I received the news the other day that my cholesterol is high again. I was really disappointed because I brought it down a while ago and thought it was going to stay low forever. I guess you don't just bring it down and go back to your old ways. I should have thought of that sooner.
This time, I asked a few more questions about it and discovered that it is my triglycerides that are high. Everything else was good. I knew there were bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, but I didn't know much about triglycerides. I knew that I didn't want my overall number to be over 200 but I didn't know how this was all broken down. So, I looked into this further.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease. When you consume food, your body sometimes gets more calories than it needs to survive. These unnecessary calories are then converted in to triglycerides and are stored as fat in your cells. If you eat more calories than you burn each day, chances are you have high triglycerides. I guess I am eating too many calories and not moving enough.
Lemon Pasta with Broccoli. A big bowl is enough to serve four, unless one is a hungry teenager.
So, I thought back on what I have been doing lately. Sure enough, I have been sporadically visiting the gym. I used to take a daily five-mile walk and I can't remember when I did that last. Also, I have slowly started eating more cheese and French fries, which are extremely high calorie foods. I've been eating more pizza and processed foods too. Cheeze-its are back in my cupboard. Its crazy how easily one slips back into these old habits. I think I got comfortable with my weight and being healthy and didn't realize I was slowly slipping back into my old ways of eating. I did realize recently that I gained five pounds and haven't been able to shed them easily. This was beginning to make sense now.
As I read through the many websites teaching me more about triglycerides, I started coming across diet suggestions. They were the usual: eat more vegetables and fruits, eliminate processed foods, and eat low fat foods. Dr Oz's site suggests eating more salmon, spinach, beans, fruit (especially grapes), and olive oil. I consistently ran across the suggestion to eat more olive oil. Now, this was a little confusing to me because I think of olive oil as a high calorie food and some doctors want you to eliminate all oil in your diet. So, why would olive oil help with cholesterol?
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, which can help lower triglycerides in your bloodstream. I think olive oil is more of a good substitute for other types of fats, especially butter. So, using olive oil instead of butter is a step in the right direction. I love cooking with olive oil. I think I will continue to cook with it in moderation and will definitely use in instead of butter.
Lemon Pasta with Broccoli:
Time: 30 minutes
2 heads of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 package of small shell pasta
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 scallions, sliced
1 tomato, diced
juice of two lemons
zest of two lemons
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to boil. Steam the broccoli in a large pot for 15 minutes. Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions. In a large saut pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the garlic and scallions. Saut for five minutes. Add the tomatoes. Drain the pasta and the broccoli. Add both to the pan with the garlic mixture. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour into a large bowl. Add the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well. Serve with parmesan cheese and red chili flakes on the side, just in case.
This week Daphne wanted me to make some lemon pasta. I make this for her every once in a while. It is one of her favorite meals. She was preparing for a big audition the next day and I told her to please eat only healthy meals. I made lemon pasta for my food article a long time ago. Daphne absolutely loves it. I wanted to boost up the nutrition level and added tons of broccoli. Broccoli tastes so good with all of this lemon. This is such an easy dish to whip up for lunch or dinner.
I used olive oil and no butter. Daphne and I both ate the whole bowl. I know I say in this recipe that this dish is for four people, but it can also be for two very hungry people. It's light and delicious. It probably isn't a good idea for my triglycerides to eat so much at once but I will try to eat less next time. I have to take baby steps. Actually, the diet starts Monday because obviously I am not going to miss out on my traditional Mother's Day eggs benedict. That is happening this week and this dish will not be low calorie. I hope all of you mom's had a great Mother's Day. Enjoy your mother's day feast, whatever you may choose, and go back to healthy food the following week. That is my plan.