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If the Genes Fit…

October 12, 2010


Cover of Fit For Life (1985 edition)

Image via Wikipedia


My brother drove home last night  after dinner, inspired to eat healthier. Lee had cooked dinner for us and my brother opted out on our offer to cook him chicken or fish, choosing instead to eat just as we ate. He’s an excellent cook. He reminded me of our time years ago, of following a diet program called “Fit for Life.”

The big thing with that program was the way foods were combined. Fruit was eaten only in the morning and with nothing else. Then, once you ate something else, you had no more fruit that day. You could eat most anything, but vegetables could be eaten with starches. Vegetables could be combined with protein. But, protein could never be eaten with a starch. I remember feeling great on that program and following it for a considerable length of time, though it meant no burgers or sandwiches.

I I think of that program, especially in terms of how and when I eat fruit. Remember the belly ache I had after the fruit salad for dessert? That makes perfect sense in “Fit for Life” terms. The fruit leaves the stomach quickly, much more quickly than the vegetables and sweet potatoes we ate as our meal. The fruit after vegetables and starches creates a major clash in the digestive track. This clash translates as a belly ache and even weight gain. I tend to eat fruit the early part of the day even now.

The dinner Lee made was delicious and very different from everything I’d been cooking. Tempah, broccoli, cauliflower and brown rice were the main ingredients, with curry, low sodium soy sauce, lemon and orange juice as flavoring. The juice actually made a sauce. It was a bit on the citrusy side and I’m surprised the OJ didn’t have a party in my belly after-wards. I saved the little bit of “sauce” to use in something else later.

Funny, but I tend to save everything now. I was never one to keep leftovers, finding them more prone to end up media for growing mold than to ever be eaten. Now, however, I use almost everything that is cooked either as a meal for Lee to take to work, to supplement another meal or as an ingredient in another dish. We ate the leftover pasta for lunch yesterday as my brother napped.

We all felt great relief that his heart valve is okay, but that still leaves his symptoms. Either there is something else entirely going on or, like me, his arteries are not allowing blood flow as they should. We do have the same genes, of course, and his cholesterol is out the roof. Also like me, he likes to think he eats well, eating lots of vegetables and fish. He seldom fries anything and almost never eats out. He does, though, have that raging sweet tooth that can be all-consuming late in the evening. He wasn’t always that way. He use to be a big beer drinker, having a few almost every night. I was much more likely to find a bag of Doritos in his pantry than a bag of chocolate. Once he stopped drinking beer, his dormant sweet tooth emerged. He returns to the cardiologist in two weeks.

He had this procedure where I had that failed stress test and cardiac cath that showed the double graft failure and new blockages. It’s where the doctor told me and my family that they would transfer me the next day and try to place stents, but I was not a  candidate for another bypass and a heart attack was very likely during the procedure. I again saw the large, male cath tech who had cried with me and the nurse who had not sedated me well. It was more difficult for dear Lee to be there I think, than for me. I sat in the waiting room my family had waited in and walked down the hall they had paced for over four hours.

Walking down the hall, I dare say, may have been easier. Not once, in all the walking all over that hospital yesterday morning, did I have that horrible hip pain that once it starts, causes a limp that lasts all day. My legs still burned and hurt, but, and I almost don’t want to say this out loud and jinx it, I think the walking might have really been a little easier. Lee noticed it too, but didn’t say anything until I did last night at dinner. Could there be a difference already?

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