On my birthday later this month, I will turn 66 years old. I am healthy, and want to stay that way so I can have more adventures and watch as you and your cousins grow into your own.
At a recent doctor’s visit, I found out my cholesterol is “marginally high” at 137 when it should be closer to 99. My blood glucose (sugar) is also high. My dad, your great-grandpa Lowell, had heart trouble and diabetes, so this runs in the family. But there are lots of things I can do to stay healthy longer.
Cholesterol is a natural compound in people’s blood. Some is necessary and natural, but too much is bad for your heart and blood circulation system. So it’s good to keep it low.
Toward this end, I have made some changes to my diet. Meats like beef and lamb have the type of fats that raise cholesterol, so I am avoiding them even more than before.
To make sure we still get enough protein, we are having fish two or three times a week in the form of canned tuna, poke (from Sea Sweets down on Hawthorne) or salmon. We are also including more beans, tofu and vegetables into our diet.
We have always enjoyed oatmeal for breakfast because it is filling, tasty (with cinnamon and raisins) and warm. Now that we know how good it is for our hearts, we appreciate it with desserts, as well. Crisps and fruit desserts with a dollop of sweetened low-fat yogurt on top are tasty and less likely to kill me. This is a good thing.
I was surprised to learn that our beloved French Press coffee has been working against me. Unfiltered coffee makes cholesterol higher! Who knew?
So I have started pouring mine through a paper filter every morning. It just takes a few minutes and doesn’t change the taste, and I know I’m helping my health.
Speaking of coffee, I have started having a cup of herbal tea during the day when my body wants a snack. This keeps junk food out of my system and keeps me hydrated and full.
And when I want a snack after dinner, I have some of Grandpa Nelson’s popcorn. He makes it in his popper, with just olive oil and a tiny bit of salt. It is whole grain, low fat, and delicious.
And of course, we exercise. When it is too chilly or wet to go out for a walk, Auntie Bridgett and I put on bouncy music and jog or dance like lunatics around the house. It is fun and gets our hearts pumping!
These are the ways I am working to stay healthy and happy.