My typical breakfast: Oatmeal, chia seeds, cinnamon and fruit.
Have you ever heard the saying..."nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers"? Well, that's how I feel this morning. I'm nervous about sharing my medical dilemma with y'all. I guess I'm afraid of being judged. But, here's the deal. How can I help anyone, if I don't tell you where I've been and how I'm doing, right? So, I'm sucking it up and hope it doesn't hurt as much as I think it's going to. I have to say, though, those of you who commented on my last post were so gracious. I thank you so much for your encouraging words. I love y'all!
Here's another cliche for you....."this is where the rubber hits the road". Yep, I'm about to spill my guts.
In my last post, I told you how this journey of mine came about. I started with a new doctor and he ordered blood tests to get a baseline measurement as part of getting started in his practice. Lord y'all, when I got those results, it was shock and awe. I wanted to go into denial, but I knew that wouldn't do any good. So I had to hit this thing head on. I couldn't believe how high the numbers were. There's no telling how long they have been that high and if I have any residual damage. However, I am confident that my new way of eating will heal me. I know it will bring my numbers down into the normal range and I know I will lose weight and feel better. I know this because I've already been experiencing it.
Okay, here we go....let's get to the numbers. Now, I must tell you that I'm not going to share all of my numbers. I will NEVER tell you my how much I weigh, not even when I get to my goal weight. That would be like the ultimate vulnerable thang, y'all! So don't even ask! But, I WILL tell you how much I lose.
Glucose - 262 mg/dl............normal (according to my doctor) should be between 74 - 106
Triglyceride - 285 mg/dl.......normal should be less than 150
Cholesterol - 322 mg/dl.......normal should be less than 200
HDL - 45.........................................normal should be between 40-60
LDL - 220................................normal should be less than 130
(I don't know how this cholesterol thing works, because if you add my HDL and LDL values together, you sure don't get 322 mg/dl) Hmmm, I'll have to look into this. Also, I don't know what my Hemoglobin A1c is because I had to go back to get that done a week later than my original blood work and the doctor's office didn't give me the results. I have been afraid to call and ask for them. I know they are high, but I am still going about solving it the same, regardless of what the number is. So, I may just wait until we repeat and see the difference then. In the meantime, I check my daily glucose levels and it shows me progress).
See!! I told you, I was a walking time bomb. Hearing my doctor's advice and seeing these numbers was enough to push me into panic mode. Like I told you in my last post, I went straight to the bookstore and bought Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease". I read it in two days, but on day one, I had enough information to begin my new life. I was about to become a vegan and I was resolved to that fact. Now, my doctor did not tell me that I had heart disease, he didn't even tell me that I had diabetes. But, I knew enough to know that even though he didn't diagnose me, that I was in trouble. We had already had a conversation where I explained to him that I was not the type of person to give up or give in and take medication. I just wasn't going to do it, unless I had exhausted all my options and there was nothing left to do except take medication. He was good with that. We were on the same page. He is allowing me 3 months to work on my numbers with diet and exercise. And, he prescribed a glucose meter for me to check my sugar levels daily. I was grateful for this and a little relieved because it told me that, #1 He believed that diet and exercise could possibly work, and #2 That I wasn't about to die from heart disease or diabetes, at least not in the next 3 months. Ha! I have to laugh because if you only knew how panicked I was.....! My doctor reassured me, though, that somehow, someway I would be alright. He would take care of me. Well, that was good to know. But y'all, if you know me, then you know I take matters into my own hands. I was on a mission and still am. I am determined that I will heal myself through diet and exercise. I know it can be done! So, there you have it.....my awful, nasty numbers. Oh but wait, here's the good news.....after one month (I began on March 1st) and as of this morning (drum roll please)......my blood sugar was down to 103 mg/dl and I have lost 13-14 lbs.
This new way of life is working for me. I believe with all my heart that this is the most healthful way of eating.
My action plan......eat a low-fat plant based diet with no oil. That means no meat, no dairy, no oils. I eat all things plant based....fruits, veggies and whole grains. The exception is that I don't eat avocado and nuts, right now. They contain too much fat. I am concentrating on getting my numbers into the normal range. Once I do that and return to the doctor for repeat blood work at the end of May, I will decide then whether to add avocado and nuts back into my diet.
You may be wondering what the difference for me was when I was eating vegetarian. Back then, I was eating eggs or egg sandwiches for breakfast every day and I was using mayonnaise, butter, cheese, olive oil and eating avocados. Some of these foods have good attributes, but they also have lots of fat. The eggs, cheese and butter also have lots of cholesterol. Cutting these foods out this time made a huge difference in my weight loss. I'm sure of it. I still have a cup of coffee every morning and when it's cold outside, I may even have a cup in the afternoon. I use organic stevia as a sweetener for my coffee. If you are going to use stevia, use this brand...SweetLeaf Natural Stevia Sweetener. It only has 2 ingredients....fiber and stevia. It doesn't contain erythritol, a sugar alcohol, like the brand Truvia does. Other than that, I drink water. I don't drink anything with artificial sweeteners at all. No diet drinks, no Crystal Lite, and no fruit juice. Artificial sweeteners are from the devil and fruit juice is full of sugar. Unless, you squeeze your own. That's okay.
My sample menu:
Breakfast: Old fashioned oat meal, chia seeds, cinnamon (sometimes) and fruit
Lunch: A huge honking salad full of green leafy vegetables and other veggies, most days....corn and beans, and the salad dressing is balsamic vinegar mixed with either brown spicy mustard or mixed with homemade oil-free hummus.
Dinner: This is the meal that I cook and experiment with different foods. I usually have a carbohydrate like brown rice, quinoa, or potatoes. I eat beans a lot. And, I usually have some cooked vegetables (there are so many choices).
Snacks: Fruit or raw veggies like celery sticks and carrots dipped in hummus
Beverage: Water (You can have infused water. Cut up some cucumbers, maybe an orange, lemon or strawberries and put them in a pitcher of water. This is very refreshing and gives you a little taste.)
Exercise: Well, yes I have to put this in and yes, you really need to exercise. But, it can be as simple as walking around the block a few times. I walk/run, ride my bike, do planks, lift light weights, and garden. I spread these out over the course of the week. I love walking and riding the bike the most as far as cardio. And you know I love to garden....it can be almost yoga'ish because of all the stretching and bending and moving in weird ways and it's a great upper body workout, especially when you haul 10 bags of wood chips to the garden weighing in at 25 lbs each and you chop a snake to death with a hatchet. Yeah, I did both of those things last Thursday. Gah! Snakes! And there's another one riding around in my flower beds. He's a King Snake, so Cliff won't let me kill him.
Now, if you are interested in doing your own research or reading some of the websites or books that I've delved into, I'll share those. I have my favorites and each one touches on a different aspect of health. For example, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Colin Campbell talk about heart disease and vegan diets. Dr. Neal Barnard talks about diabetes. James Colquhoun deals with all things healthy and has a website called Food Matters. A few others.....Dr. Josh Axe deals with gut issues. Dr. Eric Zielinski deals with essential oils and how they can play a vital part in our health. And there are others that I'll tell you about, along the way.
This is just the beginning.....I will share so much more with you. I'm excited about my new life and I hope I can be an encouragement for you.
Today's book recommendations:
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell