).
2) Chop onions and garlic.
3) Heat oil, garlic, and onion on medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes or until starting to get some color.
4) While cooking onions/garlic, chop chicken.
5) Add chicken and cumin and cook five minutes.
6) Add chicken broth, cilantro, spinach, jalapenos and tomatoes. Raise heat to medium-high and simmer for 10 minutes.
7) Remove from heat and add lime juice and rice. Stir well.
Health information: (based on actual products I used and for 1 of 6 servings)
Fat (g): 4
Cholesterol (mg): 47
Sodium (mg): 383
Potassium (mg): 332
Carbohydrates (g): 21
Sugars (g): 2
Protein (g): 21
Vitamin A: 80%
Vitamin C: 37%