Dumping dairy

So you may recall that last fall, I was given some pretty bad news when it came to my cholesterol.  Back in October when this information was handed down, my doctor recommended 6 months of “lifestyle modifications” and if they numbers are no better, medication might not be a bad idea.  Well, I’ve had six months of “lifestyle modifications in fits and starts.”  I’ve been very plus-minus about exercise and have tried on all sorts of attempts at changing how I eat.  The fact is that I use food very much like a drug.  Having a bad day at work?  Let’s indulge in the worst food I could possibly pick for someone with high cholesterol.

In an attempt to keep me around longer than another 10 years, Heidi kicked me in the butt this week and talked me into giving her diet of no (or very little) refined sugar, as little processed food as possible and relying primarily on fruits and vegetables as your food source.  I have to admit, I had to be dragged into it kicking and screaming – mostly because I was still mad that I had to do it at all.  She told me it would be like kicking a drug habit, because sugar has the same effect on our brains that drugs like heroin do.  It gives you a high and it keeps on taking more and more to get the same kind of high.  The hardest part has been convincing my brain that when my stomach is full, I don’t need to eat anything else.  That and passing up french fries in the cafeteria at work.

As I keep saying, the goal of my 40s is to make it so I don’t have serious health problems in my 50s.  I know so many people whose bodies just start falling apart when they hit 50 or, God forbid, even younger.

One thing that I’ve done that I did rather begrudgingly is give up milk.  I have always been a big milk drinker.  Heidi’s been drinking Silk Unsweetend Almond Milk for months now, while Anna and I have continued to consume cow’s milk.  So the other day when I went to the store to get some stuff to eat so that I didn’t go into this with no options as far as eating goes, I bought some Almond Breeze almond/coconut milk blend.  I was dubious, but willing to give it a try.  I tried some on cereal last night and I’ll be damned, it was pretty good.  I haven’t had a glass of it straight up or anything, but so far, it seems like a good alternative to cow’s milk, so much so that I don’t really miss it.  Not sure what I’ll do when it comes time to make hot chocolate, since it’s pretty imperative that it not taste like coconut (which this does), but I figure I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Tonight I feel like I’m over the hump.  I haven’t had pop in 72 hours – something that was heretofore unheard of – and I feel pretty damn good.  This is the first night I’ve come home from work in a long time and didn’t feel the immediate urge to take a nap.  If that’s one of the side effects of eating like this, I’ll take it.

Who knows where this will take me.  It’s probably starting too late to affect the results of my lipid profile that I’ll repeat in about 3 weeks, but I’ll just have to beg the doctor for 6 more months to try and continue to work on it.  Some of the results I’ve read about and seen from adopting this kind of diet have been pretty amazing.  I know that the results aren’t typical, but I figure that I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by trying.

Once again, my wife was right.  That would piss me off if I didn’t love her so goddamn much.

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2 Responses to Dumping dairy

  1. Elliot says:

    That sounds a good start Dan. I started going to the gym about ten years ago now, attempting three times a week. Aside from the odd ill days or commitments to other things, I pretty much stick to it. These days I try to do one day of cardio / abs, and the other two days on a mix of weights / machines, then a week every so often of just cardio. The point I’m getting to is that once I got going and the first few weeks were tough, once I hit a reasonable level of fitness, it has become a habit that I’ve since always wanted to maintain. This later led into being more choosy with my diet. I still eat ice-cream and chocolate, but try to keep that to a weekend. I try to avoid a lot of fatty or processed food, eat more fish and vegetables. I do drink milk (1%) but I avoid all sugary drinks for the most part. Sure I indulge from time to time and have the odd day of eating junk, but for the most part I do quite well. Once you get going and see the benefits, it is likely you will also, just keep going through those first few weeks.

  2. Tina's Pharm says:

    Good for you for trying lifestyle modifications before drugs!! I am on day 8 of going dairy free. I already eat really healthy but thought I would give up dairy and see if I feel even better – plus milk may be contributing to acne. P.S. I’m a Pharm.D. too =)

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