Trying to Live on a Diet Goats Would Love
I NEVER ENVISIONED IT WOULD BE SO HARD. For nearly three months I’ve tried to create a diet just for me, to meet my temporary (I hope) medical and nutritional needs — no more than 50 mg of cholesterol a day (no meat, eggs, cheese and most dairy) about 1200 calories a day (to prevent adding pounds) and high protein (I want to build muscle for continued independence).
The need came about when my vascular team did an ultrasound of my carotid arteries and discovered a 40 percent blockage.
“No problem,” they said. “We don’t worry about it until it’s 80 percent.”
They don’t but I do. That means less blood to my brain which needs all it can get during longevity. I’ve already outlived society’s expiration date by 15 years although like every can of tomatoes the date of my demise is not stamped on my forehead.
My cardiologist said, “I can put you on a statin.”
“How long will I be on them.”
“The rest of your life.”
Wait a minute. Anything that goes into my body is going to affect not just my arteries but my whole system — brain, bowels and attitude.
“Can’t I just try a low cholesterol diet first?”
“Okay,” he said, “for five months.” And there the battle began.
I am a meat person. I depend on animal protein to build muscles and keep me healthy. Now I’m restricted to Greek Yogurt and no-fat cottage cheese.
I am a cheese person. Now the only thing I can put in a sandwich or on a cracker is peanut butter and it’s loaded with calories.
I made pea soup for 10 in the crock pot, but it’s not the same without the hambone. Then I tried lentil soup with carrots and onions for 10 and it eventually went from freezer to garage disposal. I can’t figure out how vegans survive.
My son and his wife went vegan a few years back. He emailed me when they cooked their first tofu turkey for Thanksgiving. I’m glad I didn’t fly there for the holidays. Now I’m in the same tasteless boat. All pleasure in eating has been extinguished with the counting of fats, calories and the search for real protein. My one salvation is a couple of white-fish fillets from Walmart’s frozen section once a week.
I tried eating meal bars with 20 mgs. of protein every day for breakfast and made protein shakes from powdered plant protein for lunch, snacks and even dinner. But most are soy based. And I found out from my allergist after seeing him for a scratchy, tingling throat and mouth with a blister on my tongue, for people like me with allergies to trees and grasses — soy is a trigger. The remedy was take an allergy pill and cut out all soy.
When I first began to build my special diet I rejoiced. I can still eat pancakes and chocolate and Good & Plenty candy. Barbecued potato chips and those little individual cups of add-water macaroni and cheese? None have cholesterol, but they don’t have protein either and I am always hungry deep down.
Rich in protein red beans, white beans, garbanzo beans — they top my salad every night. Broccoli, carrots, croutons and cukes add crunch but no protein. I could eat a whole box of bacon flavored Cheez-its or half-a dozen apple crumb donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts. They contain no cholesterol, no protein, but lots of carbs and calories. Oh, for a juicy hotdog! Two months to go. Goats would love my diet.
(High protein-low cholesterol diet suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Email me at AuthorDo-Not-Discard@charter.net .
October 7, 2019