Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weight, Cholesterol, and Processed Foods

          When I went back to Zamboanga in late August last year, I expected myself to gain weight because I was sure I was going to indulge in a lot of foods that I haven't had in decades, plus I didn't have a weighing scale available to monitor my weight. I did indulge (especially satti) but apparently much less so than I anticipated. Instead, when I got back to Long Beach two weeks later, I had lost close to three pounds. Together with taking 40 milligrams of generic Lipitor daily, my cholesterol level also dropped dramatically. However within a month of returning to the U.S. my cholesterol level jumped about 35 points. Is that coincidental or does that have anything to say about eating fresh foods as opposed to mostly processed foods in the U.S. despite the reduction of trans fats from a lot of them? Then two months ago, I had to stop taking the Lipitor due to lingering muscle pain in all my limbs. When I had my cholesterol level checked, it was back to what it was before I started taking the statin. So I resumed taking a lower dose in hopes that the pain won't be as intense as before and that my body would adjust to it. It has been three weeks and although the pain came back within a week of restarting Atorvastatin, so far it's not as bad as it was before and it seems like I am able to maintain the intensity of my workouts.
          In the meantime, I'm trying my best to improve my diet. I've begun to refuse foods that my co-workers have been offering, especially a couple of them who usually give me fried fast foods. I also started bringing my own sandwiches to work - turkey sandwich with mustard and sriracha sauce, which I eat instead of the leftover patient snacks of ham and cheese sandwiches. But if the leftovers are turkey sandwiches, then I still eat them. Usually, when I get home from work in the morning, I have a slice of cheese and a small glass of wine to unwind. I put the kibosh on the cheese and started having a banana instead. Another change I made is instead of having ice cream, I am now opting for sherbet, which although high in sugar, it's at least dairy and fat free.
          How will these minor changes affect my cholesterol level? I won't know until the doctor orders another test. In the meantime, I have to schedule my next colonoscopy because it has been 5 years since the last one. But that's another topic for another day.

Note: half of this post was typed on a tiny Bluetooth keyboard using index fingers. Too small to touch type.

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