Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Know Your Drugs, Know Your Doses

We all rarely go to the doctor and then we unintentionally schedule one dentist appointment and two physicals on the same day for Rob and me. On top of that, none of the appointments are anywhere close to each other and it was a chilly rainy day. Rob's current job has an insurance company which is big into "knowing your numbers". We'll need to have yearly physicals as long as we are with this insurance company. Aside from being a huge baby about getting my blood drawn, I love to check out the numbers so it doesn't really bother me too much.

Rob's Numbers (49 years old):
  • Blood Pressure - 112/80 (he's always a bit high)
  • Pulse - 66
  • Total Cholesterol - 154
  • HDL - 38
  • TC/HDL Ratio : 4:1
  • LDL - 105
  • Triglycerides - 55
  • Glucose - 76
  • Rob didn't ask for a B12 test, he finally has come around the last several years to taking a B12 supplement on a regular basis so I'm not worried. His levels have always been within normal in the past.
Linda's Numbers (2 days before turning 40):
  • Blood Pressure - 102/68
  • Pulse - 72
  • Total Cholesterol - 167
  • HDL - 48
  • TC/HDL Ratio - 3.5:1
  • LDL -110
  • Triglycerides - 43
  • Glucose -82
  • B12 -852
My numbers have been much better, but I'm not surprised. The week of binging on vegan chocolate chips and almonds while watching The Tudors on Netflix was probably not helpful. This has been a tough twelve months starting almost a year ago when my grandfather (my mom's dad) died. I've dealt with some severe depression (more about that in a later post) which I've eluded to. I'm about 20 lbs over my "cruising weight", but still well within BMI normal...I was surprised the nurse didn't mention my weight gain, but I'm guessing she didn't compare to my old records. I don't think I've had a physical for something like eight, maybe ten, years. I've had a several blood draws over the last ten years so I'll probably look up the results.

A couple observations from our most recent experience with our health care system. Most of the health care in this country is predicated on people eating the SAD. Focusing on the numbers really makes people feel like a number. Surprise. We saw two different health care professionals and neither one of them looked at us as a person.  Sure, the information can be helpful, but only if taken as one part of a more complete complex picture. My doctor (a resident) from my last physical about ten years ago called me up personally and talked about everything we discussed in his office and the results of my blood work. He was impressed with my numbers and asked me about my lifestyle, etc. This time I receive a call from a technician and she stated that my LDL was "too high" and I should work on my "diet and exercise". I'm not denying that, but if someone really does have a health issue they need addressed (like my mother, who for years was morbidly obese and she was told the exact same thing with no help whatsoever on what eating better was or how to exercise when she had no cartilage in her knees so moving or even sitting was extremely painful) what are they to do? Of course, I believe it taking responsibility for our own health. This is one of the reasons we live the way we do. I do believe our health care system is missing the mark. We did get tetanus shots pushed at us. Of all the shots, I was surprised this one was the one they decided to promote, especially with flu season upon us.
Cuban Black Bean Soup from Viva Vegan served with brown basmati rice (she suggests long white rice, but brown basmati is the closet rice in our cupboard and I think it worked great) and cashew creme (also from Viva Vegan and a recipe suggestion) with a couple drops of chipotle hot sauce. I'd love to have my friend, Monique and her new beau over to try this one. She knows Cuban food so I'm curious if this would pass for her. It is definitely a soup we'll make again and again.

For my birthday dinner I made a huge pot of wing-it tomato soup. Tomato soup is one of my favorite comfort foods from my childhood. My mom made it "right" by adding milk to the canned (you know the brand) soup and my dad made it "wrong" by adding water to the canned soup. Ironically, this soup has no milk, not even soy milk and it is excellent, if I say so myself.
Grown-up Tomato Soup
1 large onion, diced
1 small green pepper
several roasted red peppers (I used maybe six or half a jar)
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp za'atar
6 cups water with 1 tsp Better than Bouillon dissolved
1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium or 2 small white potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 - 1 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup tahini (a couple tablespoons works fine too)
pepper to taste (the more the better)
salt to taste (1 tsp to start with)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
pistachios or pumpkin seeds and more za'atar for garnish (optional)

Soften the onions in a large soup pot with just enough water for the onions to not stick. Add the peppers and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook for one minute (keep adding a bit of water if everything is sticking). Add the water, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes and cook covered for 20 minutes (until the potatoes are soft). Add the nutritional yeast, tahini, salt, and pepper and heat for a minute or two. Take the soup off heat and puree it with an immersion blender. Add the lemon juice and stir. Taste for salt and pepper, add more if needed. Serve hot and garnish. Great with a nice crusty bread.


Anonymous said...

Just a thought about tetanus. I presume it was encouraged because it's bundled with whooping cough vaccine. Cases are on the rise.

Love your blog.

Valerie G

VeganLinda said...

Thanks, Valerie, that could be the reason.