Live to Thrive

Yearly Physical: Thrive to LiveThis time last year I was “fat, sick and nearly dead” taking the title from Joe Cross’s film of the same name. Judging from my blood work and discussion with my family physician, change was needed. I had tried the previous year without medical intervention, but I was not committed to make the necessary change. I know now, moderation is not the solution to taking control of your health. Now that it’s been 10 months of living plant strong, I realize it’s never too late to take your health into your own hands and live to thrive!

Today was my yearly physical, something I have been doing since I turned 39 years old, but it wasn’t until last year I really took an interest in my blood numbers and reasons I was not healthy. Last year my doctor told me that diet alone was not going to decrease my total cholesterol, which had jumped to 264 mg/dL. He prescribed Lovastatin, it was not but 4-6 weeks later I took myself off the medication because of side effects I was having.

Based on my blog from August 4, 2011 I was attempting to change how I cooked, but “a vegan lifestyle is highly unlikely, but taking the occasional recipe from this form of food preparation is a possibility.” A day later I was questioning ‘Big Pharma‘ and still looking for alternatives. It wouldn’t be until the end of October that I decided to make the change after a co-worker recommended the documentary, Forks Over Knives.

Of all the things said today, it was what went unsaid that struck me as odd. This year there was no mention of what I was eating. Maybe looking on the questionnaire and saw I add the boxes NONE as it related to meat and dairy, I don’t know, but he did not mention anything about my diet. How could he? All the blood work numbers, with the exception of triglycerides were excellent!

Speaking of the triglycerides I did mention the decrease in alcohol leading up to the blood test and he agreed that the amount of alcohol being consumed was probably the reason for the level, which hovers at 160, about 11 points high. Overall, while he didn’t come out and say it, he was pleased to see the decrease, down from 269 last July. I have no doubts that 6 months from now my triglycerides will be in the normal range.

When he got to my cholesterol numbers, he couldn’t believe the drop of 134 points, down from 264 just a year ago. He was even more happy with the fact my bad cholesterol was less than 100 (currently 68). He mentioned genetic disposition numerous times as it related to some of the numbers. The HDL, or good cholesterol was one of those numbers, which is still considered to be “low” (35) in his opinion. Learning what I have from Dr. McDougall, I don’t get caught up in the individual numbers, but am thrilled with my TC number!

He also took my off the 50,000 IU prescription of Vitamin D as my current level of 58 is normal (so he said). He does want me to supplement with 2,000 IU Vitamin D3 daily, which is an over the counter purchase. HE said, “as long as you live in Northern California you will need to supplement or your Vitamin D level will fall back under 30.” I just smiled and said “okay” but haven’t made the decision on supplementing Vitamin D further.

Early on in our discussion he talked quickly about BMI. Luckily, I came in under 25.0, which is considered obese. My number was 24.1, which left me scratching my head, since I had taken a body composition test in June which resulted in a 15.6% body fat. The doctor said lowering my BMI wouldn’t make any difference on my health. I find that statement a bit bogus,why wouldn’t I want to lose body fat and replace it with lean muscle?

He also mentioned that I was “getting too caught up in the numbers.” First was the BMI question and then I commented on the cardio, trying to keep my heart rate elevated (142 BPM). He said any elevation of the heart rate, be it from walking or jogging is just as good, you don’t have to  elevate to a “reference point” on a chart.

All in all he declared me in excellent health and sent me on my way. Being in such good health for the first time in my life, I found out there was very little for him to nitpick at. I was told to keep eating how I am and stick with the exercise. I really had no questions for him, since I don’t really respect his answers, I chose to keep those questions quiet and ask those who are a bit more educated when it comes to a plant based lifestyle.