Monday, September 13, 2010

Good news - I'm healthy!

Scott and I recently got the results from our blood work. I admit, I was a little nervous to see my cholesterol levels. After all, we eat a very high fat diet - especially saturated fat.

Happily, my cholesterol levels look great. My HDL is actually four points
higher than my LDL (74 versus 70 mg/dL), and my total:HDL ratio is 2.2:1. (5:1 is considered good, and 3.5:1 is ideal, so 2.2 is beyond ideal.) Scott's numbers are darn good too.

I know that our diet and exercise regimen isn't for everyone, but it sure seems to be working for us. Here's a quick write-up of how we eat and play.
  • No grains or sugar. We don't eat any grains at home, and we mostly avoid them when we're out (exceptions being a slice or two of pizza, which I can't resist, and home-cooked meals at friends' houses). We hardly ever eat sugar at home (including agave nectar and honey). We do eat a little dark chocolate most evenings.
  • Lots of non-starchy produce. We eat a lot of vegetables and try to stick to the less-starchy ones. (More leafy greens, fewer potatoes.) I usually have one serving of fruit each day.
  • Lots of saturated fat: plenty of fatty cuts of meat (and bacon and sausage) and around two eggs per day. When we sauté things, we use animal fat that we've rendered. Sometimes we use coconut oil & flour, and we enjoy our avocados.
  • Full-fat dairy (which means yet more saturated fat), mostly its fermented forms: yogurt and cheese. Scott is religious about full-fat dairy, and I'm glad - it's so much tastier. We use whole milk to make our own yogurt and eat about a gallon each week between the two of us.
  • MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids), mostly in the form of almonds, olives and olive oil.
  • Fish: a can of sardines (or tuna) is one of my favorite snacks. I buy them packed in water, since the oil-packed variety uses soy oil, which is almost all omega-6. We eat seafood once or twice a week for dinner.
  • Lots of fermented foods: yogurt, kim chi, sauerkraut, kombucha, soy sauce, miso, fermented tofu, fermented anchovy juice... Asian groceries are a great source for these things. I think these foods are really good for gut and immune system health.
  • A few supplements: 2400 mg of fish oil (omega-3s) and 1000 IUs of vitamin D3 with dinner each night.
  • CrossFit: We get in a good, hard (not necessarily lengthy) workout at least four times a week. And, of course, since we live in Davis, we mostly bike or walk instead of drive.

Changes ahead. We like our habits, but there's always room for improvement!
  • Higher quality meat, eggs and dairy. We're going to rely less on the UC Davis meat lab for our meat and eggs and opt for 100% grass fed options. We started buying organic milk instead of the grocery store brand. Not sure yet if we'll go all the way to buying grass-fed milk... it's expensive, but it's healthier.
  • More intermittent fasting: we weren't fasting very much over the summer, but we're getting back into it now. There are tons of ways to do it. What works for us is an 18-hour fast followed by a 6-hour eating window. For example, I fasted from 8pm last night until 2pm today. I had a snack at 2pm, a big meal at 4:30, and I'll have another small meal around 7:30.
  • More standing: Scott bought a desk that's high enough for us to stand up at while working. It requires more energy than sitting, but it's definitely better than sitting slumped on the couch for hours each day.

Let me know if you have questions - I'm happy to send you resources, references and more information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, Libby! You guys are a great example to the rest of us who are just transitioning.

I have to recommend the various locally-raised, grass-fed, humanely-raised meats available at the Farmers Market. I have had some great quality stuff there, and it is cheaper by far than the organic/grass-fed meats at the Co-op or Nugget.