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Health and Happiness

March 11, 2013
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Do you remember what supposed to happen last Friday? I had an appointment to review the results of my latest cholesterol test with my doctor.

Just to back up a bit for those who might not be reading the FLB every day (which is pretty much everybody except for Mrs. Fussy–and even she misses a day or two now and then). Many many months ago my doctor wanted to see my cholesterol numbers go down. To be fair, I had been eating like a bit of a jerk, so I wasn’t surprised they were elevated.

So after postponing the re-test until after the Tournament of Pizza and then postponing it again after the trip to Paris and the holidays, I finally found a stretch of three months where I could behave. So from the end of December to the beginning of March I truly dedicated myself to a draconian existence of oatmeal, flax seeds, brown rice, vegan sandwiches, the seitan Super Bowl, and a whole lot of beans. This meant giving up butter, cheese, fried foods, refined grains, and meat almost entirely.

I remember telling somebody here that I would share the results when I got them. You’re going to kill me.

I walked out of the doctor’s office without the numbers.

Some people have a good mind for remember facts and figures. That has never been me. I can tell you meals I ate years ago, who I was with, and what they ordered. But give me a string of three or four numbers and I’ll forget them by the time they’ve left your mouth.

Yes, I suppose I could have asked for a printout, but in my excitement I totally forgot. Why was I excited you ask? Because I totally did it.

I brought the cholesterol numbers down without exercise, just a radical shift towards a healthy diet. Damn, I love my body. And at the same time I lost a little bit of weight. There is one small catch though.

While my cholesterol went down my triglycerides were still high.

But that’s okay. I’ll eat my way to healthy triglycerides next. And I’ve already got a plan for that one. However, I won’t need to start that regimen until May in preparation for my August test.

So I’m free! Huzzah!

Wouldn’t you know that this good news would correspond with the worst head cold that I’ve had in awhile. My nose is all stuffed up, and for me that’s a miserable fate. I CAN’T TASTE ANYTHING!

It’s the cruel joke of the universe. Especially at yesterday’s Jewish Food Festival. I was able to experience some of the joy of juicy pastrami on rye. The textures were all there, unctuous and comforting. But the flavors were sadly muted.

So I spent most of the time doling out samples of Leah the Nosher’s delicious borscht and topping off the cups with dollops of sour cream made by All Good Bakers with cream from Meadow Brook Farm. Britin swears that it’s easy to make yourself, but I think I would totally mess it up. There was someone at the table who tried the sour cream and was shocked to learn it wasn’t an item the restaurant regularly sold to the public.

Still, the head cold isn’t getting me down. I think it’s too early to credit happify with that.

Just last week I signed on to be a “Pioneer” on what appears to be a social media platform with a purpose. It’s designed to create interactions that make you happier. I’m pretty sure it’s not a cult. And I’m not entirely convinced it will work. But I thought it might be fun to try and see how it goes. So far I’ve played a game, taken a survey, aced a quiz, recorded something for which I was grateful, and wrote a blurb about savoring the small stuff.

But I think I’m a pretty happy guy to begin with. It’s just restaurants and food that make me grumpy. Well, that and the occasional off comment on Twitter. I can’t imagine how happify is going to help with these. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime I’m going to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and keep on popping cold medicine. It may make me a little groggy but it’s better than the alternative.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    March 11, 2013 12:03 pm

    I knocked my triglycerides down 300 points in 3 weeks by eliminating simple carbs: no bread, flour, pizza, potatoes, sugar, etc. Triglycerides are unrelated to meat consumption.

  2. March 11, 2013 12:49 pm

    Speaking of grumpy… I went out to dinner last night, and I had a really good meal and was really pleased with the experience. But then I found myself wondering why I don’t ALWAYS feel like that, why I eat out a fair bit and most times, I leave just thinking “well, that meal’s accomplished, that was alright.” I go out to be served well and get good food, and I pay for it, and most of the time, I’m not impressed. The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am.

  3. enough already! permalink
    March 11, 2013 3:17 pm

    Oh, profussor, glad your cholesterol went down, but I’m concerned that you are playing a game with your health by going back & forth between healthy eating and not. Dieting to the test is not in your body’s best interest.

    And hope your cold is better soon…I’ve one too…nature’s place chicken for me tonight.

  4. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    March 11, 2013 5:07 pm

    To add to my comment above, no bagels and no pasta also. Furthermore, studies show that high triglycerides are more closely correlated with heart attack and stroke than are HDL and LDL levels.

  5. March 12, 2013 7:09 pm

    I’m glad the sour cream went over well DB! I don’t think I can sell it officially – we’d have to have the 20C ag & markets license for that (we have a health dept license), but we’re glad the person in question liked it! I’ll have to write a blog post about it so people can do it themselves. So. Ridiculously. Easy.

    • March 12, 2013 7:16 pm

      Sorry, actually, it doesn’t require a whole blog post. Order some heavy cream from Meadowbrook Farms Dairy in Clarksville (they deliver and it is low-heat vat pastuerized, grass fed, no gmos). Get some quality local buttermilk from the Honest Weight Food Coop (no additives, colors). Pour 1/2 gallon of cold cream into a clean, wide mouthed vessel. Add 1/2 cup Buttermilk. Stir gently, thoroughly. Cover. Let sit in a warm spot (about 67 degrees) for 1-3 days (air circulation prevention and consistent temperature will shorten culturing time). Shake or stir mixture once daily. When it reaches sufficient thickness (based on your preference), refrigerate – it will thicken a bit further. It should keep for at least a month. Voila, pure sour cream. Creme Fraiche is just runnier soured cream. Try it!


  1. Ronnybrook Crème Fraîche - Chefs Consortium
  2. Ronnybrook Crème Fraîche - Chefs' Consortium

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