Food & Drink Magazine

Lowering Your Blood Pressure with FOOD

By Chuck Underwood @brandnewvegan
Lowering Your Blood Pressure with FOOD

This is MY blood pressure as of September 2, 2020.  

I take no blood pressure meds, no statin drugs, no diabetes pills, not even baby aspirin. I take nothing except for an occasional B12. And I’m almost 58 years old.

But it wasn’t always like this.

I HAVE had high blood pressure before. My cholesterol has also been high and I’ve been overweight since – I was in my 30’s?

Even when I became Vegan and adopted a WFPB diet in 2008, I still had weight problems and my blood pressure would fluctuate.

And then in February of 2020 – everything changed.

I had a stroke.

Lowering Your Blood Pressure with FOOD

Lowering Your Blood Pressure with FOOD

THIS was my blood pressure on February 24, 2020, the day of my stroke.

Granted, that day I was sick, scared, upset, and madder than HELL…..but still….. What the heck? I’m VEGAN! HOW can this be happening??!

Was it because of my blood pressure? My cholesterol? My age? Too much stress? What?!

WHY was my blood pressure so high? Was I doing something wrong? Eating something I shouldn’t have!? I run a BLOG, teaching OTHER people how to eat ! Why is this happening…. TO ME?!

I may never know.

Was I eating that bad before? I didn’t think so. But, in all honesty, I WAS still overweight and my blood pressure was running high – as in 140s / 90s.

“But weren’t you eating Plant-Based?”
“Aren’t you Vegan”
“You must have been eating wrong!”

“You HAD to have been CHEATING?!”

All valid questions.

Yes, I have been plant-based for well over 7 years now. But to be perfectly honest with you….

I have – occasionally – in the past – indulged in a boca burger. Tofurky. Some vegan ice cream. An impossible burger. Some daiya cheese. I also liked going to my favorite Mexican Restaurant for my usual – a giant rice and bean Vegan burrito with a couple of margaritas to wash it all down.

Did I do it every day? Absolutely not.

Recently? Not even.

But I have eaten them. I’m a blogger! I have to see for myself what all the hype is about when these products hit the market.

Is this what caused my stroke? As I said, I may never know.

But I can tell you that the doctors said that I was lucky I ate the way I did – because that probably is what saved my life.

But after the stroke?

I had a new mission in life! And that was to get off of all the pills they put me on while I was in the hospital. The BP meds, the statin, the blood thinners.

So I started eating very clean.

  • NO processed junk foods (oil)
  • NO restaurant food
  • NO nuts, seeds, tahini, peanut butter, or avocado
  • NO more margaritas 🙁
  • And for a while, I even cut out tofu and tempeh too

I now eat a simple, starch-based diet with lots of veggies, some fruit, greens, and beans. And even a slice or two of my favorite oil-free sourdough bread.

I also walk at least once a week (Walkin’ Wednesdays), sometimes more.  That’s it. Nothing else has changed. And you can see in the first photo what that has done to my blood pressure.

I credit the change in my Blood Pressure to the foods I now eat (and the ones I don’t).

It’s The Food

Lowering Your Blood Pressure with FOOD

Now, let’s talk about my wife for a minute.  

She has always had HPB, at one time taking up to 3 meds a day for it.  

She knows what I teach, she likes (and eats) my food (I’m the main cook), but she would still occasionally enjoy her PNW seafood or Chicken Tamales at our favorite Mexican Restaurant. She has never claimed to be Vegan and I tried not to pressure her (much).

But that was before Covid.  

There IS NO restaurant food now!

And guess what? Her blood pressure is falling too. Yesterday she showed me a 117/72, which is the lowest it’s been in a very, long, time. 

She’s still taking her main BP med, and a diuretic, but it is falling so fast now, she may have to see her doctor to have her dosage reduced. 

Ironically, she credits her change to her exercise and jogging.


BUT…. I reminded her that when she was going to the gym with our daughter several times a week, and walking up to 3 miles a day (while enjoying her cheese and restaurant food) it was still high and never budged. 

Yes, exercise helps, but primarily – IT’S THE FOOD!

It’s the food it’s the food it’s the food. 

  1. Eliminate the high-calorie snacky foods and processed junk
  2. Eliminate the high-fat, high-salt restaurant foods 
  3. Cut back on the nuts, seeds, avo, and other high-fat foods
  4. Eat a WHOLE food, PLANT based, LOW fat, NO oil diet
  5. And watch the magic happen. 

It might take some time. But as Dr. John McDougall’s son, Craig, once told me….. “We didn’t get in this shape overnight so it’s unrealistic to think we can fix it overnight too“. 

Stay the course, don’t give up, eat right, and get a little exercise if you can, and it will happen.  

If you have your own pics or stories to inspire others, post them down in the comments below.  

We can do this.


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