Thursday, February 10, 2011


Current work: still wrestling with outline (it worked three months ago, so why doesn’t it work now? Or maybe I need a weekend off…)
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: Jillian Michaels, Winning by Losing (very interesting)

I knew before my appointment on Tuesday that my BP was going to be sky high, and I explained to the nurse why that was before she took the reading. She sympathised, but wasn’t happy with the readings, so I’m back to see my GP next week. I think it’s a going to mean a change to my meds, because the situation stressing me isn’t going to improve for a while.

What I wasn’t expecting was that my cholesterol levels, which have always been really good, would suddenly zoom upwards. The only big change I’ve made in my eating habits in the last year was to swap my breakfast porridge for an omelette. Guess that’s a swap back, then. And I need to exercise more and reduce stress. (The theory for that last one is a lot easier than the practice. I think I'm going to have to have a major hissy fit.)

In the meantime, it’s another look at my diet because I want those levels well down at my next blood test in three months’ time. I’m already meeting the main dietary guidelines: six or seven portions of veg a day; main proteins are poultry and salmon; no processed carbs; red meat once a week max; dairy stuff is all low-fat, and cheese intake is hugely reduced from what it was. So it’s a matter of tweaking. (Great. Now I sound like my editor. ‘A few tweaks’… except mine are tweaks and not rewrites!)

Oats are very good for lowering cholesterol (soluble fibre), so that’s breakfast switched back to porridge – though this time I’m using soya milk and adding a handful of blueberries. (Good thing about being a nerdy science person AND a foodie: you have solid reasons for your choices.) I’m also experimenting with cholesterol-lowering drinks, even though they’re horrible. (Mainly because there are sweeteners in them. Dear manufacturers, do you have to add sugar and sweeteners to everything? 5% of my daily sugar in one of your little bottles is not good.)

Also upping the oily fish intake. Mackerel for lunch, or maybe salmon twice a week for dinner. The asparagus can stay as that also lowers cholesterol (thanks to soluble fibre and saponins). Add in some spinach (I do actually like spinach, but persuading the rest of the family might be interesting). And maybe swapping chicken for white fish once a week. Monkfish, perhaps, wrapped in parma ham or served on a bed of spiced lentils; or, thinking about it, my favourite chicken stew recipes would work for fish as well. And it’s a good excuse to spend lots of time on the BBC Good Food website. (Ha, more tweaking. Am I the only one who finds it hard to stick to a recipe and just adapts it as I go along?)

Does anyone have any favourite (healthy!) fish recipes? Would love to hear them :o)


Donna Alward said...

Dried cherries - very tasty and good for lowering cholesterol. I just saw a program on our news about it a few weeks ago.

Also - egg substitutes. All the protein, 80% less cholesterol. I alternate it with porridge for breakfast.

Kate Hardy said...

Thanks, Donna - hadn't heard that about cherries, so that's a useful one. (Hmm. Wonder if fresh are the same? Will go research it.)

Egg substitute - is that the Eggbeaters stuff? We don't have it over here, but I did find out that Sainsbury's does liquid egg white. ( Is that the same thing?

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

God, I hate the doctor's and blood tests, you have my full sympathy, Kate.

King prawn and lentil curry's pretty good. The pulses are good and even though people say there's a lot of cholesterol in prawns, they have very low sat fat, which cancels it out along with lots of other benefits.

I take my ereader to the surgery and sit there for 20 mins before I have my BP done reading a romance and being calm. It's worked the last three times!

Anonymous said...

Healthy fish recipes...

If I can get really fresh white fish, I just oven-bake it and squeeze over some lemon juice, then serve with baby potatoes and veg.

If there's only frozen or day-old fish, I do a Thai curry with a spoonful of ready-made paste plus stock and a splash of fat-reduced coconut milk, throw in frozen or baby veg, then serve with plain rice.


Caroline said...

Sending hugs your way. Hate blood tests etc. I'm always so stressed before I even get there! Caroline x

Nell Dixon said...

Reflexology can be excellent for stress.

Lacey Devlin said...

(HUGS) Lots of luck with the dietary changes :)

Sharon said...

Julienne a courgette, cut monk-fish into bite-sized pieces. Finely chop a small onion. Juice of one lime. Natural thick yoghurt. Seasoning.

Melt a little butter (or olive oil) in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion and cook for 5 minutes, then add monkfish, then courgette until all are cooked.
Add limejuice.
Stir in yoghurt, season and turn off heat - then serve with rice, salad or vegetables.

Kate Hardy said...

Rach - thanks. Have to admit, I prefer my prawns cold (I know, I know, fussy...) but I like the sound of lentil curry. And I love your solution to stress!

mpe - thank you - sounds scrummy. (I love Thai food.)

Caroline - oh, bless. And thank you :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Nell - never thought of that before. Thanks, will look into it.

Lacey - thanks.

Shazza - that sounds really scrumptious. I'll definitely give that one a go :o)