Serve Up the Brown Rice

The day after I boldly announced on Facebook that it was my plan to be a ‘Superager’ and live to be a 96-year old with the brain of a 25-year old because the New York Times told me how, I got the results of my annual blood test, the one I’d put off getting for three months because it was such a pain in the ass to not drink wine the night before and coffee the morning of.

It was the middle of the night. I’d gotten up to change something on a blog post written earlier and saw an automated email from the clinic saying my test results were available. I clicked. My cholesterol number was jaw-dropping, up almost 100 points from last year. Jesus H., I thought. I’m going to have a stroke. Probably tonight.

I went back to bed ready to detonate. I thought about how, after the blood test, I’d broken the fast, so to speak, with a Quarter Pounder with Cheese which I ate in my car, smug because I hadn’t ordered the fries. Fries aren’t good for you, you know. So I always feel righteous ordering a QP with Cheese, just the sandwich, like I’m evolved in some important way.

The next morning I went to the neighborhood market and bought brown rice and a giant sliced portabella mushroom. Today I sauteed them with vegetables in an iron skillet, the same one my sister used on her visits years ago to fry up a mess of bacon and three eggs which she would eat while drinking a Miller Lite. It was her diet plan. One really big pile of bacon and eggs, her one meal of the day, and a noon to midnight draw on Miller Lite. Her buzz was barely noticeable yet durable. Let’s say it kept her mind off eating. She was always very svelte.

After the clinic’s email and getting my statin prescription refilled, I Googled cholesterol up one side and down the other. I reminded myself about what I shouldn’t eat and what I should, hence the brown rice and the mushroom grown to look like steak. I read about exercise and the benefits of that nice glass of red wine. I resolved to buy darker chocolate and I adjusted the scale in the bathroom so it was exactly right. It clearly is a time for precision.

Then I thought about the past few months. The difficulty, the pressure, the responsibility, the wine. The soothing lunches at the historic hamburger place across the street from the hospital where my daughter was in intensive care, the stops at the local custard stand for a single scoop of butter pecan, the forks full of mac and cheese with steak from the noodle joint, and the wine. The holidays afterward the crisis, the relief, the celebration, the entitlement, the wine.

And then I finally Googled “drinking and cholesterol.”




8 Comments on “Serve Up the Brown Rice

  1. The hardest part of growing old is having to give up so much of the fun! I almost have convinced myself that I’m having fun living healthy – except when we stopped for a DQ yesterday.

  2. It’s funny how guilt works in our minds. I recently got test results back that show a slight uptick in my cholesterol. At least in your case you waited until after the test to have your quarter pounder. I had egg foo young carryout the day before mine, and I must have spent hours sitting in remorse the day after receiving the results (convincing myself it was certainly that one meal that “did” it). I hope your wine research comes up inconclusive. – Marty

  3. It’s amazing how stress affects our bodies. I think that probably had a bigger impact than any of the burgers, ice cream and wine. But then, I’m not a medical professional, just a lover of life’s pleasures.

  4. Jan, I feel your pain. My cholesterol has been charging forward at a steady gallop these past few years. I won’t take a statin though, so I might die. Today. Hopefully not, though.

  5. I, too, have been guilty of self-medicating with food. Who hasn’t, really? We’re all so human that way. And yet, tonight I made crockpot cashew chicken, French green beans, had a nice glass of red. And felt infinitely better than the past week when I’ve been existing on veggie pizza and buffalo chicken dip:). We know it’s doable–it’s just more time . . . which feels like a precious commodity.

  6. How dare your blood! Doesn’t it realize you had a stressful time! It should give you a little break! 30 points, that is a wake up call, but 100 points is down right rude! I think you need to take out your mother voice and have a talk with the blood production folks and suggest that a little kindness is not really out of the question here. I mean you have been nice to them for a long time! Better switch to Red wine and i think the new recommendation is one glass only a day. Barely enough to wet your lips. Oh you might have to go to California to see the grandsons and walk in the sun for medical purposes. Your nurse

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