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Surviving the low-cholesterol diet

July 29, 2013

This blog piece was dedicated to those with health problems like high cholesterol. This blog was only to be used as a guide, not treated like the Gospels. It was wiser to check with a primary physician before starting any new diet regime.My aim was not to preach about the correct way to eat.

In my case, it was diagnosed as moderately high during a routine check up in the spring of 2009. Thanks to the efforts made in changing my diet, my bad cholesterol, the LDL, went from 121 to 113 six months later. Luckily, a diet of baked fish and chicken worked. But after four years with this low-cholesterol diet, It was a miracle there weren’t gills, chicken or turkey feathers growing.

Being on this diet didn’t mean having to give up foods like: cheese, eggs,burgers tacos,, pizza, breaded fried fish or french fries. The physician’s assistant told me those weren’t on my no-eat list. They just had to be made differently and eaten in moderation.

  • To get five milligrams of cholesterol in a sandwich or other prepared foods, use two tablespoons of cheese. This constituted one serving. One-fourth to one-half a cup of shredded cheese was the limit whem making omlets or breakfast casserols.
  •  With the exception of elbow macaroni, making a meal with rice could’ve been reduced  from one-half to one fourth a cup when making one meal.
  • Three ounces of meat was about one cup. A serving of meat was palm-sized according to Doctor Oz.

The food pyramid was used from 1992-2010. Way back when, my third grade elementary class used the 4,4,3,2 method, which meant four servings of  meat or dairy, four servings of fruit, three servings of vegetables and two servings of starch. In 2010, this was replaced with My Plate, which was divided into four sections like fruits, grains, vegetables, and proten. Dairy was off to the side where the glass stood in a table setting.The new food pyramid explained things better, for instance, the color  and placement denoted importance.

The fish, chicken and turkey diet got old after four years of following it. Finding frozen TV dinners with five milligrams of cholesterol was hard. As far as take out food, for me, portion size and moderation was important. An oven-baked sandwich and a pasta bowl at Dominos Pizza replaced the medium-sided pizza with three meats and or extra cheese at Pizza Hut. Instead of a number three at MacDonald’s, a quarter-pounder with cheese and large fries, a happy meal with a cheese burger, small fries and apple pieces and a coke filled me up not weighed me down like the number three did. Even a Wendy’s flatbread sandwich worked just as well as a Subway $5 footlong with lots of vegetables. Three Red Tacos, from Taco Bell, made with meat, cheese and lettuce was good too,with mild taco sauce..

At home, baking food in the oven replaced frying it. Everything from french fries, chicken fish, turkey, burgers and steak was made that way in the beginning. Limiting myself to two eggs a week was the rule before this special diet. If any more eggs were eaten, switching from real to Egg Beaters was used. Farm fresh eggs were preferred by me because they were said to have less cholestrol then store bought eggs.

Since turkey sausage was hard to find in this market, Ground sausage was used instead. When a burger was desired or my own version of a Sunshine Skillet was made, using the Morning Star Meatless Patties or Crumblers or were substituted for the regular ground beef or sausage. Unless it was seen taken out of the freezer, the difference wasnt detected between the two.

Most of my fresh meats were split into thirds instead of half, because making Mr. Food’s BBQ Cheddar Meatloaf was too hard to store using a whole pack of ground beef. Half a can of salmon was used for the Salmon loaf, because this was hard to store too using the whole can.

When making muffins or pancakes, Heart Smart Bisquick was used. If frying was needed, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil was used.. Pam cooking spray was fine too. Doctor Oz said using coconut oil was good too because it offered the omega 3 fatty acids needed for the body.

There was a time when fresh fish got expensive in the last four years. Canned salmon worked great because one can got at least three servings of fish from it depending on what was made. Even though shrimp or lobster werent on my list, it was okay to have them. They were expensive also, so canned was better too.

Using a small-sized cake plate intead of a regular sized one tricked my body into feeling full. When making pizza, the aluminum tin from the Pasta Bowl from Dominos Pizza made a pizza big enough to fill that size plate. After seeing that size plate on Doctor Oz, he was right because what was on the plate there was filling also.

Because it was hard to move around, replacing some foods for others was necessary in order for my cholestrol to decrease. Portion control and moderation were used when preparing meals or bringing take out back home. These steps outlined worked for me. My aim here was not to preach but to guide. Everyone must find  out what worked for them. Just make sure to visit the doctor first.

Next time: Reducing salt in the diet.

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