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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nutrition Notebook #1

(Skip this if you're not super interested in lots of talk about having to change the way one eats. It's my entire life at the moment. Boring, I know.)

Well well, I made a big step yesterday. Still sort of spinning from it. Two years ago my doctor advised me to visit a nutritionist to think through my "issues" -- cholesterol (100% affected by what I eat - SHOOT), digestion (a nice word for a not-so-nice situation at times), weight, acid reflux. Not to mention being a woman of a certain age... ahem. Rhymes with "shmoremones."

So yeah, didn't do that. Tried to just push through "it," ignore "it," though I wasn't sure what "it" was.

Of late however, I have become more aware of needing to figure "it" out. Perhaps this is awareness is coming from my recent trend of being a grown up when it comes to my health... For the last year I have learned how to eat my vegetables. I play well with others (most of the time). I exercise and get plenty of rest. And for the last 6 months I have been gluten-free to help with my "digestion" concerns, and that has worked very well in that arena. Not only are my bowels happy, but my acid reflux has disappeared. And before I completely sound like an infomercial, I will say that my allergies have diminished greatly as well.

So what's the problem? Is "it" still there?

I realized that once a day I was having an "oh-my-gosh-if-I-don't-eat-something-right-now-I-might-hurt-someone" moment. I'd never experienced that before. And that started after going off of gluten, which was otherwise an utterly helpful change. But when I went for my annual physical, my bloodwork was good. Outstanding, actually. Not that I'm bragging. But my internal pom-poms had a little party.

We could also mention that I am sturdy and low to the ground. I am not a delicate flower.

So I went back to my usual approach of pushing through "it." Yet last week I thought, Hmm, perhaps I could just this once admit that I'm a little lost here when it comes to eating and such. Perhaps the internet doesn't know everything.... perhaps "it" needs to be named.

I pulled out the referral from the doctor, sighed, and made the call. Yesterday I was told that:
  • I have really good kidney, gall bladder, liver function. Blood sugar is great.
  • blood pressure - outstanding. Exercise works.
  • my cholesterol is 200. My good cholesterol is 65. I don't really know what that means, but we need to pay attention to the first one.
  • certain meds I'm taking might be supressing my thyroid, though my levels look good
  • soy milk isn't a smart idea, for several reasons (but my tum tum can't really do milk. I feel so high maintenance)
  • chicken is more of a lower-cholesterol food than actually low-cholesterol (WHAT??)
  • the best source of protein is raw nuts
  • cheese is not my friend. Nor is Diet Coke.
  • coffee has to be limited to once a day. Not that I'm a big guzzler, but it's more than that at times.
Those last few were not enjoyable things to hear. I already eat lots of vegetables. And now I am going to eat MORE. And nuts nuts nuts are entering my life.

So I'm basically going to become a leafy green vegetable-eating squirrel -- tooting along due to a slight increase in bean intake too. Yeah yeah, I'll be eating fruit too. This month is going to be rough as we establish a new baseline from which to work. Then we will slowly build back up and see what works in terms of cholesterol, metabolism, etc.

Thus the graphic: I'm HAPPY I'm doing this, because I believe certain things that need to improve will improve. I'm SAD because good night nurse, it's the day before Thanksgiving, and I'm entering the holidays, where I essentially am not supposed to eat anything that is holiday-ish. I will miss cheese and chicken. At least for awhile. Stay tuned.


  1. Way to go Kelly-I am so proud of you! I know it will be hard but well worth it if you continue to feel better. You may have just inspired me to make more changes;) Have you tried rice milk? We haven't had cows milk in about a year...

  2. Tried almond milk yesterday. Not so bad. Thanks for the encouragement. Lots of work at the beginning, but I'll be fine.

  3. So, I realise that this is a very small piece of the puzzle you're trying to get a handle on.

    BUT...I did just come across and make a recipe from VT for the Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World. They're full of raw nuts and free of dairy, wheat and eggs. I would say that you have to think of them more of a really great "bar" sort of thing rather than a cookie. However, I'm pretty sure that they'd go great with your one cup of coffee with rice milk mid-morning.

    Thinking of you as you navigate all the dietary changes.


  4. why is soy milk bad? not that i drink it, just curious.

  5. Thank you! I get VT myself and recall that recipe. Now I'll have to flag it. Unfortunately, this first month I have to eliminate sweets too... (sigh). Once the baseline is established, I guess we rebuild slowly from there. Smart move on my part to go to the nutritionist at end of November :(

  6. apparently it causes suppression of thyroid function and doesn't play well with our hormones either.

  7. I, um, heard from a 'friend', that Beano really works for helping your tum-tum adjust to all the extra veggies and legumes.