Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Monday, January 28, 2008

I *Heart* Cheese, Red Meat, Bacon, Chocolate...

And a whole host of other foodstuffs that my cardiologist would say that my heart could do without.

Yes. Today I had my first visit to a cardiologist, a much needed visit considering that my father has been afflicted with heart disease since his thirties. The doctor was a trim, pert woman who looked the very picture of health, so much so that I longed to heed her advice. Until that advice included eliminating half of my diet.

Drink skim milk? Not in this lifetime. No occasional bacon? How could she? I used to think that I could change my diet in a flash if it meant better health. The problem here is that I am not so certain of the results. My cholesterol is barely problematic. The overall number is low but the bad fats (LDL's) are ever so slightly elevated. Conventional doctors will insist this is cause for concern yet current news suggests it may not be so black and white.

The kind doctor recommended that I try to lower the amount of high cholesterol foods in my diet, recognizing that pure elimination would not be happening around this house. She said, "You seem to know what is good and bad. I mean obviously bacon is bad." Are two measly pieces of bacon really that bad? From an heirloom pig? I am sure that Nina Planck would beg to differ.

This is her take (which I consider as license to keep eating my way):

"What about the dread LDL? In half of all heart disease cases, LDL is 'normal' or 'desirable.' In other words, 'high' LDL predicts heart disease with the accuracy of a coin toss. In older men and women, high LDL means you live longer. (These studies are in my book, Real Food. For more facts like these, see The Cholesterol Skeptics." A compelling argument, to say the least.

In addition to cutting down on many of my favorite foods, Dr. T. has also suggested that I follow a "Mediterranean Diet" full of fish (apparently she does not know my husband..will see how far that gets me).

Where does this all leave me? I want to be the healthiest I can be so that Izzy has his mama around for as long as possible yet I am unsure if changing my diet is the best mode of doing so. Granted I could cut back a bit on the cream (not too much, mind you) and in six months perhaps I will get this new test that Dr. T. recommended, called an Electron Beam CT Scan. This new technology will indicate and assess any calcium build-up in my arteries, an indicator of coronary plaque..Trouble is, if the results aren't good, who knows what I will have to do.

Until then, what's a little bacon between friends?

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