Thursday, November 24, 2011

My uber-healthy Thanksgiving - kicking and screaming all the way

Our Menu:

Curried parsnip, pumpkin and apple soup. Chopped walnut and apricot garnish.

Roast lamb with mint jelly
Roasted potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnip and steamed cauliflower, brussel sprouts and broccoli.

Hot fruit compote with Greek yoghurt creme fraiche.

Sterling 2006 merlot.

Well here we are - at critical mass. Breaking point. The last straw. I went to see my cardiologist yesterday, and his gift to me was that I am, healthwise, at a 'dangerous' place (his words - not mine. God knows - not mine.) The arrhythmia I had prior to the stent insertion and angioplasty last year has gotten no worse - but neither has it improved. My cholesterol is half what it was 5 years ago - and in fact within the recommended levels. But since I have a massive stent and a degree of heart disease, my LDL needs to be another 50 points lower still. Also, my HDL has dropped about 40% (not good) and my glucose has actually risen. My vitamin D is, literally, almost non-existent and my C Reactive protein levels are, as ever, ridiculously high. This may be significant or it may mean nothing at all. I have arthritis, so a CRP test is always going to be a blunt tool where I'm concerned. It's not a great result, tho, at a time when I could do with a great result...

At age 51, with 2 parents who died in their 50's, I am at a critical point in my life. I'm exhausted ALL the time, I have a lump in my thyroid, and I am a long way from home. What I'd like to do is get into bed, pull the covers over my head, and hide. What I'm going to do is try to take this mother by the throat and beat it to a pulp. I decided to start with Thanksgiving.

My intial goal is to lose 30lbs, drop my LDL 20 points and raise my HDL by 5. That's my goal. My secondary goal is to try to get a smile out of my cardiologist. Neither of these things is easy.

So I made my Thanksgiving menu with a goal to not dying. To be honest, if I had to say what my real goal was, it would be to avoid premature death and to see 80. I will settle for 70. If I don't make 60 - as neither of my parents did - I will be pissed. I gave up smoking many moons ago and gave up dairy in anything except minor doses a year ago, and completely (except for major holidays) a week ago. There should be some pay back for this. And God knows, I miss salt.

The average American consumes approximately 4500 calories and 200gms of fat on Thanksgiving. I decided I would not be part of that statistic. Consequently, our menu was highly fruit and vegetable based and the dairy topping to our fruit was predominantly fat free yoghurt. There was a very little olive oil in the soup, and a spray of olive oil on the roast veges, but otherwise the menu was cooked without added fats. I calculated the whole meal, and there was 17 grams of added fat, along with whatever fat was in the lamb. My lamb serving was 5oz and I removed anything visible and white, so I think it's looking good for a low fat day. Breakfast was oatmeal and I had a coffee with soy creamer in there somewhere, so all up, I think we nailed the whole fat thing this Thanksgiving. I'm not sure exactly what the calorie count was, but I can guarantee that we didn't pass our daily allowance and we were nowhere near 4500.

Was it a little dull? Yes. I spent whole minutes thinking longingly of cheese sauce and anything made from processed flour. But at this point in my life, the only bird I really crave is the one I wish to give my doctor when he is finally forced to say "My goodness, Kareyn! These figures are GREAT!"

Warmest Thanksgiving wishes to you all and may God grant you a happy, healthy year ahead.

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