Monday, December 7, 2009

Five Weeks In

Today I had my check-up with Dr. Joel Fuhrman. A few weeks ago I got a call from Dr. Fuhrman with the results of my blood work after my first visit, and days before I started this quest.

The blood work had bad news. I was flagged by the lab as a serious risk. Your cholesterol level is a bit like your SAT scores. If there are good you brag about them. If not, you keep it a secret.

In January of this year I had my fourth knee surgery and the blood work results from my GP was what I brought to Dr. Fuhrman on my first visit. It showed very high cholesterol. Blood was then taken at his office and two weeks later Dr. Fuhrman called me. At first I thought it was quite nice for him to take the time to call me, but I quickly realized he was calling out of grave concern. Between January and October my cholesterol level increased even more.


TOTAL Cholesterol
Desirable: Below 200
Undesirable: 240 and above
Mine: 301

LDL Cholesterol
Desirable: Below 130
Undesirable: 160 and above
Mine: 227

227 is a severely dangerous and life threatening. I am embarrassed writing this for all the world to see. But, as Dr. Fuhrman said, I am changing my diet (and saving my life) just in time. He said I could have a heart attack at any moment. That is not hyperbole, and I acknowledge the damage I've done to my body through my indulgence. But, this damage is reversible!

I eagerly await the results of the blood work I gave today!

The immediate results that were measurable today was that I have reduced the circumference of my waist (measured around my belly button) by almost 5 inches! According to his scale I weighed, with my clothes on, and not long
after a hearty meal, 23 lbs lighter (my official numbers are just at 25 lbs).

But, what really made me feel good was when Dr. Fuhrman said, "Wow." Of course when a man in a white lab coat says, "Wow," you immediately say, "Wow, good? or Wow, bad?

5 weeks ago my blood pressure was 140/90 which was borderline hypertension. Today, I am happy to report it is 110/75 - excellent range!

He asked if I had any withdrawals, but I really have not. I wish I could say that I am a martyr, but in reality I am just doing what I wanted to do. I'm not miserable. I don't love it - I love the results, but I do miss my sushi, and crab meat dumplings, and flank steak, and eggs. However, I am perfectly happy with these new food choices. As I have said repeatedly, I am very good at following the rules here -I hope I can make it innate.

I told the doctor that my weakness has been eating too many starchy carbohydrates. He said that carbs like baked potato and pasta don't have as many nutrients and do not fill you up for the long term like beans. So, a little less on the starchy carbs, and more on the carbs from beans - or legumes.

Coming home I was motivated to make something delicious, and stopped at the market. I settled on chicken stir fry. The fake chicken - soy based "meat" was added to fresh zucchini, squash, broccoli, mushrooms, snow peas, green onions, and yellow peppers. I also added a little bit of ginger stir fry sauce. It was an excellent meal!

In the car ride out the cameraman asked me to answer a question about feeling "less masculine" now that I am not eating meat. It was a peculiar question. I certainly don't feel effete not eating meat. In fact, making my own food with fresh vegetables makes me feel almost caveman-like. I am eating food grown from the earth that is not processed. It is real and natural and I feel great health-wise, as well as feeling like a real man - who does not eat quiche.

Lastly, for dessert I was stoked to find cherries! I guess Chile is still harvesting cherries, and even though they were an obnoxious $10 per pound, I happily indulged.

Oh, let me address one more thing. My close friend, and the "crazy broad" (said in jest, please no hate mail) who brought this vegan idea to me in the first place asked me how I felt about the last 50 lbs I want to lose. Well, I feel the same as the first 25 lbs. Heck I feel the same as the first 12 lbs I lost. I am on a new diet. I am self aware of what I am doing, and what I am giving up. I have not lost any friends, nor have I been unable to go on dates. I am living exactly the same as I did when I was flirting daily with a heart attack, just healthier - much healthier. I wish I could feel a sense of dread, or look upon the last 50 lbs as a daunting and unmanageable task - something to make this blog more interesting - but, I can't. It is not a miserable experience.

Although I miss my favorite foods, and I look forward to reintroducing drinking into my lifestyle at some point in the future, all told, if I can have the same enjoyment from food that I did tonight, hell, I could be vegan for the rest of my life...BUT, I WON'T! At least I am 99.9% sure that I will reintroduce limited amounts of animal products into my diet once I meet my weight goal.


Anonymous said...

Lay off the double cheeseburgers there Jared!

Christopher said...

Wow...what a wake up call. I'm glad you were able to find this out before any serious damage occurred. But didn't you have routine yearly physicals?

No Doubt, Vegan Quest sounds like Vision I cant help but sing "Take my meat away..." when I read your blog.

Terrence said...

I don't take yearly physicals - I will now. When I heard my cholesterol was high in Jan I figured I would "eventually" just lose the weight and have it go down. Well, "eventually" was forced upon me and I am stoked it was!