Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Litmus Tests... Health update... and the return to popular medical "myths" or lies... but WHY?

The 32+ days of intense work during the 32 day fair of Guadalajara (Fiestas de Octubre) where we sold over 18,500 cups of coffee from October 3rd through November 3rd served as an incredible test of my "diet" vs. extremely powerful medical/nutritional concepts...  Until the 27th of September I was running minimally 10kms/day at least 5 days per week.  We began preparing for the fair Sunday September 28th, meaning that we were installing our coffee bar from Monday the 29th until Thursday the 2nd.  If I am correct, I made it to the park 3 times during the fair; the first time I ran 5kms and the other two times I walked those 5kms briskly; I had no time, nor energy working 20 hours per day those 32 days.  I also noticed during that time that I increased moderately my consumption of sugar, due to issues of fatigue.  But what peaked my curiosity more than anything else was the increase in animal protein and animal fat in my diet from the end of September until now.  You have no idea how much cheese and eggs I've eaten over the past two months since my last blood tests.  We are just beginning our return to heavy vegetable/greens consumption in an attempt towards balancing out the animal protein and animal fat and the cooked foods in our diet.

No matter how strong-minded and self-confident we are, it is extremely difficult to erase our minds and consciences of the years of intense nutritional "education" into what foods harm us (what causes hypertension and heart disease and obesity).  No matter what I've read and seen in my blood tests and weight since March, I still find myself worrying about cholesterol and uric acid levels connected with elevated consumption of animal fat and animal protein...  Cheese, eggs, butter, fatty cuts of beef... No, this is not the Atkins Diet, since I do NOT restrict fruit and vegetables in any form (some fruit such as oranges, grapes, watermelon).  However, during the fair, all of the vegetables were heavily cooked in soups and stews... Very little opportunity for eating salads or lettuce.  In fact, the reason I decided upon experimenting with kimchi's and other pickles this past week is because in October I threw away at least 2 pounds of cucumbers that were left untouched in the refrigerator...  Lettuce and cabbage and some carrots and zucchinis were also thrown away during that period... and I was the cook 100%  of the time... absolutely no time or energy for planning and preparing salads and ceviches...  If there is no time for even eating you can always cut off a piece of cheese or ham...  grab a handful of almonds...

So...  Today I took myself to the clinic and had my blood drawn, wondering who tenia razón (it comes out better in Spanish)...  Who would be proved correct: those who tell you to limit your consumption of eggs and cheese because of cholesterol and who tell you to limit animal protein because of uric acid or those who claim all of that medical information bombarding us since the 60s with low-fat, low animal protein diets scaring us to death about fat/cholesterol consumption and imminent heart attacks...  Or, regarding uric acid; kidney disease and gout (I guess I would prefer having gout to kidney disease)...  And there was that day during the fair when I noticed pain in the knuckles of my big toes (gout)... all in my mind?  

Before I share with you today's lab results it's very important that I refresh your minds about how my tests changed between March 1st and September 22nd 2014.  

March 1st 2014

Glucose 117  ("Prediabetic")

Triglycerides 326 (Alto; Healthy is considered below 150)

Total Cholesterol = 262 (Heavy risk of Heart Failure)

LDL (Not so bad Cholesterol) 159  (There isn't much I can say about this without explaining the function of LDL cholesterol in transporting fats and in building cell membranes etc.)

HDL (The Good Cholesterol)  38  (Unhealthy is considered below 40, dangerous is below 30, optimal is above 60)

VLDL (The Truly bad Cholesterol) 65 (healthy is considered below 35)

September 22nd 2014

Glucose 94  (almost 2 years ago my level was below 85 and I won't rest until it returns)

Triglycerides 114 (this is what surprised me most; it was at 208 just under 4 months ago)

Total Cholesterol 225

LDL 156

HDL 63 (this also greatly surprised me, since I know just how hard it is to elevate HDL)


Now for today's (November 21st, 2014) reading.  (I cannot over-emphasize:  I was eating a ton of eggs, cheese and beef, along with a ton of chicken):

November 21st, 2014

Glucose = 88 (6 points lower than 2 months ago...This greatly and nicely surprised me considering that I had increased my frappe sugar consumption during this fair unlike April-May and August's fairs when I withstood from any frappe consumption and I've also re-introduced corn tortillas occasionally into the diet...)

Triglycerides = 144 (30 points higher... This was surprising, although it is still considered within the normal/healthy range.  If my glucose hadn't decreased, I would have connected the increase with increased simple carbs in the diet.  The only explanation I come up with is 7 weeks without exercise combined with the dramatic increase in protein; it is believed by some that extreme restriction of carbs leads the liver to convert protein to glucose.  Un-used glucose is converted to triglycerides.  But, why would my glucose reach it's lowest point during this 9 month period of dietary restriction of refined carbs?)

Total Cholesterol = 207 (18 points lower... What occured with the Eggs and Cheese and fatty cuts of beef?)

LDL = 140 (16 points lower...)

HDL = 51 (12 points lower...  Moderate to heavy exercise increases HDL.  Going from running over an hour combined with 30 minutes of a brisk walk minimally 5 days per week to 0 for at least 5 weeks straight should reflect in a decrease in HDL)

VLDL = 29 (6 points higher...  VLDL cholesterol is directly related to triglycerides.  So, if one rises, the other one should also rise and vice versa...  The same thing occurs between HDL and VLDL/triglycerides:  If one rises, the other drops... etc.)

Uric Acid = 4.8 (It was 5.0 in September, 4.1 in July, and 4.8 in May...  Normal/healthy is considered within the range of 3.4--7.0 mg/dL... What happened with all of the animal protein I ate in October-November?)

"Avoid Eggs, Cheese, non-lean meats, full-fat yogurts and milks...  Avoid saturated fats and decrease your calories... While you're at it, throw in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day... if you wish to avoid heart disease..."  

And I say... avoid refined carbs, avoid too much fructose...  if it is not embedded within fiberous fruits or vegetables...  avoid alcohol, wheat products... eat as much green and yellow vegetables as possible (#1, 2, 3 and 4 in Vitamin A are in order: Yellow Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Carrots and Spinach)  especially leafy vegetables and vegetables high in water content...  greatly restrict industrial vegetable oils (including Canola, although it is the least harmful--inflamatory of the vegetable oils; non-virgin olive oil is industrial garbage)...  Avoid ALL soy products.  And if you are avoiding wheat, ALERT, WARNING: Soy sauce and oyster sauce have wheat as an ingredient.  I haven't yet checked hoison sauce, although I imagine I'll be throwing that out too...  (It was believed that fermented soy products removed you from health risks caused by certain hormones or chemicals found naturally in soy beans and especially in the 95% GMO bean)  If you can go organic... why not?  I can't.  It doesn't exist here in Guadalajara.  Butter, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Chicken Fat, Beef fat... maybe I would restrict some of the beef fat... When not in the fairs I say NO to all processed meats...  If you can find pasteurized non-commercial cheeses...  I wouldn't worry about meat consumption.  However, I would prefer if it were organic and without sulfites, nitrates, colorings and hormones...  Salt... I wouldn't worry about it...  Fish... If you can afford the expensive ones... make that a regular part of you diet.  If you can't afford it: Spanish/Pacific Mackerel have the same amount of Omega 3 as does Salmon.  For Vitamin D, get as much midday sun as you can without burning yourself and avoid using sunscreen.  Believe it or not, Spanish/Pacific Mackerel is very high in Vitamin D3.  Red Snapper follows behind Spanish/Pacific Mackerel in Vitamin D3.  For Omega 3 for increasing HDL cholesterol if you don't eat fish or if you are a vegetarian or, like me, you can't guarrantee the eating of Spanish/Pacific Mackerel a few times a week, 5 tablespoons ground flax seeds mixed with water during the day (I often mix in fresh lime juice and possible 2 teaspoons of sugar in a large glass).  It is absolutely NOT necessary (and a bad idea since it is probably rancid) to buy ground flax seeds.  You can grind them in a Magic/Nutri bullet or a Vitamix blender...  Not only is it guarranteed fresh, it's much less expensive.  Flax oil would be easier, less complicated.  However, it spoils quickly and is very expensive...  EXERCISE... I'm a great promotor exercising...  Not so much for weight loss, althought that will be a continuous argument...  But for burning any excess glucose in your bloodstream... for building muscle, which decreases the risk of developing cancer...  Plus, I believe that aerobic exercise facilitates clear minded-ness, improves sleep, improves digestive issues, oxigenates the cells and helps cleanse the skin, cells/tissues... 

If you are wondering about the popular medical "myths" or lies...  I alluded to them throughout this piece:  to prevent obesity, hypertension, heart disease maintain a low-fat calorie restricted diet low in saturated fats and low in cholesterol... meaning avoid cheese and fatty cuts of meat etc...  and high animal protein diets leads to kidney disease and exercise at least 30 minutes per day...    

However, I will repeat myself... humans are physical animals designed for movement... often intense, energetic, rapid and strenuous... There is absolutely no healthy reason for maintaining oneself within chronic stagnancy/inmobility.  Exercise is for general physical and mental health...  it's for attempting towards returning us to our natural physical state...  

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