Tuesday, December 30, 2008

laboratory results

The day after Christmas, and a 12 hour fast, I had my blood tested. The results came today:

Cholesterol: 204,
HDL, the "good" cholesterol: 33,
LDL, the "bad" cholesterol: 128,
Triglycerides: 214
Glucose: 111
Potassium: 4.1
Thyroid: 2.96
Creainine (kidneys): 0.8

Doctor says, overall things are fine, but that I should take fish oil supplements to raise my "good" cholesterol. HDL should be over 35.

Hmmmm, looking over these results, though, I think I am too high in the "bad" stuff, particularly the triglycerides and the glucose. I have read that diets high in carbohydrates, especially sugar, lead to increases in triglycerides. I am going to work to get those down.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shopping list

Yesterday I spent $36.79 at the grocery store

Bananas $2.17 (2.75 lbs @ .79lb)
Mushrooms $1.59
Broccoli $1.04
carrots .72
Organic Basil $4.99
Chicken $2.89
frozen blueberries $3.49
Organic crushed tomatoes $2.15
cereal (store brand similar to Grapenuts)$2.39
tomato paste .40
kidney beans $1.09
Prevention magazine $3.59
Sesame chicken from deli $6.05
Lactaid milk $4.19

The magazine and the Sesame Chicken were impulse buys I could have lived without.
I made another Chicken Stew, and a Lentil Rice casserole (from rice and lentils I had in my pantry) I found this recipe at hauserdiet.com. I added broccoli and a ton of basil.
• 3 cups vegetable broth
• 1 cup lentils
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 tsp dried basil or 2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
• ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
• ¼ tsp pepper (or to taste)
• ½ tsp dried oregano or 1 tsp. fresh chopped
• ½ tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp. fresh chopped
• 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 ½ cups brown rice
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (or combination)
* Optional: Chopped red peppers, chopped black olives, chopped mushrooms

What to do:

1. Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl.
2. Pour into greased 2 quart casserole dish.
3. Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 1 hour.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What did you learn from your mother?

In all things nutritional, I think of my mother. ( See pictures above, my Mom from her childhood to old age). Not because she said "eat your vegetables." I don't remember getting any advice on that front from her, but I do look to her as a harbinger of my own fate. My mom is 84, in excellent health, except she has shrunk considerably (she didn't drink milk) and her brain is battered by Alzheimer's Disease. This is a condition her father also suffered from, in his late eighties. Naturally, I read everything I can on what to eat to avoid Alzheimer's: antioxidants are important, keeping cholesterol down is key, and, basically eating lots of greenery. Oh, also the spices in Indian food seems to prevent Alzheimer's. These are my challenges: eating to improve my health, lose weight and save money.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Government advice

According to the government's Pyramid Plan, women should have three cups of milk, two cups of fruit, two and a half cups of vegetables, 5.5 oz of protein, and 6 oz of grains, a day.

In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds are the equivalent of one ounce in the protein category.

Obviously, the point of eating is to keep the brain thinking, the muscles moving, the skeleton rebuilding, the cells repairing themselves, etc. My doctor has a bug up his butt about calcium intake. "Are you getting enough calcium?" he asked me. "Do I look like I'm not eating enough cheese?" I wanted to say. I think I have the fat craving gene. The three cups of milk requirement worries me, because I could easily meet or exceed it, but is that much dairy really good for you?

When I was researching how much I should spend on groceries, I consulted the USDA's website. The USDA's Thrifty Plan is used to determine the amount one gets in Food Stamps. There are three other Plans, reflecting higher spending increments. The Low Cost, Moderate and Liberal Plans supposedly contain more waste, as opposed to just more food. I didn't find these "Plans" very helpful, because it just looked like lists of food and how much you get a week by weight, i.e, in the Thrifty Plan you get five pounds of fruit, 2.77 pounds of grain, 7.40lb of vegetable, 11.53lb of milk products, 4.38lbs of protein and 1.91 lb of "other". Who goes to the store looking for 11.53 lbs of milk? Talk about bureaucratic gobbelty gook.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thrifty Plan

I don't feel so bad about how much I've been spending at the grocery store since I visited the USDA website and saw how much they have determined it costs a single person to eat a nutritious diet, at four levels. The "Thrifty Plan" comes in at $35.90 a week, $44.00 for a Low Cost plan, $54.00 for the Moderate Plan and $65.00 for what they call a Liberal Plan. Liberal? Is the USDA making a snide, political swipe here? I'm a liberal, and I'm thrifty. (Well, poor.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eating on a budget

This is my attempt to spend very little on food, eat healthily, AND lose weight. That is a tall order. Like most people, I have either loaded my cart with fresh vegetables, exotic fruit, shrimp, and every kind of ethnic sauce or herb, spending $80.00 at the store, or, in more desperate times, subsisted on cream of mushroom soup, butter and spaghetti. There has to be a better way.

Today I spent $11.10 at the my local Hannaford's grocery store. Yes, I made an impulse buy of a candy bar at the check out line.

candybar .79
16 oz. bag frozen Tortillini $2.06
Mayonaise $1.86
28 oz can of crushed Tomatoes $1.80
can of Light Tuna $1.19
5 Drumsticks $1.89
celery $1.49
sales tax on candy bar .04
credit for using my own bag +.o5.

I came home, ate half the bag of tortillini with some Smart Balance spread I already had (a healthy margarine, no- trans fat.) Turns out half a bag is two servings and totals 600 calories! That was a mistake! Then I made a chicken stew, adding black beans, onion, garlic, thyme and a shot of hot sauce I already had on hand. I am bringing a tuna fish sandwhich to work tomorrow on multi grain bread I also already had in my pantry.

The stew came out really well. Here is the recipe: Sauteed small chopped onion, a carrot and celery in olive oil. Dumped in 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used Pastene brand today. No added sugar or salt.) Dropped chicken drum sticks in the tomato sauce. Added enough water to make sure the chicken was covered. Cooked 25 minutes, stirring occassionally. Took out the chicken,cut away the bone and added the meat back to the soup. Added thyme, a can of black beans and salt. This made approximately six servings. Since I am single, I am going to live off this soup the rest of the week, or at least until Thursday, which is pay day. In addition to the money I spent today, I also have brown rice, pasta, juice, some frozen vegetables and coffee to supplement this. As I keep going on this blog I will have a better idea how little I can spend at the store and still eat healthily. That's the goal.