August 25, 2018 at 7:56 pm #13253
My cholesterol was tested last week, and the results left me in shock. My doctor has agreed to allowing me three months to see if I can reduce the bad cholesterol number and raise the good one (which was normal) through diet and exercise.
I’ve spent this week researching. I also got some help from my college roommate’s daughter, who has her M.A. in dietetics–and who recently received her Physician Assistant degree.
Some changes, such as eating oats for breakfast every morning and incorporating more beans into my diet, are obvious and easy to accomplish. A hard look at my baking–and my eating of it–shows that especially in this past year, there has been a lot of baking with butter and cream. That must change. Physical activity (walking) had been better these past couple of months, with better weather and recovering from the plantar fasciitis I developed last year that took a while to heal. I’d even lost five of the fifteen pounds I’d targeted; whatever the results of trying to lower my cholesterol numbers, I anticipate that these changes will help me there.
My friend’s daughter suggested I pay attention not to “cholesterol” but to saturated fat and aim for less than 7% of it per day (or even 5 % as AHA guidelines say). My doctor also wants me to increase my calcium intake slightly to hit 1200 mg, so I need to keep low-fat dairy. Certain foods will become rare treats, and in much smaller amounts.
I recall when Mike Nolan had to embark on the low-salt diet. My feelings are similar as I start the journey to cut most saturated fat. I will need to re-focus my baking and cooking, so there will be some interesting experimentation ahead.August 25, 2018 at 8:13 pm #13254
Recent studies suggest that dietary cholesterol has little or no impact on blood cholesterol and heart health.
For example, see cholesterol study
Eggs were nearly outlawed by the ‘food police’ over the last few decades, but it turns out they’re actually good for you. It also appears that butter is better for you than most margarines.August 26, 2018 at 2:23 pm #13264
Yes, I think that is why she said to think of an egg as 2 grams of saturated fat; do not over do but ok to have. The biggest change will be in what I bake because 1 Tbs. of butter has 7 grams of saturated fat, and I’m trying to stay between 11-14 grams per day. Butter will not vanish from my baking, but I will be moving toward recipes that use less of it.August 26, 2018 at 3:57 pm #13269
When I switched from using margarine and/or shortening to using mainly butter, my serum cholesterol went down and my good/bad cholesterol ratio improved too. My doctor asked what I did to change it, I told him I started eating more butter.August 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm #13271
Oh, that it would work for me! Clearly, I’ve been eating too much of what I bake with butter.
I stopped using Crisco for baking early this year. I use it only to grease pans and to make THE Grease for coating pans. I don’t use margarine for baking or eating and do not plan to start. My pie crusts are now made with all butter. I’ll save the butter crust for special pies and occasions–and maybe limit the pie baking as well–although the KAF 200th Anniversary Baking book does have a deep dish oil pastry, and I know that there will be Granny Smith apples at next week’s farmers’ market from the honey people.
After my shock last week, I did not make the peach hand pies I had been anticipating. I ate the peaches as is, which was fine, as they are wonderful peaches. Instead, I baked the recipe for five small loaves of zucchini bread that uses oil and three eggs. I froze two, and my husband has helped me eat the other three, so I am within parameters.August 29, 2018 at 8:57 pm #13293
When I was forced to start thinking about changes in how I cook and bake, I knew right away that I would not be happy with most recipes that try to be “healthier” by substituting in another ingredient, as most of the time, the result is disappointing, because taste and texture are nothing like the original recipe. Sometimes changes work–less butter in waffles–and sometimes they don’t. I once tried a waffle recipe that used applesauce instead of butter. I was, shall we say, unimpressed with the soggy result.
I’m approaching the change for me by concentrating first on recipes that I already have and enjoy–such as lentil soup and my steel-cut oats–that fit within my new dietary parameters. Secondly, I’m looking at it as an opportunity to try a variety of new recipes and techniques. Thirdly, if diet and exercise can get the numbers under control, I can look forward to the occasional, now forbidden, treat.August 30, 2018 at 7:11 am #13296
Baker Aunt, I think you already make a lot of substitutions to make your baking more healthy, and your meals seem to be healthy, also, although your adjustments may not be focused on lowering cholesterol. I think a lot, or even most, issues of cholesterol are due to genetics (unscientific thinking!). My Dad ate lots of fat: butter, the thick layer of fat around a steak, etc. My Mother had other health issues and ate no fat. His cholesterol readings were great, her’s were always “bad”. I inherited my mother’s genes – when my readings climbed, I tried to control the levels with diet, and it didn’t work. Of course, this was 40 years ago, and the choice of reduced fat foods was minimal, and whoever had heard of quinoa?? I eat much healthier today, but I control my cholesterol with meds. I’m glad you’re making some changes, and hope you are successful!August 30, 2018 at 10:19 pm #13302
Thank you, Chocomouse.September 10, 2018 at 5:24 pm #13408
Dairy fat and health story:
Washington Post story
Hopefully this story isn’t behind WaPo’s paywall.September 10, 2018 at 8:26 pm #13411
Thanks, Mike. I was able to read the story. It does seem that there is still confusion about dairy fat in the field of diet and nutrition.September 10, 2018 at 8:30 pm #13414
Much of what was taught about nutrition in the 50’s and 60’s (like the food triangle, which recommended far too many servings of carb-laden grains) was wrong.
Sadly, there are still people who promote those out-of-date ideas.September 11, 2018 at 8:50 am #13417
In the early days of food nutrition, the problem was making sure people ate enough nutritious food. So the advice was to eat meat, and milk, and vegetables and starch and plenty of that. This is barely a generation from when people often had problems from eating only cornmeal mush. Rickets and scurvy and pellagara used to be too common.September 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm #13418
It’s very difficult to get clear nutritional information even in 2018. The doctor’s office was of no help. Their answer to calcium and Vitamin D issues was to hit me with over the counter supplements. At no time, did anyone ask about my diet and physical activity. I got good advice from my friend’s daughter because she has her M.A. in Dietetics There is no known history in my family of hereditary high cholesterol, which makes the lipid panel results all the more puzzling. I’m also wondering if another medication I take may have contributed to those high readings. I’ll ask the doctor after they repeat the lipid panel (and Vitamin D test), which I was told would be done after three months. In the meantime, I will follow my low-saturated fat diet, which in addition to removing butter’s centrality (sob), includes skinning baked chicken, not having those bacon-tomato sandwiches I’ve been looking forward to eating with our home grown tomatoes (I did eat them with the rest of the bacon in the house), eating steel-cut oats almost every morning (it’s a good thing that I like them a lot), and including more fish, having some meatless meals, and incorporating more beans and a greater variety of vegetables. I assume the new diet, and the increase in walking time, is why I have managed to lose 3 1/2 lbs.September 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm #13420
The connection between iodine and goiters has been well known since the early 20th century, iodized salt was first introduced in the 1920’s and widely available for most of the 20th century, yet having grown up in NW Illinois I remember several farmers who had goiters during the 60’s and 70’s.
Many medical schools didn’t start requiring nutrition courses until about 15 years ago. My former GP (he recently moved to another town closer to his grandchildren as sort of a lead-in to retirement, he’s in his 50’s) once told me that the nutrition information he learned in med school was worthless.September 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm #13421
Until recently I was never asked if I exercised when I had my annual physical. The connection between health and exercise was never taken seriously. I do exercise faithfully and the only medication I take is Prolia for what was osteoporosis (now osteopenia). Unfortunately for exercise to work it has to be a part of your life like brushing your teeth. The best part of exercise is the good feeling you get when you are done.
A few years back the doctors starting testing for vitamin “d” deficiency. I was deficient and started taking the “d” supplement. Now I test fine. Should have purchased stock in Vitamin D.September 12, 2018 at 11:54 am #13431
This article may be behind their paywall, but it is interesting, it talks about a study that may be flawed.
See Wall Street Journal article.September 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm #13432
Only the first paragraph can be viewed, and then the paywall hits.
I was always puzzled by high carb diets.
I was also puzzled by the low-carb diets that threw bread out the window.September 12, 2018 at 2:52 pm #13434
Many store breads deserve to be thrown out the window.September 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm #13436
I have not bought any “store breads” for many years (except I do keep Sandwich Thins in tee freezer, for when I run out of bread; I’m still trying to replicate the Thins, but nothing is right yet), and I am including any bakery type products. I did meet up with friends, twice in the last year, at the KAF Cafe. Once I had a scone, and the other time an elephant ear. I was so disappointed – they were not good at all: dry, hard, no flavor, stale even, although they are fresh every day.
As for cutting bread out of a low carb diet? Amazing! A reasonable serving size can be good for you – loaded with healthy whole grains and good fats. On the other hand, a real pet peeve of mine is discussions of diabetic diets that cut out all sugar, but ignore carbs. Digested sugars turn to carbs, so diabetics need to monitor breads, potatoes, corn, etc – it isn’t just about the frosting on the cake! Thanks everyone for getting me excited — rant over!September 12, 2018 at 3:33 pm #13437
My wife is a big fan of the Diabetes Solution Kit, which she used to lose quite a bit of weight, though it did not bring her type II diabetes under control (nor did she really expect it to.)
It emphasizes carbs over calories.
Their website is terrible, though. IMHO it’s worse than their infomercials.
There are a number of sites that have reviewed this material, some are positive, others are negative. My wife showed the material to her GP, he was impressed by it.September 12, 2018 at 9:38 pm #13448
Of course, we all need some fat in our diet. I read that we cannot fully access the nutrients in a salad without the oil in some salad dressing; the key is in not overdoing it.October 5, 2018 at 5:06 pm #13639
We returned today from my husband’s family reunion. I never realized how heavy his cousins are on the saturated fat and trans fat. We both took along our oatmeal for breakfast, while they had bacon and eggs and potatoes for breakfast every morning. Lunch was usually some kind of sandwich, so I could make that meal work, especially as I brought wholegrain bread (which I discovered they avoid, something of which I’d had an inkling at a previous reunion) as well as non-fat Greek yogurt. Dinner, every night, was a major issue for me, although I kept quiet and tried to limit the damage–not easy when two nights feature savory pies (and Crisco crusts), and the early Thanksgiving dinner featured a turkey that had baked under cheesecloth soaked in butter. My husband also let me know that a lot of butter and half and half went into the potatoes, so I kept my helping small. I had not shared my lifestyle change in advance of the reunion because I thought it would be an easy workaround, with an occasional choice of when to allow myself to eat an item that was outside parameters. At least there were nice salads every evening.
I will need to give some thought to how to stay on course at the next reunion, as they are usually 3-4 day affairs in removed locations. I should have a better idea in a year where I stand in terms of my cholesterol numbers. I don’t want to insist that meals conform to my needs, but it would have been nice if it had not been so difficult to stay on track.
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