The Diet

So, to follow-up on the last post concerning health issues, I presumed that I would be needing to make a few dietary changes. That was an understatement.

The cardiologist had ordered some blood work done. Of the page and a half of results, everything looked good. Except for one thing. There was one reading for an enzyme that changed everything. He said this way-too-high number was indication that the Lipitor was affecting my kidneys and would eventually cause them to fail. The increase in that enzyme is also causing fatigue because it was attacking muscle.

The solution to this is to ditch the Lipitor in order to save my kidneys and to diminish the fatigue. However, with my carefree diet, this would lead to problems with cholesterol, fats, and further heart issues as well as withholding healing to the kidneys. So, the obvious solution then is a diet. A very strict diet. Plus, exercise. I’m aiming to walk a mile a day if I can get myself moving.

I’m still trying to figure out on the practical side of what it all means in real-life eating, but basically, I am good with unlimited vegetables and healthy portions of fruits. I can eat small amounts (120 grams in one meal daily) of lean meats (fish, skinless chicken, and very lean beef) each day.

I cannot eat anything from a can or processed foods. No breads with the exception of one particular kind that is supposedly available at a certain supermarket here, but it’s a very dark, hard-as-a-rock kind of bread, and then the portion for a day would be one slice, and the slice is very thin. It’s a lot of work to go find it, so I haven’t tried to find it yet. No corn. No sugar. No margarine. No orange or tomato or vegetable or carrot juices (presumably because the canned version of the latter juices have a lot of sodium in them because they do; I suspect I could juice my own and be ok, but I’d have to ask; I’d rather just eat the veggies raw or cooked). No added salt (we probably will cheat on this if my sodium level is too low). No more than 2 g of sodium per day. 1600 calories a day is max. 2 liters of water daily.

Also on the positive side, I can eat some whole grain rice, oats, nuts (small handful), a teaspoon of vegetable oil when cooking (once a day), a cup of coffee (I make it a “venti” size), balsamic vinegar, egg whites (haven’t stooped to this travesty yet), one whole egg per week (haven’t splurged yet since I only started just Saturday), nuts, panela or fresco cheese (low-fat white cheeses), a bit of legumes (not from a can or store processed, i.e. no pre-made hummus, but we’ll be making our own very soon), and there is an exception for an occasional corn tortilla (just one) or tostada (fat free…i.e. baked, just one), or the same made of nopal cactus (I found they are made mixed with corn).

This is similar to the diet I was originally on after the heart attack, so I’m faintly familiar with it. If you are desperate to lose weight or just improve your health and to feel better, I think this may be the diet for you. You probably could hedge a bit on the dairy and add more than I have so far, but with any “hedging” (a.k.a. “cheating”), you need to remember to keep it to a minimal amount so that you don’t blow the entire diet by gorging on one or two particular things (i.e. yogurt, milk, cheese, etc).

Like I said, I’ve only been on this diet for 2 full days and since today is a holiday and we slept-in very late, I’ve only had my morning oatmeal with a bit of melon and papaya and coffee so far today. My bathroom scale appears to indicate that I’ve descended 2 pounds (i.e. a pound or so a day). I started at around 212 lbs. The nutritionist is aiming for 198 lbs to get my body fat ratio lower. From what I’ve read of height and weight charts, I probably should be shooting for under 185 lbs. At this rate (if I’m really losing this kind of weight), I may actually hit that by, if not before, my next appointment in just over 2 weeks. Never trust a bathroom scale though, so I’m not going to be consumed by the weight loss (pun intended). It will come eventually on this diet. If it doesn’t, I’d have to say there is some other problem lurking under the surface because this diet is lean and mean and I need to get lean…and I mean it.

If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know it’s not starting a diet that is difficult. It’s sticking with it. I was down to 180 lbs three years ago (in about 3 months having started from about the same body weight that I am starting from this time). It needs to be a lifestyle rather than an event, so it’s a matter of reprogramming my thinking, decisions, and habits. I need to stick with this not just to maintain health, but to keep various organs from failing. It’s important. I think this will be a positive motivation to stick to it and keep sticking to it.

I like having kidneys and a functioning heart. How about you?

Diet Chart Page 1 of 2
Diet Chart Page 2 of 2

About alanbeth

What’s up? or rather, ¿Qué pasa? Hola, I’m Alan. I’m a missionary living in Mexico. We have a heart for MK Education and so we teach at a local Christian school with MK students as well as nationals and foreign students as well. I occasionally write or have a pic to share with you at my blog, Knowing Your ABCDs, which you can read with a click on the button above. You can read my blog with a click on the button above.
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