Thursday, July 14, 2005

The path to good health, Grouchy forced to diet and exercise...

It has been two weeks since my visit to the doctor's office and one week since I learned my cholesterol and especially my triglyceride levels were pretty high. Things are very slowly return to some sense of normality. My strength is slowly recovering and in a couple weeks I'm hoping to be in better shape. I'm adjusting to my somewhat radical change in diet. There were many things I knew I would either have to change or continue through the process of changing.

First thing I had to do, and was doing off and on, was to eliminate the soft drinks and alcohol. Mountain Dew was my poison of choice, sometime consuming 40 ounces of that stuff on my most stressful days at work. I can avoid drinking soda pop altogether on the weekends but my real weakness came during job stress; or maybe job habits. I'm trying to drink at least a gallon of pure water per day. After a week or two I will probably add a serving or two of sport drink like AllSport or Gatorade. I was already consuming a good deal of water due to advice from a urologist after a kidney stone. Booze was an occasional habit, mostly whiskey and beer. Red wines are supposedly good for cholesterol but it will be a while before I feel like experimenting with that.

Second thing on the list was to eliminate the occasional egg yolk from the diet. I would fry up usually two but sometimes one egg once or twice a week. In line with egg yolks is an overall reduction in cholesterol, which when looking at my diet wasn't too hard. Every Friday I would have donuts at work, if there was ice cream in the house I would usually eat it, and the sweetheart would occasionally make cookies and treats. Margarine on toast and bagels, like the aforementioned items is not an option anymore.

Third change and for a somewhat tough change is to eat more fruits and vegetables. I have never been a big eater of either category preferring grains and meats over them. I'm trying to get in the habit of eating a salad for lunch every day. I might try different curries, stews, goulashes and meatless chili to add more vegetables. Fruits will be “desserts” from now on I guess.

The last thing on the immediate list was to cut out the occasional fast food or restaurant visit. This will probably be the hardest part of the journey. No more Taco Bell or Wendy's for a while. I might have to break down and go to Chipotle Grill every now and then.

There were a lot of things that I was and have been doing right for years now. I use a lot of soy products including soy protein supplements, soy-cheese, and soy-based meal products, my favorite being Morningstar Farms veggie sausages. I've used fat free milk for a long time. I try to have at least one service of fish per week, usually salmon or trout. I don't eat a lot of beef, but when I do it's usually hamburger from a fast-food outlet. A lot of my life is spent seated in front of a computer (like now, ha ha) doing work, learning, or ranting about crap I shouldn't be sticking my nose into. I hit the gym five days a week when I'm at work, although I've changed my workout to include more cardiovascular exercise and less strength training. I have added a quick trip on the Health Rider in the morning, try to incorporate more stairs on bathroom breaks at work, and will try to walk more when I get home and stay active on the weekends.

It's a shame that I needed a trip to the doctor and some elevated numbers to push me to the final stages of doing some of the things I should have been doing all along. Hopefully when I go back to the doctor in about three or four months I will be healthier, more fit and leaner than before.

BTW, there are millions of links to cholesterol and triglyceride reduction on the Internet; surprisingly many with differing information (yeah, you're shocked to hear that aren't you?).

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