Category: Nutrition

Letting Go of Meat….

A year ago, at my annual physical, my doctor gave me a clean bill of health with the exception of my cholesterol levels. Really, just my LDL levels, HDL were ok. LDL are the baddies that clog up your arteries, HDL are the goodies that clear everything out for you. Dr. M suggested I limit my animal products and follow a more vegetable based diet. I have to admit, I felt a bit adrift, I wasn’t sure how to make that happen. I am not a tofu girl and I didn’t think I ate too much meat, mostly chicken and really only on the weekends. I did have a lot of eggs, milk and yogurt and those were going to be harder for me to give up, since they were part of my regular diet.

I first decided to go hard core vegan, replacing my milk and yogurt with soy-based products. Which then spoiled in my fridge….I really didn’t like the taste very much. I switched over to almond-milk, that seemed to be a little more palatable, but found that letting go of my greek-style yogurt wasn’t going to happen. I decided I would focus on letting go of the meat. So since last December, I have been primarily veg, with a little bit of seafood when the protein mood hits me . I have about 2 eggs a month and except some ghee in my kitchari, I have managed to not swim in butter too much.

I am happy to say that upon visiting my physician today, my cholesterol had dropped 51 points and my HDL had gone up 3 points! My doctor was amazed and excited to hear what I had been doing and to see the results so clearly. There are lots of good reasons to not eat meat and animal products, most of which can become major points of contention when you try to convince your average carnivore to let go of meat, but it seems like healthy pipes and a clean bill of health are as good as any I can think of!


Wanted Alive…

I have been exploring my relationship with food, fuel, nutrition and health for a good part of my life. At some times I have embraced the labels of “foodie” and “wine brat” other times “vegetarian” and “health nut”.  As I am growing older, I’ve discovered that all fuel is not the same, sometimes I feel energized by what I eat, other times sluggish and exhausted.  It is a trial by error kind of process. I gave up caffiene (and ergo coffee) 18 months ago, when I discovered that I could barely walk the 1/2 mile return trip home after a coffee run.    My energy stabalized for awhile after that change, I don’t miss the addiction and frankly, my wallet enjoys not paying $2.50 a day for Starbucks.

Recently, my struggle has been wheat and protein.  I would love to give up meat again, but finding a protein that fuels me as well and sustains me for any period of time is difficult.  Wheat is a love/hate thing, I love the taste of a fresh, well baked baguette, but hate the next day’s results: a spare tire of puff around my middle.  I am also concerned that dairy will be next on my hit list of foods that I have to give up, I’ve noticed some sensitivity even while I still enjoy a big cup of skim milk with my homemade granola.

So, with all that in mind, I am exploring Alive vs. Dead foods.  I am hoping this will help me resolve some of these dietary struggles.  Two books I am reading: Fit for Life, Not Fat for Life (Harvey Diamond) – his ideas has been around at least since the “80’s.  You Are What You Eat (Dr. Gillian McKeith) is newer, based on a TV show I haven’t seen (UK based) and both give the same advice: 50% alive foods, no more than 50% dead foods (heated over 118 degrees).  This is expanded with the guidance to eat fruit in the morning hours, alone.  And to avoid eating both a carb and a protein in the same meal.  This allows the stomach to operate at full efficiency and conserve energy used in the digestion process.

I am taking baby steps toward this shift in fueling, yesterday was fruit until noon, but by 11:30 I was downing a dried fruit and nut bar because I was feeling dizzy and craving some protein.  I ordered a grilled shrimp (dead) and fresh salad (alive) but had foccacio bread (dead) and roasted tomatos (dead), shrimp bisque (dead) and wine (alive?) for dinner.  So maybe I made it to 40% alive yesterday? 

Today my intake of alive was not even that high, and illustrates a challenge for me in terms of how pervasive cooked foods are in my day to day.  I will have to plan better and make more changes in my dining and fueling lifestyle.  After all, this is a work in progress!

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