Born To Die

I got a letter from my doctor today. The news was not very pleasant.

Dear Jesse:

Here are your recent cholesterol results:

Total cholesterol = 283 (normal is <200)
Triglyceride - 348 (normal is <150)
HDL (good cholesterol) - 32 (optimal is >35)
LDL (bad cholesterol) - 181 (optimal is < 130)

These results are not optimal.

One of the doctor’s recommendations is that I should meet with a nutritionist. I called to politely decline, because I remember the lessons from the nutritionist I saw over twenty years ago. I should have faked a heart attack while on the phone.

My resting heart rate is 64, by the way.

Anyway, if I unexpectedly miss a day of work, it’s much more likely that I’ve had a massive heart attack or stroke (or both) than any other plausible explanation, like suicide, because there are no ropes or sharp implements in my apartment.

Ugh. Should my left arm be numb right now? Oh. Yeah, it should: I’m giving myself the stranger.

Really, I’m just drinking Maibock, which is the equivalent of having a stroke.

Postscript: the title of this post is in reference to a song by the Blues Goblins to which I was listening last night when I rattled off this post. The Blues Goblins is a solo project of Sam Coomes, who is in Quasi with his ex-wife Janet Weiss, who was the drummer for Sleater-Kinney. While trolling the internet for whatever it is for which I fish, I came across this travesty of a rock song impersonating a blues track. However, I am a fan of terrible fake mustaches, and this song is wearing one. No one said that my taste in music is beyond reproach, so I will listen to whatever I like.

17 Responses to “Born To Die ”

  1. I wont give you my cholesterol numbers, because they would make you cry (suffice to say, I need to eat more nuts).

    I used to have high triglycerides, and those are tied very closely to carbohydrate consumption (coughbeercoughpizzacough).

    Meeting with a nutritionist is always hit or miss, because some of them don’t seem to know much about what they’re talking about, but you might actually want to meet with someone for figuring out a plan that you can *live* with, that will also at least reduce your triglycerides. If you’re not careful, those numbers will put you at risk for type 2 diabetes.

    Like I said before, limit animal fats (eat skim cheese, milk, margarine, olive oil) and try to eat as many nuts and legumes as possible. I know you can’t eat fish, but Omega fatty acids are also found in some vegetables, and that will help to bring your healthy cholesterol up.

    Ideally, you should cut your carb consumption down to be equal to your protein to control the triglycerides. That means that foods like pizza and pasta should have more meat than they generally do. I would even go as far as to say that you shouldn’t worry about the extra animal fat in sausage and cured meats, as long as you’re getting enough protein, because your ldl isn’t *that* high.

    A few simple dietary changes will really make a huge difference.

  2. “There have been many studies that have shown that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may lower LDL (“badâ€? cholesterol), raise HDL (“goodâ€? cholesterol), and promote heart health. “Moderate consumptionâ€? consists of one to two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one alcoholic drink per day for women. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine.”

  3. I’m already at risk for diabetes, what with my weight and the family history and all.

    Sadly, I’m no longer on my beer and pizza diet — and maybe that’s the problem. The key was just that I had a delicious single slice of pizza for lunch every day and was satisfied. Now I have one of those triangle sandwiches.

    I just wish that there was a place to get vegetables in the building.

  4. Meet with the nutritionist. If they don’t teach you anything new, you can fake that heart attack and have a good story to tell.

    Wanna work out with me and Stan at the gym on Sundays? You and Stan can reenact scenes from “The Godfather” in the steam room after you work out. Towels are included, but optional. We usually go between 1:30 and 3:00 because they have free daycare until 4:30.

  5. Oh, yeah, I’m doing the Weight Watchers thing again. I like Spark People, but Weight Watchers online is more motivating and easier to use. Also, my grandma would go to Weight Watchers meetings in her small farming town and I would cry because I couldn’t go with her. Little Lisa saying, “I’m fat too Grandma! Please take me with you!” How time makes fools of us all.

    Anyhow, I enjoy competition if you want to join me in my quest for losing weight and eating better.

  6. Things that I thought your comment said:

    “How time makes tools of us all.”
    “…in my quest for losing weight and eating butter.”

  7. No, I don’t.

  8. Okay, I’m not a nutritionist or anything, but I just have to disagree with the comment that encourage you to eat margarine, increase sausage intake, and lower carbohydrates. Lo-carb diets are complete and utter bullshit. They make you lose weight by forcing your body into ketosis, which is a fairly advanced stage of starvation. It ain’t healthy to go into starvation mode. Humans are built to digest primarily grains and vegetables, and eat meat and dairy only as a supplement. That’s how we’re made.

    You want to decrease that cholesterol? By all means, go after those omega 3 fatty acids. Eat lots of olive oil, I agree. But stay the hell away from margarine—hydrogenated fats might not increase your cholesterol, but they’ll sure as hell clog your arteries and kill you just as dead. You need to increase vegetables and grains, and cut sugar. Sugar = bad carbs. Whole grains = good carbs. The more whole and less processed the food, the better it will be for you. And animal fats? You can still have them. Just have LESS of them. Eat meat only once a day to start, then see if you can cut to just a few times a week later. Still cook with butter. Butter is a gift from the gods, and you need SOME joy in this life. Just eat less of it. All things in moderation, right?

    And for chrissakes, make your changes gradually! It’s absolutely inhumane to expect you to drop all of your habits overnight. Not only will it depress the hell out of you, but it’s also a recipe for failure. So start by cutting back on harmful things, not by cutting them out entirely. And the pizza? As long as you don’t load it up with every pork byproduct known to man all at once, it’s actually pretty good for you. You’ve got bread, cheese, and vegetables right there, and if you can find an alternative to meat lover’s, you can probably keep right on eating it. Save the bacon-stuffed bacon-steak baconator pizza for special occasions. Oh, and drinking beer/wine in moderation is fine, too!

    Okay, I’m a shut up now. Hang in there, Jesse—we love you AND your triglycerides.

  9. This advice all seems predicated on the notion that I don’t already make the basic good food choices that I do. That’s what is most frustrating about this — I cut out the garbage foods that I used to eat, and I moved to limit my portions at the same time. It’s like my body just turned around and told me to go fuck myself.

    Actually, I think that the triglycerides are my liver’s revenge.

    So, real steps that I’m going to take are to start eating breakfast again, switch my lunch from a small sandwich, Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues, and 12 ounces of vitamin C enhanced apple juice to a selection of greens and vegetables from the salad bar in the Campus Club. I hope they like feeding me a pound of spinach, because for $7.50 I’m going to eat until I am full. Jerks.

    Also, I’m going to try eating more nuts, even though they have a weird aftertaste.

    Is everyone happy?

  10. Hey, you started this discussion.

    The only thing left out of these posts is exercise. Walking for even 30 minutes a day can help with weight loss and increase your metabolism. If you start biking to work again when the weather gets better, that will give you lots of physical and emotional benefits.

    I’m with Chandler on the butter and low-carbs angle. If I don’t get enough carbs, I spiral into depression. And butter? Well, butter is actually way better for you than margarine, in moderation, of course.

    Your great-great grandmother on my mom’s side died of diabetes. Of course, in those days there was no treatment. One theory at the time was that drinking fresh blood would ameliorate some of the symptoms of diabetes. So like a good 18th-century wife and mother, she’d regularly trek down to the local stockyards to drink her fill of cattle blood. She died anyway, leaving two little children motherless. How sad.

  11. 1) I should totally drink blood
    2) It’s only a matter of time before I get back on the bike
    3) Nothing like having diabetes on both sides of your family tree

  12. Dude, blood is better than margarine. Anything that is made from processed crap is not better than a natural counterpart. The second most evil product? Corn syrup.

    I know your eating habits don’t reflect this crappy health report. You eat pretty well. It’s just age and genes that are telling you to go fuck yourself.

    I’m in the same boat, weight wise. My digits are fine, but my spare tire is a bitch.

  13. In case you don’t remember, you had high cholesterol even as a 12-year-old. Perhpas it simply your destiny in life.

    My levels are high too. But I don’t care. With the record of longevity in our family (except for your great-great grandmother), I’ll probably live to be a feeble old 99. Which is why I’ll be moving in with you and your future family. I know you don’t like the peeing-in-every-chair aspect of me living with you. I understand. But for me to feel comfortable (and that’s all-important, you know), I’ll be needing to mark my territory. Always essential to know where you stand. Or sit. Whatever….

  14. Oh, and the fact that I practically eat a stick of butter a day with salt chasers and have amazing better than optimal results are just a stroke of dumb Norwegian genetic luck. At least I got one good thing from my parents.

  15. Just be carefull ! I lost a friend having too much cholesterol


  16. Why don’t they engineer some LDL bacon? Shouldn’t THAT be the holy grail of science?

  17. Hey, I was just looking up on here about info about high Cholesterol. I have had High Cholesterol since I was born, off the chart. When ever I get my blood work back there is always a check mark next to my cholesterol and diet. I dont need a diet. Since I was born i have been a competitive swimmer and have been in top shape for as long as I can remember, until recently, i have stopped swimming. I have multiple health problems, I wont mention them all but one is high blood pressure which I think is caused by one of the meds i take anyway. Some people are born with low cholesterol and some are born with high cholesterol. No one knows why and no one can really link cholesterol to heart attacks and strokes. I am including a link to a site that talks about it. I dont eat junk food that often, I havent been a fan of it, nor do I drink much pop. I dont eat ice cream or chocolate. But I live on Carbs because thats what i have grown up on. I guess the best you can do is try to walk, its the best you can do for exercise anyway. Try to stay away from junk food as much as you can and keep in touch with your doctor about your blood pressure and cholesterol.

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