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Thread: Food and Health?

  1. #201
    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I am currently rededicating my diet (and exercise) with an eye toward lowering my cholesterol. I had a high reading recently (following a very low reading previously) and have my doctor's blessing to try diet and exercise first, before going on a statin. Research has me eating beans, apples, oatmeal, almonds, garlic, ground flax seed, metamucil, plant sterols, and lots of fruits and veggies. I had started sliding off my nutritarian diet (Dr. Joel Fuhrman), especially in these recent holidays with my chef daughter home, but even before that I was eating cheese and more processed foods than I knew I should. I also have been on the low side of my exercise regiment... just swimming 3 times a week and weights if I got up early enough. Now I have my Wii hooked up and have done 30 min. both yesterday and today.
    The one thing I'm really confused about is coconut oil. It's on my doctor's list of saturated fats to avoid, but if you google it, there's an uproar about how bogus those claims are and that it is really one of the best things you can do to raise your HDL. Right now, I'm having a spoonful of it in my oatmeal in the morning with craisins and ground flaxseed. Yum! I used it in a stir fry just now instead of olive oil.
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  2. #202
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    Can you taste the coconut in the stirfry at all? I love any and all things coconut, but I'm leery of buying the oil because I can't think of a good use for it...I can't imagine the taste paired with vegetables.
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  3. #203
    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I don't use that much. By the time it's incorporated into all the different veggies, you don't taste it.
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  4. #204
    Red Sox Nation Brooks's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gutmutter View Post
    I am currently rededicating my diet (and exercise) with an eye toward lowering my cholesterol. I had a high reading recently (following a very low reading previously) and have my doctor's blessing to try diet and exercise first, before going on a statin.
    As far as I'm concerned cholesterol in the 200-240 range is fine. The issue is how much "small dense" LDL do you have. LDL isn't usually broken down by that, but if your triglycerides are high that's an indication that the bad LDL is too. So what is your trig number?

    I strongly recommend home monitoring of blood sugar, both before and after meals. If you're insulin resistant if will be harder to bring down your bad cholesterol numbers (or raise HDL) and you'll need to cut back on carbs, or at least adjust your meals so they don't rise too high. Moderate exercise of about 30 minutes or more at least every other day will help too.

    My goal is to reduce the totality of metabolic syndrome symptoms, not just cholesterol because that may not matter. I want to reduce the inflammation I believe leads to the host of problems.

  5. #205
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    Re: Food and Health?

    Thank you, Brooks. I had read that in my research about the size of the LDL being more important than the number. I don't know how easy it is to get them to check for that. I can always ask. Can you tell me more about metabolic syndrom symptoms?
    I'm aiming for a minimum of 30 min. a day of exercise... plus I'm on my feet all day at work, not just standing... moving around an art classroom.
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  6. #206
    Red Sox Nation Brooks's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I had read that in my research about the size of the LDL being more important than the number. I don't know how easy it is to get them to check for that. I can always ask.
    What they usually give you for an LDL number is calculated from other lipid values and not a direct reading so I don’t know how likely a doctor would order a direct reading of an LDL fraction.

    Can you tell me more about metabolic syndrome symptoms?
    It’s sort of a chicken/egg issue, which came first. Many symptoms that some would say are causative of others but are probably only associated with each other. Obesity (what matters is your waist measurement, whether you are “apple” shaped). Low HDL. High triglycerides. High fasting glucose (another name for a form of insulin resistance, or diabetes). High blood pressure. The symptoms are said to put you at a higher risk of the other conditions, but more likely just indicate an association. For instance, most diabetics are obese but obesity doesn’t cause diabetes. They have a common cause, partly genetic but also triggered by an inability to handle excessive refined carbs over a long period of time.

    For me, insulin resistance is the easiest one to follow by keeping careful track of my blood sugar readings and how I respond to meals. Very easy to do. Strips can be expensive but I have been getting them from amazon. There is also a home A1c monitoring kit which indicates an average blood sugar over a few months rather than at that moment. Don’t expect your doctor to encourage you to home test if your lab numbers have looked sort of ok, and without testing both before and after meals you really won’t have the picture. Do what you can to keep your blood sugar under control and a great many other issues can fall into line. Like overweight, joint pains, asthma, etc. The question becomes what numbers to aim for. I have discovered that I am only very mildly insulin resistant, but I’ve seen the major life change my husband is going through with diabetes and I don’t want it to progress there. It’s also the best way I can control my lipid numbers and other aspects of my health.

    The best books I have read on any of this are Gary Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and Stephen Phinney’s “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living”. They have convinced me that the “diseases of civilization” (featuring the metabolic syndrome as a starting point) are from our inability to handle excessive refined carbs over a period of time. I’m more moderate than low carb but I’ve made a major effort to erase sugar, white flower products and refined starches from my basic diet (still susceptible to binges of course, LOL).

    I'm aiming for a minimum of 30 min. a day of exercise
    I believe the benefit is at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, like walking with a purpose, where you can still easily catch your breath. It improves insulin resistance for the next day or so and that improves fat metabolism. Anaerobic exercise helps build muscle which also improves insulin resistance over a longer period by creating more places to take up blood sugar. Moving around the way you do should help too but I don’t know by how much.
    Last edited by Brooks; 01-08-2013 at 09:49 AM.

  7. #207
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I have metabolic syndrome, too. At one time, my doctor was having me monitor my blood sugar level but I haven't had to do that in well over a year now. My doctor has been encouraging me to lose weight, cut cholesterol, and exercise, plus she has me get bloodwork done every six months to check my cholesterol and iron levels.

  8. #208
    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I started following the Nutritarian diet Dr. Fuhrman talks about in his book, "Eat to Live" and on his PBS show about 2 years ago. It's mostly greens and beans with fruits and nuts. Some nonfat dairy and lean fish/chicken (10% of your diet) and rarely sweets/red meat/oil. I've been trying to stay away from "white" foods (rice, flour, potatoes) for even longer. I've lost and kept off about 40 lbs. over the last 3 or 4 years, but have much further to go. The cholesterol scare has me back on the wagon... it's easy to start straying with a little of this and a little of that. Cheese is one of my weaknesses. Chocolate in waves. Haven't actually had any for over a week now that I think of it.
    Count your blessings!

  9. #209
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    Re: Food and Health?

    My cousin, who's an organic farmer in Wisconsin, just sent me a kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), dairy kefir grains, and water kefir grains. This is my first attempt (way back in college, I used to make my own yogurt) at these items, so -- fingers crossed!
    Right now, on my counter, are my very first batches of lotus green tea kombucha, goat milk kefir, and water kefir base which I'll mix tomorrow with pomegranate juice before continuing the probiotic fermentation process.
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  10. #210
    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    Wow! Back when I used to make my own yogurt, you just used a little of some other yogurt. Good luck!
    Count your blessings!

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