Book Heaven

Where the world of books and life intersect

Location: South Amboy, New Jersey

I am deeply involved in trying to solve the discrepancy between being interested in zen and trying to acquire all the things I've been accumulating

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wiping My Butt

The other day I was wiping my butt (we're all friends here, right?) when I got the distinct feeling that I was mopping up a spill from the Exxon Valdez. If you're even a little bit observant you've probably noticed this unsettling phenomenon yourself. If not, you're even a more finicky eater than I am and that's not good. In my case I easily traced this occurrence to a piece of candy that was forced upon me the last time I got my hair cut. The barber has good intentions and though I never have a problem refusing something that is offered me, I do have a problem with this guy because he is so serious in taking care of his regular customers that I find it hard to refuse. The candy, purported to be European in nature, had a filling that made a Hostess Twinkie look wholesome. Needless to say I didn't enjoy it but considered downing it one of life's little concessions.

I've noticed this oil spill phenomenon on a few other occasions, most notably after eating at Chinese buffets which I no longer patronize -- most of them seem to have more unhealthy American food than Chinese anyway. This unsettling state of affairs is no doubt caused by some alien types of oils or food additives that would probably make Olestra look good. As I age I am getting much more concerned about what I put in my body although I was pretty much a nut case about this all along.

I have in fact decided to put on an all out blitz to get my cholesterol levels even lower and will soon begin logging everything I ingest. This latest project was born after a visit to the cardiologist when I observed him asking my wife how she got her cholesterol readings to improve so much. I was sorely tempted to pipe in that you have to start off the day with a pint of Ben & Jerry's (2 days worth of saturated fat) and then work in a good sized chocolate bar (actually brick sized) during the day, while making sure not to forget a hot dog or two on occasion. The sad fact is that the woman can eat virtually anything and not gain any appreciable amount of weight or even budge her cholesterol levels. I was pretty proud of myself for having finally gotten my HDL (the good cholesterol) out of the forties -- I hit 55 this time, attributable no doubt to my finally deciding to have a drink a day. My teetotaler wife on the other hand had HDL of 85 !

So I decided to pull out my copy of Cut Your Cholesterol by David Katz, M.D., and Debra L. Gordon (Reader's Digest, 2003), a book which you can probably still find in the bargain section at Barnes & Noble. I am still in the lowest risk group according to the way they rate you and obviously there's a lot more to it than your cholesterol level but it's something that you can tinker with. In my own case, a low fat diet did not give me good results at all. I actually have better results with higher fat levels but I'm very concious about where the fat comes from. Having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch and an ounce of dark chocolate at night hasn't adversely affected my readings at all. I'd probably even be better off if I upped the chocolate consumption but for me it's a mental thing and going higher would probably require hypnotism.

Also on the health front: although I haven't eaten any meat for years, I saw a new book in the library that claims that Alzheimer's may be linked to the consumption of meat. Avoid this one if you're a carnivore (sorry but I forgot the title).


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1:04 AM  

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