Saturday, July 31, 2010

FOOD and cholesterol

If there's one thing my husband loves, it's meat. I gave up meat over a year ago when the result of a lipid panel revealed my TOTAL cholesterol was 330! This is not triglycerides (free-floating fatty acids in the bloodstream,a byproduct of greasy food and/or alcohol consumed recently) - this is total cholesterol. The physician suggested I start Lipitor. Well, I had some reservations. 1- my doctorate is in Physiology and Pharmacology - so I am aware of the undesireable side effects associated with the drug 2) My father has been on Lipitor for years, with varied results. 3) I was only 25 at the time, and training for a triathlon!!!! Hypocholesterolemia is prevalent in my family - we all have a predisposition towards high cholesterol, despite healthy eating/habits.

My solution... I became a vegetarian. I gave myself the month of April to give up fish - and by May 1- I was a complete vegetarian. There was a lot of pressure from others (mainly my husband) to keep fish in my diet- but each time I tried it, it didn't feel "worth it" to me. After only 3 months, my total cholesterol was down 100 points, mt LDL (lame cholesterol) was down 100 points, and my HDL (healthy cholesterol) was UP to 77- a number I was told is driven by enhanced physical activity, and cancels out any higher number! Yes taking a pill is easy, and cutting out a whole food group is much harder - but I felt great and don't see why I would ever eat meat again.

After the wedding, I resolved to cut out dairy (mainly cheese, one of my biggest downfalls - my mom knows how much I LOVE a deep-fried cheeseball!). It hasn't been hard at home, but I haven't gotten the hang of eating out yet. Some times are good- some days (like yesterday) involve cheese quesadillas and chile rellenos stuffed with vegetables and queso fresco (drool).

This brings me back to the husband. DH will eat anything I put in front of him - because he hates to cook. I love it. But let me tell you, he has been rebelling like crazy to the newer, more limited diet. He went out and bought a bag of chicken and eats hunks of it for lunch. I BBQ'ed tofu last weekend, made a delicious potato salad, roasted vegetables, and salad... and he went out and bought a steak and shrimp and ate only meat. He has been eating 6 eggs for breakfast. I watch, I'm trying to stay quiet, But I look forward to one of his lipid panels. I wonder what's up inside of his arteries.

Dinner the other night (iPhone cameras aren't all that great):

Polenta-stuffed peppers (used Daiya cheese in the filling GREAT) from The Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers cookbook (a gift from my brother and sister in law) - chile-roasted asparagus, cilantro rice with sriracha, mineral water with Vegan Dad's strawberry syrup.

Great! Only minor grumbles and "what is that?" Well, what did you expect marrying a boy who grew up on fried chicken and hamburgers steaks?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Teaching would be great if it wasn't for all the students

A couple of years ago I decided that my career path would focus on teaching. For my entire life I have tended to like things that I am GOOD at (i.e. swimming! yoga!) and HATE the things that I suck at (i.e., SOFTBALL! HOCKEY! BASKETBALL! KNITTING!). Teaching is one of those things. It's a talent of mine, so therefore I enjoy it. However, it also makes me crazy. I remember my mother coming home after a day of teaching middle school and being so cranky for the first hour or so. Or.. the rest of the week (sorry mom).

I teach master's level students, whom I would have expected to be professional, motivated and respectful. Well, I was pretty off base. This is my third year teaching in the program, and it is still possible to surprise me. Today 2 students showed up 30 minutes late for their final. When I asked them if they forgot, they said "no," sat down, and bombed the exam in 28 minutes. After grading (which I had to do already because final grades were apparently due TODAY at 5!!!!!!) I discovered that a few of the males in the class had held true to their word of not studying for lack of necessity of a good grade on this exam to achieve a high overall grade. So, these few, who are regularly outstanding students - all refused to study and took C's on this exam.

Please - bear this in mind. When you visit a health care provider- they may have very well done this same thing. These aforementioned students do not know a thing now about diabetes, pregnancy, or sex hormones. Well, great. I'm staying out of any doctor's offices until I'm about to die.

My advice of the day: do your damn work. Lazy people make me angry. Get a job.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In the beginning.....

Life is changing quite a bit right now for me. I just got married, I'm transitioning to a full-vegan diet, I'm entering the fifth and FINAL year of my PhD program, meaning I may have to start thinking of my future soon. Working in academia leaves some to be desired for human contact - so I find myself frequenting blogs to feel as if I have some connection to the world outside of this makeshift ivory tower (which is actually a crappy looking pea-green building two stories high).

I'm hoping to use this blog to talk about my favorite things:

Cooking, eating, being (mostly) vegan, living in the south as a northerner, yoga, science, coffee, wine, and also giving advice to people who annoy me. We'll see how this goes!