Monday, February 9, 2015

Keep Your Poisons, I Want to Travel in Pretty Clothes

Four months ago, my doctor had a serious talk with me. My cholesterol and triglyceride numbers were too high. At my forty-something age, this was going to become a problem if I did not take action to get the numbers down. I was devastated. I did not want to take any of the prescription medications routinely offered. I feared some of the potentialprobable, considering my family historyside effects. Medicines also cost money. I'd much rather spend my money on travel, clothes, and girls' night out with my friends. There had to be another way.
Yoga & A Walk Everyday | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My yoga sun salutations and a 3-mile
walk, whether outside or on my
machine, are always on my to-do list. 

My doctor reviewed my overall health while I sat bewildered at the numbersI did, after all, introduce flax seed into my family's diet some time agopromising to make drastic lifestyle changes. My blood pressure was good. My blood sugars were good. She also found that several years ago, I had some success reducing my cholesterol and triglyceride numbers after visiting with a dietician. After thoughtful consideration, my doctor gave me four months. If I could significantly change my numbers through diet and exercise, she would not need to write any prescriptions. She then noted the challenge I faced considering Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and my birthdayall food-centered holidaysstanding between me and my retest. I promised her I could and would do it. I had to do it. I had to remain healthy for my family, especially my mom. 

My doctor stopped cold, looked into my eyes, put her hand on my shoulder, and declared, "You have to do it for you." Then she walked out of the room to get a nurse who would schedule my follow-up appointments for February.

Me. Yes. Of course! I needed to do this for me.

I started out on fire. Immediately ripped from my diet were white grains. No white rice or white bread. Also eliminated were white potatoes, butter, and most fruits, except for apples and the occasional banana. Olive oil became a cooking staple in my home. Brown rice and whole wheat pasta were stocked in my pantry. My only "sandwich" breads were whole grain, flax seed, and nut loaves, freshly baked in my kitchen. No more processed foods, either. But the biggest change of all was the elimination of refined sugar. No sweets. No cookies or desserts. No cakes or pies. No chocolate.

Although, I did make a few exceptions. There was the cannoli (homemade) on Mom's birthday, a piece of cake on my birthday, and a chocolate-covered mousse truffle torte dessert concoction served on the Napa Valley Wine Train. It was the Napa Valley Wine Train! An exception had to be made.
Sweet Rule Exception | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
The once in great while allowable exception
to my new no-sweets rule. But it was Napa.
We were on the Wine Train. It had to be done.

My exercise routine began with yoga every morning and two miles of walking every day. After a couple of months, my walk became three miles. Four months later, I was settled into a relatively regular routine of yoga five to six mornings a week and a three-mile walk three to four times a week. Yoga and a walk are on my to-do list every day, which keeps me from going more than two days in a row without exercise. 

What I did not give up were my red wine and olives. I did not let go of seared tuna or pecans. I always pass on the bread basket and dessert when we go out to eat. And I choose wisely from the menus. In my mind, white grains, processed food, and sugar are poison. They are the enemy. Hubby, while supportive, has grown tired of hearing about the enemy, especially when he's trying to enjoy a brownie or yeast rolls from a complimentary basket.

Finally, it was time to visit my doctor and review my retest results. Before I arrived at the doctor's office for my personal mid-life moment of truth, I already knew some important facts:
1. I lost some weight.
2. I felt better than I did four months ago.
3. I no longer craved or even missed sweets.
Homemade Healthy Bread | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My homemade whole grain, flax seed
and nut bread. I use pecans.

Before the doctor walked in, I already knew from the nurse that I'd lost 9 pounds and my blood pressure, which was already good, had gone down. But it was my doctor who delivered the really great news. 
1. Triglyceride number reduced by 55 percent.
2. Total cholesterol number reduced by 11 percent.
3. Good cholesterol number increased by 20 percent.
4. Bad cholesterol number reduced by 19 percent.
5. Cholesterol/HDL Risk Ration dropped into target range.

If I keep my numbers where they are or if they decrease more, my future can remain medication free. Folks, you can have your white grains, white potatoes, refined sugars, processed foods, and most of your chocolateI might have a taste again on my birthday. As for me, I'll be saving all that money that would have been budgeted for medications and putting it toward little getaways for Hubby and me. And some pretty clothes to wear while traveling. 

To my dearest friends, I believe my results are cause for celebration. It's time for a girls' night out!

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
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Copyright 2015 Michele Bare 

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