Every time I go in for a checkup, my doctor warns me about my cholesterol levels as though they were the rising consumer price index. And if there is some sort of connection, soon I won’t be able to afford bread. I’ve been in a cold war with my arteries for some time now. I don’t feel clogged, so my strategy has been to pretty much ignore the doctor’s warnings.
When I read an article that suggested that red wine would help lower your cholesterol levels, I thought “Now there is a solution I can get behind!” so I headed over to Total Wine, the Grand Canyon of liquor stores. I looked around and finally found an employee/tour guide/Wine Ranger, and I asked for a recommendation for a sweet red wine.
Wine Ranger: “Do you mind bubbles in your wine?”
Me: “Actually, I prefer wine with bubbles.”
When he suggested a bottle that cost less than $10, and came with a twist top instead of a cork, I considered that a win. These are my two most important qualifications for selecting a wine. I’ve had that bottle about a month, and I don’t know if it’s lowering my cholesterol. I do know that it’s giving me a better attitude about the evening news.
I’m also trying to lose some weight. The diet I’m trying is called the 5:2 diet. Basically it’s a modified fast where you eat regularly five days a week and two days a week you drastically reduce the calories you consume. For me that means I can only have 500 calories a day on my fast days. What can you eat and still come in under 500 calories for the entire day? Here’s a list:
- Foam packing peanuts
Just kidding. A diet of nothing but cauliflower and broccoli should only be undertaken if you work alone, and have no friends or family. Also, my boyfriend Andrew says the foam packing peanuts are actually called rice cakes.
I was attracted to the diet because there have been medical studies done on mice that show that intermittent fasting can decrease chances of getting Alzheimer’s, lower cholesterol, and reduce joint pain. If I’m ever reincarnated as a mouse this will certainly come in handy. The magazine article where I first read about the 5:2 diet used the phrase “Quality of life”, words that trigger me now in my 50’s the same way “All you can eat buffet” and “75% off shoes” triggered me when I was in my 20’s.
A typical fasting day for me consists of either a hard-boiled egg or one cup of oatmeal in the morning, a salad with tuna for lunch, and some wishful thinking for dinner. Or I can have 4 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken along with the aforementioned cauliflower and broccoli. I also drink lots of water, and get my exercise running back and forth to the restroom.
This diet obviously is not for everyone, if you are diabetic or hypoglycemic it just won’t work cutting out your calories this drastically. On fast days I end up REALLY hungry by dinner time. Cartoon cat hungry, where I hallucinate images of roast chicken while I’m looking at Andrew sitting on the couch. And I find myself resorting to food porn, binge watching old episodes of The Great British Bake Off and tearing out impossible recipes from magazines. I look at those torn out pages the next day like I’ve had some sort of blackout. Why did I think I would ever be able to or want to make a Towering Seven Layer Salmon Mousse? I’m also disappointed that you can’t lick the pictures of food on magazine pages and get a taste of the dish. Why can’t they do this? They can create those annoying fragrance inserts that stink up my mailbox.
I’ll keep going, though. So far I’m losing about a pound a week, and I don’t gain it back when I eat regularly the rest of the week. Regularly being the recommended 2000 calorie a day diet, not Cheesecake Factory regular. I have to skip the wine on fast days, but I find that it gives me something to look forward to the rest of the week. Even if I’m watching the evening news.