Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Diet May Contain 10% Ethanol

I had to go for a health assessment at Scott's work for our family health insurance. (Never had to do that in Scotland!) I was certain I'd meet all the criteria for a healthy person -- and I did -- but only just.

As it turns out, I have high cholesterol.

What? I thought high cholesterol was for older people with poor hearts and awful diets. Perhaps I'm older than I realize, and perhaps my diet is worse than I'd like to admit.

I guess if I'm honest with myself, my diet really *has* been awful since I moved here. Not really because of all the awesome fast food, because I very, very rarely eat out (once, maybe twice a month tops), but more because I've been depression-eating.

We all know what that is. We feel down, and there's nothing to do, so you open your pantry, but everything needs to be made and you can't be bothered so you eat half a bag of potato chips instead. And an hour later, you're bored, depressed, and peckish again, so you open the cupbard, but everything needs to be made and you can't be bothered so you pull down a handful of old Halloween candy. Rinse and repeat ad literally nauseum.

That's kind of how I've been eating for the past several months. A bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast only holds me for about an hour, then I snack on crackers, crisps, and pickled okra until lunch. I don't feel like making anything up, so I have a cheese quesodilla or three. Then I have a couple cups of tea, with a chocolate each time, until dinner, when I make a fairly reasonable family meal. But then the kids go to bed, and I'm feeling crap (I wonder why?) so I make a cup of hot chocolate to cheer myself up while I lie on the couch and watch Netflix until bedtime.

And then I'm surprised to find out I have high cholesterol.

Luckily my 'ratio' -- whatever that means -- is still good. I apparently have a good level of the good kind of cholesterol, because Scott and paleo have convinced me that animal fats, meats, cheeses* and eggs are healthy, but clearly the bad kind is pretty extreme too. This worries me.

It's worried me enough that I decided on Monday after that to get serious about my diet. I've gained a little weight - maybe between 5-10 lbs - since moving here, which I'm unhappy about, but I'm more unhappy when I reflect on how my poor eating habits of late are affecting my health. It's also highlighted for me my mental state lately too. I'm not saying I'm 'depressed' clinically or anything. I suppose in all truth I'm lonely, I'm bored, I'm cooped up in a town I don't love, and these things are affecting me emotionally and psychologically. I wear my jammies half the day. If I do get dressed, it's jeans and a t-shirt, no make-up, and a pair of glasses instead of contacts. This is so not me. I see the difference when I have a Pampered Chef party to go to, when I put on a cute outfit, fix my hair, apply my make-up and put in my contacts. I see myself in the mirror again, and I recognize the person at the party who is taking the lead, talking too much, and basking in work that she loves loves loves. THAT's me, not this slightly over-weight, frumpy, grumpy, tired, unhealthy person I'm becoming during the day.

I need to get serious about my health. The cold weather has meant I walk to school less, so I need to find another way to exercise. I'm forgoing cereal in the morning now for eggs and bacon. I'm trying to eliminate sugary/unhealthy snacking. (Though all these lovely goodies from Scotland are very tempting! All in moderation, right?) I'm trying to stick to my weekly meal plan. But mostly, I need to get in charge of my attitude. I think once I start eating better I'll start feeling more energetic and optimistic, but I also need to make an effort to be less depressed and reclusive.

Somehow the diet seems easier. And I understand more fully now how it must feel to be truly depressed. Nothing seems like more work (and possibly more useless) than trying to get out of this mental and emotional low. It's easier just to watch Netflix.

But I'll start with the food.

*Paleo doesn't officially stamp its approval on cheeses.

**The topic of 'diet' requested by Stephanie. The previous post dealt with 'loss' as requested by Alex. Your topics, people, have been a great reflection of my real life.


  1. My son eats pretty paleo. Except, I think he eats oatmeal, and I know he eats brown rice. He says you can eat certain foods to jump start your metabolism; for instance, if you eat a bunch of almonds before you eat other foods, you metabolize the other foods more quickly. I try to keep almonds in the cupboard for when I feel "peckish" for this very reason. I think sugar, white flour and processed foods are the real culprits. If you cut them out, often you can eat pretty much whatever else you want and stay healthy. I like to alternate between eggs, and oatmeal with butter, a bit of brown sugar, cream, lots of walnuts and a few raisins. When I make my oatmeal with butter and walnuts, it really holds me. My big problem is lunch because I just don't like lunch. Leftover soup is nice, if I have some. Another lunch that I enjoy is a smoothie and Beanitos chips. But Beanitos can be hard to find. Supper (dinner) is easy: meat, vegetables, salad and some rice or potatoes. But lunch is very hard. What is your favorite healthy lunch?

    1. Gah, I hate that I don't get notifications of comments on older posts. I find lunch hard too. When I was doing bentos every day, it was great - so healthy, so varied, so filling. But I'm finding bento-style foods here in the US very expensive (berries, mini sausages, etc) and I haven't had the time to make them. My favourite lunches were bento lunches - tuna with crackers, cheese, avocado, a few berries, a few carrots, some cucumber, and a tiny sweet treat. All in tiny portions. So wonderful.


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