excuse me for living

 

My recent blood work was a disaster.  Lipids were screwed up, glucose was pre-diabetic, and my doctor was not in the mood for excuses.  Two bowls of ice cream the night before the testing was my reason for the high numbers.  No, I don’t eat ice cream in  excess.  I have it perhaps twice a month and this was just a matter of an old man forgetting he was having a blood profile the following morning.  Since I was in the dog house anyway, I added to my litany of complaints for the doctor the increased pain level in my right hip and leg which kept me from an exercise routine that included 25 miles of walking weekly.  Thus was my excuse for the 20 pounds weight gain and skyrocketing triglycerides.

She didn’t buy any of my excuses.  Instead, she increased my statin for cholesterol levels, threatened to increase my blood pressure medication and handed me a low-fat diet plan.  And then adding insult to injury, she ordered a colonoscopy.  Dangit woman!  I’m an old man, just leave me alone.  I don’t have a wife, never did have one, never will have one because y’all just nag a man to insanity and then he dies.  It’s not old age that kills us, it’s the nagging.

I don’t crash willingly.  I’m a fighter.  We all know that doctors today have to stay within the established guidelines put out by insurance companies.  We also know that we, as patients, have to play the same game if we want to keep our inusrance coverage.  We are no longer individuals with peculiarities and health oddities who used to have family GPs that knew us by first name on sight.  Now, we are just another blip on their statistics charts.  We are all playing insurance cat-and-mouse.  Only now we can smell a rat sitting somewhere behind a computer deciding who lives and dies.

How many of you remember the food pyramid of the 1990s?  Whole grains were the darling of the government’s dietary guide.  High carbs, low fats were the mantra of the day.  Eggs and butter and whole dairy were passe.  That government-approved diet probably killed as many unsuspecting people as a dozen Big Macs every week.  I knew it was bull crap because I gained 30 pounds, felt bloated always, saw my BP skyrocket and watched my blood lipids put me at risk for my first heart attack.  Then I returned to eating fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of meats including fried beef liver a few times monthly, potatoes as desired and a slice of pie after supper.  And I cooked with butter.  My arteries did not explode, my weight dropped, and my blood pressure returned to normal.

Don’t even try to reason with your doctor.  If a man wants to keep his insurance effective, he has to play the game.  And how many of you have an insurance plan that covers oriental medicine or holistic healing?  That’s what I thought.  If you don’t want to play the mainstream pharmaceutical game, you may as well take your marbles and go play elsewhere.

Doctor says to drastically cut red meat.  But I know that a beef steak in my system will provide 24 hours of energy and mental acuity.  Doctor says to add a fish oil supplement to my diet.  I agree, but I know that a quality fish oil which is 99% contaminant free and guaranteed ultra-refined is about as expensive as a trip to Cancun. The capsules available with my insurance plan come direct from China.  Would you trust those little dioxin, PCB laden golden nuggets?   Doctor says to add more fish to my diet.  So tell me doc, why is it that California is considering warning labels on canned tuna products?  Hello, it’s because our oceans are polluted with all the chemicals we are dumping on our crops.  Doctor says to reduce stress levels and meditate.  OM, OM, OM, OMMMMM.  Yeah doc, you’re getting on my nerves. OM, OM!

Staying healthy in spite of our health care systems and environmental disgraces is a challenge.  It’s not for wimps.  I research as much as possible about food and nutrition.  The internet is a fantastic tool, but even there a person has to use common sense.  Grapefruit juice 8 times a day does not a healthy diet make.  Eating only spinach for 2 weeks will drop the pounds but who wants to wake up to a spouse who growls, “Arrrrrrrgh, matey,” and smells like Popeye?  Okay, okay, maybe Olive Oyl doesn’t care, but I do.

God gave to us miraculous bodies that can do amazing things.  Knowing what foods and nutrients are good for us is not a matter of rocket science.  Quite often it is as simple as paying attention to your body.  When my eyes and skin turn yellow and my muscles start to ache for no reason, the first suspect on my list is the statin which I take for cholesterol control.  Never mind that my liver is failing.  When my energy levels drop to a crawl and my brain suffers from a severe case of fog, I do a mini inventory of recent protein consumption.  Was it plant-based or was it meat protein?   Some of us do not process plant-based protein efficiently.

Do you think the world’s aborigines back in year 200,000 BC had a website to google healthy eating.  No, they learned by trial and error and were keenly aware of their bodies’ reactions to foods, they did not pollute their berry patches and rivers, and they did not import sushi from China, and they probably did not suffer from high blood pressure, clogged arteries, or dementia issues.  The biggest worry was that ferocious lizard over across the river and Billy Stonehead with the humongous club.

My point is this.  We’ve got to have the cojones to stand up to our doctor, health insurance company and U.S. government, then we must learn to fend for ourselves with our health care because we are nothing more than statistics on a graph in some faraway governmental office or insurance company’s actuarial department.  How personal is that?

We are responsible for our health because, just like the government, our health care system is flawed and broken.  Pharmaceutical remedies may keep us standing upright and pumping blood, but at some point in the “golden” years of life, one must ask if merely having a pulse and a brain wave is the finale we desire.

 

GABBY COOKS – 3 can quickie

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

Dangit!!  I need a meeting tonight and I’ve got just 1/2 hour to fix supper and eat.  I have only $2 in my wallet so I can’t do Mickey D’s.  Let me see what’s in the pantry.

These are the ingredients

  1. (1) 15 oz can seasoned mixed greens
  2. (1) 15 oz can seasoned black-eyed peas
  3. (1) 8 3/4 oz can yellow sweet corn
  4. (4)  5″ corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS

  1. Empty the cans into a sauce pot and heat
  2. While that’s heating, quarter the tortillas and fry in a fry pan in about 1/4 of oil
  3. Serve the corn chips atop or with the soup
  4. Eat and get to that meeting!

GABBY COOKS-stewed chicken breast

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

I have always preferred dark chicken meat, legs & thighs, thinking it to be more flavorful.  But, chicken breast with skin and bone intact is a healthy alternative  and equally delicious.  I believe it cooks up moister and more tender than skinless & boneless breast.

When my recipe uses crushed garlic and herbs, I sprinkle the crushed garlic on my cutting board with the herbs and a pinch of salt and then chop vigorously.  The resulting blend works nicely in any recipe, especially when one of the herbs is dried rosemary.  

These are the ingredients

 

  1. (1) plump chicken breast with skin and bone
  2. (1) 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  3. (4) medium-sized red potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  4. (1/2) cup diced onions
  5. (2) strips bacon sliced into bite sized pieces
  6. (1/2) cup diced pepper, green or any color
  7. (2) TBSP butter
  8. (2) TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  9. (1/2) tsp dried rosemary
  10. (2) cloves garlic smashed
  11. salt & pepper to taste
  12. optional 1/2 TBSP dried parsley
  13. optional 1/2 tsp dried thyme 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. in a heavy stew pot render the bacon and drain excess fat 
  2. add the butter and olive oil and heat till butter is melted
  3. place the chicken breast skin side down in the oil and butter and brown lightly
  4. remove the chicken breast
  5. add the garlic and onions and saute till golden, do not scorch the garlic
  6. add the potatoes and green pepper, stirring to coat and allow to cook about 4 minutes
  7. add the seasonings and the can of tomatoes, stir to mix all the ingredients
  8. place the chicken breast, skin side up, atop all and cover with tight lid
  9. reduce heat to barely bubbling, you want this to cook slowly
  10. check often and stir to prevent scorching
  11. tomatoes and potatoes should add enough moisture, you want this a thick stew-like consistency, but add water or broth if necessary
  12. cook for about 45 minutes

TO SERVE

Remove the chicken breast to a cutting board and allow to set about 5 minutes.  Remove the skin and meat from the bone.  Slice the meat.  This can be eaten as a plate entrée or a bowl-style stew.  If plating it, spoon a generous helping of potato mixture on the plate and top with the chicken slices.  If serving as a stew, spoon a hearty helping of potato mixture into the bowl, add the chicken slices and blend.

 

GABBY COOKS – mac & cheese

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.

What’s more comforting than home-made macaroni and cheese?  And even better is this stove-top recipe which eliminates a baking dish and a 45 minute wait while it bakes in the oven.  This dish is table ready in 12 minutes.

These are the ingredients

 

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  1. (2) cups dry elbow macaroni
  2. (4) quarts water salted like the sea and brought to a rapid boil
  3. (4) tbsp. unsalted butter
  4. (2) tbsp. flour
  5. up to 3 cups milk
  6. (2) cups sharp cheddar cheese shreds
  7. salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot bring the 4 quarts salted water to a boil
  2. Cook the macaroni as directed on the package
  3. In a saucepan melt the butter over a low heat
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir for several minutes
  5. When it turns golden, add about 1 cup milk and stir again
  6. Stir until the sauce turns creamy and increase the heat to a medium low
  7. Add more milk until it is creamy and smooth
  8. Add the cheese and stir again until it is thoroughly blended
  9. Salt and pepper as desired
  10. When macaroni is done ladle it out into the cheese sauce with a slotted spoon
  11. Blend until the pasta is evenly coated.
  12. If the macaroni and cheese is too thick and gooey add a spoonful at a time of the pasta water until it is deliciously creamy and smooth

GABBY COOKS – pork chops

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.

These are the ingredients

  1. (2) 1″ THICK BONELESS PORK LOIN CHOPS
  2. (1) CLOVE GARLIC, SMASHED
  3. (1/2) STICK BUTTER
  4. (1/2 LB) FRESH, SLICED MUSHROOMS  more if you love mushrooms like I do
  5. (1) TBSP FLOUR
  6. UP TO 2 CUPS MILK whatever it takes to create a creamy, smooth gravy
  7. DRIED OREGANO AND THYME about 1 tsp each depending on your taste
  8. SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a fry pan, melt the butter over low heat
  2. Stir in the crushed garlic.  Maintain a med/low heat.  Don’t want any scorching of the butter or the garlic
  3. Add the chops and brown on both sides to a light, golden crust – just a few minutes
  4. Remove the chops
  5. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the pan butter
  6. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir again to coat evenly
  7. Cook the flour till it turns golden – just a few minutes
  8. Add the milk, stir, add more to bring to a creamy consistency.
  9. Add the herbs, stir again
  10. Salt and pepper now or wait until cooking is done
  11. Return the chops to the pan, spoon gravy over them
  12. Cover and cook over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes
  13. I enjoy these chops served with a packaged rice pilaf mixture

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