C-Word Update

Fortunately for me, cholesterol is one of those things you can’t just conveniently check for yourself (as would be the case for heart rate or weight) — so I’m insulated from the temptation obsessively to check to see how much progress I’m making. Not that I would have made much in a week anyway, of course.
 
But I did attempt some push-ups this morning, Dave, and also some sit-ups. They wouldn’t have satisfied drill sergeant, nor even a blind gym teacher, but it’s a start. I’ll explore various alternative forms of oatmeal (including Margaret’s suggestion), and will check up on dietary information about the possible acceptability of cheese. And the family will consult on the ethical implications of a vegetarian taking fish oil. And walking more is definitely on the horizon — something we keep discussing, but haven’t gotten around to.
 
Oh, and Dave, thanks again for Between Here and Gone; the title track came around on my capacious iPod while I was grading papers this morning (using my late father’s old fountain pen), and I was touched. Thank you.

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’m no authority, but I have had fish oil and flax seed oil recommended to me as interchangeable supplements, with the same dietary and health benefits.

  2. It seems that cholesterol is more conveniently checked than it used to be, with gadgets like this one.

    However, I believe that remaining “insulated from the temptation obsessively to check” is still a better plan.

  3. I think Carol’s right about flax seed oil, but there may be other components, or ratios of components, in fish oil that offer some additional benefit. But flax seed oil is definitely a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

    As I recall, the fish get theirs from eating smaller fish that eat algae, which are at the base of the Omega-3 production chain.

  4. I’m not a doctor either but I’ve learned a lot to manage my diabetes. Let me try to summarize what I have learned from people who mix reading the research for themselves, “my body, my science experment,” and a desire to avoid strong medications.

    If your HDL is over 70 you don’t have to worry about your LDL (there may be some point at which this is not true, but high HDL makes it likely that more of your LDL is the ok kind, not the bad kind).

    Exercise is the best way to raise HDL. I know an overweight black man with diabetes (ie. the kind of person a doctor would expect to have bad cholesterol numbers) who has raised his HDL over 100 by bicycling.

    If high Triglycerides are the worst problem, what will help most is a lower carbohydrate way of eating. Eating whole grain bread and brown rice helps some but the total carbohydrate level still matters. Avoid beer; whether wine is bad or good is less clear.

    Some people with a genetic form of high cholesterol have to be very careful to avoid eating it, for most people eating dairy fats is probably not an issue, particularly when you don’t eat meat (which is a worse kind of fat than dairy products). Try to eat more good fats (nuts and olive oil) and avoid trans fats.

  5. Pam, thanks for these details. I’ll work on all this, though the executive summary seems to be that I don’t need to worry so much about what I’m eating, as I do about the exercise I haven’t been getting.

    I just wish this advice hadn’t come to me from a triathlete and a marathoner!

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