Two years ago, I had some extensive testing done in order to find out more about my heart and cholesterol. I did it because almost everyone on my dad's side of the family has either had a heart attack or a near-heart attack and they all have sky-high cholesterol. Mine has been moderately high since college and I wanted to know why it wasn't going down, even though I seemed to be doing/eating all the right things. This test was $3500 and my insurance barely covered any of it, but I really, really wanted to know what was going on. I found out a lot of things, like the size and shape of my cholesterol are typical for artery clogging, which is genetic. I also found out that 75% of my high cholesterol is genetic. Fantastic. My doctor put me on medicine right away, because, well, he's a doctor. He told me that I was basically out of luck and that I couldn't do anything about it.
Wouldn't you guess that the medicine he put me on causes brain damage and body deformities in a growing fetus?
We were planning on getting pregnant in the near future. Hah. Screw that medicine. Anything that can do that to a baby isn't safe to put into my body, regardless of whether or not I was going to be pregnant.
I ALSO had some diabetes probability testing done. Did you know you could do that? You can. My dad is diabetic and was a very late-onset, Type II case. My test results showed that if I continued on my current path, I would be diabetic by the time I was 40. Newsflash: Did you know that you are born with X amount of insulin and when it's gone, it's gone? That's why people develop Type II. Their insulin runs out! Your pancreas releases insulin to break down the sugars in your body. If you are eating too much of those sugars or if you are sedentary and don't allow activity to burn your sugars, your pancreas is in overdrive and then... POOF. It's done.
My husband also has several diabetic family members, so as we embark on our 30th birthdays (his is in September and mine is in February), all of this has really started to hit home. I've talked to him about it a zillion and a half times, but it took his boss (a man) to break it down in terms to which he could relate.
I guess when I talk about it, I'm just nagging.
Insert: We're gonna do better.
left: whole grain rotini, red and white quinoa, watermelon
right: chopped chicken breast, zucchini and squash, diced grapes and strawberries (for little hands), whole grapes and halved strawberries
I don't know about you, but when I'm *doing better,* I need to PLAN. I generally plan our dinners, but I haven't been planning very healthy ones. I've been planning CHEAP ones. You know what that means in our house? Pasta. Tacos. Sandwiches. Basically, we are going to start eating like we ARE diabetic, because that's the way we really should eat and it's how we need to teach our girls, who have this disease running rampant in their genes, how to eat. Although our sugar is fine right now, our pancreases (Surprisingly, that's right. I want to say "pancreai." That's what four years of Latin will do to you.) are angry!
How, pray tell, does one eat a diabetic diet?
Really, the math of it is simple. 45 grams of carbohydrates each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus 15 grams of carbohydrates each for two snacks. We have to be careful, here, though. You can get all crazy Atkins on this and start eating all the high fat and protein foods that will cause the cholesterol to shoot through the roof (which we know I can't afford). And although fruits, veggies, and whole grains are all important mainstays in a healthy, well-rounded diet, they also have carbohydrates. We know all carbs aren't created equally, however, when we're counting, we're counting them all.
Here's my messily handwritten meal plan for the next two weeks. I'm not really sure if you can read it, so if you have questions or want me to type it out, email me.
And I just received the August issue of Family Circle in the mail... Take a look at that delicious gem. I'll be making that after my next stop to the grocery store! YUM!
I'm excited to embark on this new way of eating to benefit my health and the health of my whole family. Do you have any suggestions, blogs, websites, or recipes that might help us out? Leave a comment! I'd be so appreciative!