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i'll eat up all your crackers and your licorice
My doctor has informed me that my cholesterol levels aren't as good as they could be. My LDL is just starting to reach the high range and my triglycerides are considerably out of whack (243 as opposed to under 149). So I've spent the weekend learning a little about cholesterol and exploring options for altering my diet/life that might help. I will go back in 3 months for more blood-work to see if anything has changed.

Near as I can tell, triglycerides form in the blood from unused calories, regardless of their source (fats, carbs, proteins), so in addition to trying to lower my cholesterol intake, I'm also trying to find ways to reduce the intake of fats and carbs. I have a sneaking suspicion that my triglycerides can probably be corrected merely by altering my use of a single substance: soda. I drink a LOT of soda. It's just a bit past noon and I'm already on my third can of the day. So over the coming week I'm going to be trying various diet/free versions of sodas and see if I can find a suitable alternative to my usual regimen of Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper. Currently, my soda intake probably accounts for half of my calorie and carbohydrate intake.

I also plan to add some running to my life. I had been planning on this anyway, even before finding out about my cholesterol. I need to invest in some running shoes and appropriate clothing first. I think between the exercise and altering my soda consumption, I'll probably get my triglycerides back into a more appropriate range.

When I went grocery shopping this week, I was reading labels and trying to buy things which are a little better for me. However, it's clear that some things which are meant to be reduced/no fat/light alternatives to certain things are just shit. They look like shit, smell like shit, and taste like shit. I tried a slice of a fat free cheese single and nearly gagged. I'm still going to give it a go on an actual sandwich. Perhaps it'll be more tolerable mixed with the turkey, cheese and mayonnaise. Speaking of mayonnaise, I'm trying a canola-based mayo that has considerably less cholesterol, fat, and calories than traditional mayo. I took a taste of it off a spoon last night when I got home. It didn't taste like shit, and had an approximation to the flavor of regular mayo, so it might prove to be a suitable replacement.

Yesterday, I also began keeping a food journal for my own curiosity - tracking what I eat and the calories, fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates they contain. Since this first week will contain some changes, but nothing terribly drastic, it'll give me an idea of what my diet has been like. I've never really paid any attention to what I eat. If it was good, I ate it. As my metabolism continues its slow grind down to an eventual halt, though, my body can't process and handle everything I throw at it with the grace and ease with which it always has. While I'm more than willing to take reasonable steps to remain healthy as I age, at the same time, I don't see any point in prolonging a life where I feel like I'm constantly denying myself the things I enjoy and/or having to eat shit-alternatives. I'll practice moderation and compromise, but barring some serious condition that would necessitate it, I'm not going to severely restrict my diet in some attempt to thwart the grim reaper. The end is the same for all of us regardless of what we do. It's like Redd Foxx once said: "Health nuts are going to feel stupid some day, lying in hospitals dying of nothing."
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Fat free dairy is not really very good for you. Instead, try the light or 2% versions. Fat free dairy is mostly checmically altered and full of sugars to replace the flavor removing all the fat takes out. Trust me, man, I KNOW my diet foods. Been on a diet, or feeling guilty for NOT being on a diet for most of my life. :) Also, you can trust me as I have recently lost 70 lbs. :)))) And, I miss you. Unrelated, but true.

Really, the only dairy I have with any regularity is cheese. Regardless if it's very good for me or not, the fat free dairy probably won't remain in my diet just because it tastes so horrid. I'll just have to make certain concessions on dairy where/when I can.

While reflecting on my current my job vs. previous trucking jobs in a conversation with Erin over the weekend, I told her that I miss getting to see you in KC every now and then.

Congrats on the 70 lbs!

I drink coke like you do, if not worse. It's been two years since I changed to diet coke. It was pretty nasty at first but now regular coke is. I also like the diet dr.pepper and the diet cherry dr.pepper.

It's probably time for me to get some blood work done too :(

I actually gave Diet Dr. Pepper a go yesterday. I couldn't even finish it. Last night I bought a bunch of cans/bottles of various calorie free drinks in a truckstop and as I type this I'm trying to choke back a Coke Zero. Both of them have that weird diet-y aftertaste that I can't stand. I have a few more to try, but I have a feeling I'm going to end-up limiting my soda intake rather than switching to diet.

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And tons of salsa and beans. Salsa is a great, healthy topper you can use instead of sour cream and cheese. Beans have very little fat, but they're full of protein and make you feel full. Salsa and beans are my staples.

My main problem is the circumstances of my daily life. If it were simply a matter of making better choices this would be a lot easier.

The idea behind all the sandwich making is one of economics: the sandwiches provide me a daily meal that I don't have to "eat out" and saves a ton of money. Keeping the items necessary for preparing a salad in my truck (not to mention, enough for 5 of them) isn't practical.

Finding healthy alternatives to fried chicken, cheeseburgers, and pizza in places where I can actually park a truck are few. As for fruit and vegetables, for the past year I've been making an effort to carry some raw bell peppers and carrots with me onto the road every week.

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it's so simple it's a little horrifying. no processed foods, lots of water, and as many fruits and veggies as you can stand. you can eat pretty much anything you want if you keep it within those parameters...my cholesterol's distressingly healthy given what i eat normally (eggs, fats, carbs), because i also drink a shitload of water, take vitamins and don't eat any fried or processed food. there's no margarine or light anything in this house. oh, and i also walk a lot.

At home, I do a lot of this. It's life on the road where staying away from processed foods becomes difficult. I'm convinced that 80% of my problem is the soda.

Yesterday I tracked what I ate. It was a fairly typical day on the road for me in terms of my diet. My cholesterol intake was about half of the recommended amount. My fat intake was a smidge high but nothing to worry about. But my carbohydrates are very high, even though my calorie count isn't particularly high. Just eliminating the soda from my diet would cut my carbohydrate/calories in half for a typical day.

Good on you for tackling this to keep in good health! Take it one small step at a time, so you'll have a better chance of being able to stick with it long term.

Diet Dr Pepper and plain old Fresca (which many people don't know is diet) are pretty yummy, if you haven't tried them already.

And spacing out some of your cholesterol heavier foods so you only have them once every 2 weeks is a good start. It sounds like you will be leaping ahead with cutting down on regular soda, though :)

I don't know that I've ever had Fresca. I'm not usually a fan of citrus-flavored sodas but I'll have to give it a try. I had a Diet Dr. Pepper yesterday. I couldn't finish it.; it was gross.

Awww, boo! Sorry about the diet Dr. Pepper. I've found it is one of the less gross diet versions of the real thing. And if citrus don't work, well, keep on experimenting. Diet root beer/cream soda, flavored seltzers... even adding a splash of juice to seltzer isn't a bad idea. I'll shut up now, you'll figure it all out :)

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