16 February, 2010


One of the spin-off from our medicals in December was an interesting blood test result for my husband, David. His triglyceride levels are higher than usual. Here it says:
There is another type of normal fat (triglyceride) in the blood. The levels in the blood tend to become elevated by excessive amounts of refined sugar, saturated fats and alcohol in the diet. Elevated triglyceride levels are more common in the overweight and inactive and often accompany elevated cholesterol levels.
Well, he is neither overweight nor an imbiber of alcohol. His cholesterol levels are fine. Perhaps he is a little inactive and a lover of refined sugar, but essentially healthy, except for this little blood test result. Anyway, this is the second time this blood result has come back (previous medical in Australia 4 and a half years ago). So, we really need to do something about it. The main way to improve the situation, so my research tells me, is to exercise and to reduce the refined sugar and fat intake in your diet. I cannot do much about his exercise, except to encourage. So I've been working on the food end of things. That our diet is pretty healthy is evident that neither of us is overweight. No one in our family has food allergies, so I haven't been in the position of having to be very careful about what we eat. But now I have to reconsider family favourites like white sauce based meals, white toast, hot dogs, cheese, cake and biscuits and so on. As I tour the grocery store it appears to me that it is challenging to eat cheaply without blowing out on simple sugars and fat. Whole grain stuff is usually more expensive. Cheap, easy snacks are sugar-high biscuits and cakes. My long-held criteria for recipes that make it into the regular menu are
  • quick and easy to prepare (i.e. under an hour from beginning to end)
  • don't have a zillion ingredients
  • don't cost a lot
  • are reasonably tolerated by our three boys
  • have easily available ingredients (this becomes even more important in Japan)
The new recipes need to fit these categories too. I'm am struggling a little. I've been trying out new recipes as well as modifying old favourites. I am well aware that not all the ingredients I can buy here are available or easily available in Japan, like low fat cheese or wholemeal pasta. I am not about to commit to spending most of any day doing groceries and cooking. I simply have more important things to do. It's a challenge that I cannot avoid. I'll let you know how we're going in a few months time!

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