Clean Bill of Health

During the later half of April after work calmed down, I went to my doctor for all my annual check-ups.  It had actually been three years since my last round of check-ups!  Ooops!  I need to be better about that.

The check-ups were all pretty standard, but one thing I wanted to let my doctor know was that I had cut way back on my dairy consumption in the last six months.  I thought for sure I would get a lecture about calcium so I did a little research on non-dairy sources of calcium.*  But when I told him that I cut back on dairy as a way to help my sinuses he only said “if that works for you, great!”  I was surprised.  I had heard stories of other people’s doctors chiding them about not drinking milk.  I was glad my doctor was so understanding!

Anywho at the end of it all I was granted a clean bill of health by my doctor.  Hooray!  One thing I wanted to share was my cholesterol levels.  When my doctor was going over my lab results he said “your cholesterol is not just good, it’s fantastic!  You probably are not building up any plaque anywhere in your body!”  😀  I was pretty happy to hear those words, especially since I have a big birthday coming up later this year.  Here are the numbers:

HDL (good)  61
Triglycerides  46
LDL (bad)  49  

Total Cholesterol = 119

To put this in perspective, according to the American Heart Association, total cholesterol less than 200 is desirable.  Also according to the AHA, average HDL levels in women range from 50-60 (men range from 40-50).  The higher the HDL, the better protection for your heart.  The AHA says that anything less than 100 is desirable for LDL.  Finally for triglycerides, the AHA says that anything less than 150 is desirable.

I really, really wish I had my numbers from my physical three years ago so I could compare.  I don’t think they were this low, but I just can’t remember.  Besides cholesterol everything else checked out normal including my iron.  I thought I might be a tad on the low side iron-wise since I don’t eat much meat anymore.  But it was fine.  Whew!

I think I’ve always been a relatively healthy person, but here are some things I’ve done since in the last three years that I think have contributed to my health:

1. In September 2007 I cancelled the cable television.  At the time it was too expensive and I was sick of wasting time in front of a screen.  It was hard at first not being able to watch some shows, but I quickly got used to it.  Now I hardly miss it!  I still watch some shows (24!) with my old-school bunny ear antennas but it’s planned television time, rather than flopping down on the couch to see what’s on.  I think I’m much more active in the evenings now than before.

2. In May 2008 I started my garden.  Starting a garden provided me with great exercise and a great supply of fresh produce.  I found I liked a lot more vegetables than I thought I did!  I started eating fresh peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and green beans.  Since I found I liked those vegetables I started trying more and more other vegetables too.  My meals started being based on whole, natural foods rather than processed ones.

3. In spring-summer 2009 I tried some new sports.  I’ve been a runner since 8th grade so I’ve always been pretty active.  But 15 years of running can get a little boring and I found it was easy to fall into a rut and not run anymore.  At the request of  a coworker I entered my first duathlon, which is like a triathlon except you run-bike-run instead of swim-bike-run.  I had never done much biking before and discovered I really liked it!  Then a few weeks later I swam my first race ever in our corporate olympics (50yd backstroke).  I had little to no experience swimming and finished second to last, but I was completely exhilirated by the accomplishment!  Now I want to take some swimming lessons and try swimming for exercise more often.

4. In fall 2009 I cut way back on my meat & dairy consumption (you can read a little bit about that on my About page).  I’m certainly not perfect as I know dairy sneaks into my food here and there (and I do still eat MILs cheesy potatoes when she makes them because giving that up forever would just be terrible).  But I’ve really tried to make an effort to avoid it and I think that even cutting back makes a big difference.  As for meat, I’m pretty much only eating fish now from time to time and I don’t miss eating any other meat at all. 

It might seem a little strange to share my personal health information, but I really wanted to post it to hopefully inspire others to move towards a healthy lifestyle.  But remember it’s not all or nothing!  Even just making one healthy choice per day, or week or month is a start.  Nobody is perfect!  And I’m certainly not perfect as you will find out soon in a post I have planned on my arch nemisis of food.  What could it be…..?  I bet Movie Mom knows. 🙂

*In case you are interested, non-dairy sources of calcium include but are not limited to dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens and mustard greens; broccoli; several varieties of beans including navy, soy, pinto and garbanzo; molasses, almonds, walnuts and seasame seeds.


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