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I just don’t want to look back and think “I could have eaten that.”

A Day in the Life 7: I Have High Cholesterol

I’ve know for years that I have high cholesterol. Every year when I get my physical results back my doctor asks me if there’s room to improve in my diet. I always say yes. I make healthy food choices for about a week and then I’m back to eating fatty foods. This year my cholesterol is the highest its ever been and my doctor was like “you need to do better, because I’m going to have to medicate you”.

I do not want to have to take medication so I have 3 months to prove to her that I can adjust my diet and lower my cholesterol. In order to help me keep track of what I eat and to document the amount of cholesterol I ingest on a daily basis I bought this app called Cholesterol Manager.

This app cost $3.99 on iTunes. I didn’t want to have to pay for an app and certainly not that much for one. However, all the other free apps that I found that had great reviews mainly concentrated on calories. I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m trying to control my cholesterol.

I read online that the daily average for cholesterol should be about 300 mg. However, for those of us that have high cholesterol levels we need to lessen that amount. So, I have my app set at 200 mg a day. As you can see in this picture I went over my limit by 15 mg last Wednesday.

I really like this app, because there’s a barcode scan feature that let’s you pull up the nutritional data for all kinds of food items. It also has a feature that allows you search restaurant menu items as well. That’s genius and is super helpful for someone like me.

I did way better on this day. I was well under my 200 mg daily limit. I’m pretty poor at metrics so sometimes I wonder if I’m logging the correct amount of ounces. I will get better by using this app I’m sure.

The best thing about watching what I eat is that it’s making me choose food items that I would normally not select. I’m a creature of habit and I will order the same things over and over again. Now that I know that I should not order my usual fatty hamburger or tempura shrimp bowl I am choosing things like this Orzo Tabouli Salad with a side of Salmon Kabobs from Zoe’s Kitchen.

I am not a fan of tart dressing and this came with a lemon vinaigrette so I wasn’t sure if it was going to like it. To my complete delight I found that I really enjoyed this dish. The vinaigrette went amazing with the orzo and salmon. I would definitely order this again.

This lunch option from Modern Market is courtesy of my co-worker Jeri. It’s something that I would never order for myself, but she had ordered this a day in advance for delivery to our office. On delivery day she was sick and didn’t come into work. She sent me an IM and asked if I wanted it. My lunch plans had fallen through so I said “sure”.

This is the Sesame Tofu with lemon maple vinaigrette. The sides are Ginger Maple Veggies and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. This is a vegan meal that I wasn’t sure I would enjoy, but I was glad that I had the opportunity to try it. The sesame tofu was pretty good. It didn’t taste like anything of course, which is why it came with the vinaigrette. The vinaigrette had a really robust flavor. It was actually a little too robust for me and I’m glad I dipped my tofu into it rather than pour it over the top. A little goes a long way that’s for sure. The veggies were delicious, but my favorite has to be the garlic mashed potatoes. That had the most flavor punch for me. There was a lot of black pepper in it and you could definitely feel it in the back of your throat. I don’t think I would order this combination again, but it was good to try it.

Fortunately, for me I can still have sushi. Seafood is really good for people with high cholesterol, but there are some items that I will need to stay away from. This includes shrimp and unagi (freshwater eels) which are high in cholesterol. As you can see from this chirashi bowl I really shouldn’t have eaten the shrimp and tamago (Japanese sweetened egg omelette).

Although it appears to be lean, beef tongue is actually high in fat and cholesterol. Organ meats in particular contain a high level of cholesterol. I happen to enjoy grilled beef tongue so this is sad for me. I had a cheat day of sorts last night when I went to my favorite Japanese izakaya and ordered this dish. I probably could have gotten away with eating just one piece, but I had like 4.

I’m not going to beat myself up too much about it. I have to remember that I have been doing a really good job so far and it’s okay to indulge every once in a while. Just don’t go crazy when you’re doing it!!!

You don’t have to be overweight to have high cholesterol. This is the size of my wrist and arm if this gives you an idea of what my body type is like. My doctor says that my high cholesterol is actually hereditary. Of course, I don’t help it by choosing foods high in fat, but I did inherit this from my dad’s side of the family. They’re all pretty slender, but they have high cholesterol.

Anyway, if you haven’t had your cholesterol levels checked I suggest that you do so. High cholesterol can increase your chances of having a heart attack, heart disease and stroke. You definitely do not want to have any of those!

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