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?

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