Archive for March, 2012

Take it like a big girl…

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I have been meaning to post my lab results sooner. I saw the doc last Thursday and time has just gotten away from me. That, and it wasn’t all good news. But nothing tragic, either.

In November of 2010, I had the opportunity through the Lesbian Health Initiative to get a well woman exam and mammogram. I didn’t have insurance at the time so this was a good thing. The doc I saw at that time came in with my lab work and said to me “Well Maxine, we need to get your diabetes back under control.” I said, “My what?” She put me on Metformin which I took for 3 months, my A1c went from 6.7 to 6.1 and I lost 30 pounds, and since it was coming down, doctor that I am (not), I decided that I didn’t need the meds and it must have been the dietary changes I had made.

Since then I have maintained that loss within 5 pounds and I thought I must be doing okay. We have continued to make improvements to our regular diet. Processed foods are mostly nonexistent at least 90% of the time and when they do creep in here and there, they are a one time deal, not a regular occurrence. There has been a dramatic decrease in the amounts of meat we eat of any variety. Beef is once a month or less. Chicken and pork have gone from daily to one or two times a week and fish us on the upswing.

I don’t know what finally pushed me over the edge to getting back to conventional medicine, maybe just a subconscious knowledge that it was time. Dr T ordered a shitload of labs and before the tech was done with me, she had taken 8 vials of my blood. The good news is that my cholesterol is mostly awesome. Total Chol is 141 with a preferred range(PR) of 125-200. HDL (the good chol) is 38 with a PR of >46 so that is a little low and I need to find out how to raise that. My LDL (the bad chol) is 83 with a PR <130 amd my Triglycerides are 102 with a PR <150. I think for the most part, this makes me a cholesterol rockstar!

The other highlights, not so stellar…My glucose was 106 with a PR 65-99. Not terrible, but high. And my A1c is back to 6.7. Out came the Rx pad and I am back on Metformin. I think a key difference this time, is that Dr T actually took the time to talk to me about it and explain how and why it works and why I want to keep taking it until my A1c is down to 5.7 or lower. I am with the program a little better than when the old doc (hot as she was) just threw some pills my way and just said take these.

I've always known I am borderline anemic, so the hemoglobin being low was no surprise. It was 11.6 with a PR of 11.7-15.5. There were other iron things that were off and the doc ordered some more blood work for an iron study before advising me further on that. My B12 is also low at 155 with a PR of 200-1100 so I am taking a B12 supplement. My thyroid function was normal.

We talked about my weight and I told the doc that I have been tracking with the Fitbit both steps and food. I explained the increase in steps and stairs and that I have been eating around 1700 calories, having a 500-1000 calorie deficit daily (sometimes more) and than since Dec 13, there has been zero movement on the scale. He told me that the hospital's obesity program advocates a month of 1000 calories a day with no increase in activity to sort of restart the metabolism. He told me to maintain my weight I should be eating 3300 cals a day and maybe I haven't been eating enough to lose. He advised me to try 1000 cals a day for a month and if I see loss to go back to 1800 and see what happens.

Last week, we watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix. It chronicles Joe Cross' 60 day juice fast that changed his life with a loss of about 90 pounds if I remember correctly, as well as sending his disease into remission and allowing him to come off his medications. There is an associated website, The website has a lot of juicing recipes available as well as blends (smoothies) and simple vegetable meals and several options for how to use these in various combinations.

If you are doing the straight up juice fast, it’s 5 days of veg meals followed by x days of juicing only and then 5 days of veg meals to re-acclimate your digestion to food. I am doing a mixed plan of juicing and whole foods. I am on day six of having fruit juice for breakfast and veg juice for lunch with a snack of whole fruits or sprouts. Then having a dinner of some sort of veg and a protein side. So far the protein has been tilapia or quinoa(in an awesome spinach salad) and on one occasion, Elizabeth and I split a pork chop. Last night we each had one link of cheddarwurst with a large bowl of a veg and white bean stew. This has gotten me very close to 1000 calories a day and I have no complaints.

I have also had a handful of nuts here and there and yesterday I had a half cup of the granola I made. That was a workout for my jaw. I got on the scale and I think I am down 5 pounds. I say think because the home scale and the doc’s scale don’t agree, but down is down even if the actual number might be in dispute.

Since this has been easy, I am going to continue on another week and see how it goes.

Who knew?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

I know…maybe I am the last to know…After 47 years, hey, my taste buds might have changed. Spinach is on the menu. There. I said it.

I have never been fond of spinach in any way, shape, or form. A few years back I did find I actually could tolerate it in a recipe from Sarah McLachlan’s cook book Plenty, but admittedly, I increase all the other ingredients in the spinach pine-nut cannelloni to create a less spinachy filling. Other than this recipe which I have made maybe 5 times in the last 10 or so years, spinach has just not been an option.

Flash forward to the new plan gearing to more healthful choices. We were at one of our current favorite restaurants, Brasil, and I decided to try the spinach couscous salad. I still don’t know what prompted me, but I remain glad that I did because I really liked it a lot. And this was no wussy little salad portion on a side plate. It was a dinner plate mounded about 6 inches high, no plate in sight. I ate every morsel.

I have since made this at home, and last night i subbed quinoa for the couscous because Elizabeth is trying to stay away from wheat. We also had a small cheese plate with some nuts and a smidge of fig jam, so I made a slightly smaller salad.

First I made a homemade lemon vinaigrette using this Martha recipe. Very tasty and very lemony. I added 1 tbs of vinaigrette to 2 cups of spinach leaves(per person) and tossed. On top of that went 1/2 cup of plain cooked and cooled quinoa. Then I chopped up two sun-dried tomatoes and 2 rinsed artichoke hearts each. I toasted up a 1/4 cup of almond slices (divided to two salads) and then sprinkled each one with 2 tbs of crumbled feta and drizzled a second tbs of vinaigrette over the top. It was a pretty close approximation and muy delicioso. Brasil adds thinly sliced red onion, but that is something I still don’t care for raw so I left it out.

When I made the quinoa I made 2 cups to 3 cups of water, knowing there would be extra so we will have this salad again tonight, or at least I will. I also wanted extra to try a recipe I had for breakfast quinoa. mix equal parts cooked quinoa with almond milk. I added a handful (accurate, I know!) of raisins and pecans and a tsp of cinnamon and a tsp of honey. Then i microwaved it when I got to work for 2 mins, stirred, and then a minute more. Then I let it sit to cool for about 5 mins covered with a paper towel. All the liquid was absorbed and while I initially thought that might be a bit heavy handed on the cinnamon, since i know it is good for me and it wasn’t horrible, I will likely add that much again. Another quinoa success!