dessert

365 Challenge: Day 342 – Cholesterol

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Cholesterol: a compound of the sterol type found in most body tissues. Cholesterol and its derivatives are important constituents of cell membranes and precursors of other steroid compounds, but a high proportion in the blood of low-density lipoprotein (which transports cholesterol to the tissues) is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

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In a post last week, I mentioned I was visiting the doctor for a routine physical and check-up. I received the results yesterday and wasn’t surprised at all. For the most part, all is well — only one issue to address. In my last exam about 18 months ago, they mentioned my cholesterol was approaching the higher end. I understood as I tend to eat a lot of cheese, red meat and desserts. I course-corrected the problem and was back on a good swing for a few weeks to months. Somewhere afterward, I let it all go to a certain place with a certain proverbial hand-basket! I know my family has a few issues with high-cholesterol and heart disease, so I truly have no excuse for letting this go… alas, when the doctor called this time, it was not going in the proper direction. So… as I do with all things I feel uninformed on, I will research all the good and bad foods I should be considering, make a lovely little list to begin keeping the proper foods in the apartment, and deem this a permanent change.

I think the only reason this has shown up as a problem in the last 18 months is because I am now home full-time as opposed to going to an office ten hours per day. I would not snack while at work and I’d usually eat sushi or a healthy salad for lunch. Now… I find myself eating more desserts, pre-packaged foods, cheese and such… I’ll fix it. I need to. It’s important. That’s where I throw it back to you… any advice on good websites or books (or other areas) to help me weed through the facts on what changes I need to make? I have started checking some sites, but there’s way too much detail when I’d rather get a concise list of the do’s and don’ts. I ultimately prefer to trust a few places from people I know who can share their experiences. Thanks in advance!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 25 – Obsessed

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Obsessed: preoccupied with or constantly worrying about something

There are varying degrees to which someone can be obsessed with something or someone, ranging from healthy to serial killer. [No, I’m not one]

I’m in that range somewhere. After 24 days, I suppose you think you know me well enough to pinpoint roughly whereabouts I’d fall in that scale. I’ll make it easy for you… it all depends on what I’m obsessing over. I have been known on occasion to be so obsessive, it is scary. Not scary in “he’s gonna go pyscho,” but scary in “did he seriously just do/say/eat that AGAIN?”

Since this post could go on forever about different types of obsession, I’ll share a few things where I find myself obsessed, but ultimately, I’m going to blog about my obsession with food and drink. Things I’ve noticed obsessions over:

  • Test Results: whether it was in school waiting for a grade, getting blood work or updates from a doctor, or DNA results from Ancestry.com, I would check every hour to see if something was new (if it was online, that is… I’d never actually call and ask someone the same question every hour — I do have some level of self-control).

  • Updates: Checking to see if the dial has changed on something (anything… temperature, stocks, points, votes, etc.), I check way too frequently to see if the number has increased or decreased since the last time I saw it. And if the WiFi or screen freezes for any moment, hell hath no fury like an obsessed Jay!

  • Email: At my last job, I looked at my mobile phone every few seconds to see if a new email came in as I was freakishly paranoid about missing it and not getting back to someone timely. I carried it in my hand (not in my pocket) — with the volume off of course (see post on quiet) — just so I could feel the vibration and know I was needed. It rested under my pillow while I slept too.

But… today I am choosing to focus on foods and drinks. So here is the problem… I’m very self-conscious about looking good and being healthy, so I am often balancing my diet, working out and generally trying to maintain a stress-free life. (Note, for another day I’ll cover stress: my opinion is stress causes all the disease and physical pain to manifest in our bodies. You may already have the gene markers in your DNA for it to happen, but cutting out the stress could help prevent it from developing or getting worse) — not a doctor — just my opinion from research and observation!

What foods and drinks am I obsessed with? And by obsessed, I don’t mean I eat them all the time and can’t stop thinking about them. What I mean is… if it’s on the counter or in the closet, I will eat it ALL. I therefore try really hard not to buy these things… and when my mother brings them over on Sundays, I just hate myself. 😛

  • Desserts (cakes, cookies, anything sweet)
  • Chocolate
  • Champagne
  • Cheese
  • Bread

If I open the bag of cookies, I will eat the entire box in one sitting. But I won’t go to the store to buy it every day. If I open a bottle of champagne for dinner, I have to buy at least two: one for me, and one for the other person. And I hope that (s)he does not finish all of theirs so that I can have more. And if I buy cheese and crackers as a pre-dinner snack, I do not believe in wrapping up the remaining cheese for another day. If it’s been opened, it is meant to be consumed. I’ll shove 3 or 4 pieces in my mouth at once. I’m a freakin’ monster when it comes to foods that I love.

And while it’s happening, I’ll reason with myself while sitting on said couch. Typical conversation with myself:

ME: “You had ten, that’s enough.”

ME AGAIN: “One more won’t hurt.”

ME: “OK, just one.”

… [scramble from the couch… into the kitchen… gone longer than should be… back on the couch]…

ME AGAIN: “You had just one, right?”

ME: [can’t speak because mouth is full]

ME AGAIN: “You didn’t, you pig!”

ME: [head hangs in pseudo fake-shame]

ME AGAIN: “How many did you eat?”

ME: “The better question is how many are left!”

That is obsessed. And it leads to a few moments of “got to go work out NOW” and “I feel sick,” but I still do it every time in the future when the opportunity presents itself. Gluttonous is most appropriate word to use. That said, a few interesting  sidebars I’ve noticed:

  1. It doesn’t show because I am probably almost as obsessed with working out, taking vitamins and eating healthy otherwise. I need to balance it out somewhere.
  2. Alcoholism and diabetes run in my family, which means I’m keenly aware of the effects over indulgent behaviors. As a result, I have always been cautious and aware of the risks… and I’d like to say I would never become dependent on these things. Yes, I obsess over some of them, but I also know enough to stop when I need to. (I only do that crazy cookie eating thing once a month!!!!!!)
  3. It makes me human. Perhaps I’m not so peculiar after all… though we all have some crazy in us.

I’m curious why I do these things… why I allow myself to become obsessed? Since it happens beyond just eating and drinking, it’s not some missing vitamin or mineral or chemical in my internal biology! 😛

Am I needy? Am I bored? Am I wanton of things I don’t have? Nah… I think everyone does things like this from time to time. We let our minds control us for so long on certain topics until we decide to just accept or forget the supposed importance. Obsessions just show how much you love something, right? Assuming you keep it healthy and non-impacting to anyone else, then it’s all cool, right? The other people are wrong.

365 Challenge: Day 13 – Culinary

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Culinary: of or about cooking and preparation of food and kitchens

It took me a few minutes to decide the best word to describe my relationship with cooking. Was it “cookery,” “chef-like,” or some other monstrosity of a description. Then culinary popped in my mind. I’m culinary. Not that I am by any means formally trained or an exceptionally talented chef of any sort; however, I enjoy cooking, seem to have a natural talent for it and can usually do things without needing a recipe.

Actually, I don’t know that I’ve ever cooked something using the recipe exactly as it was written. I feel the need to change either the temperature, the ingredients or the order of how I choose to go about preparing the dish. Some might say I can’t follow instructions; that’s definitely not the reason. I think I see recipes as “guidelines” we should use as a starting place to figure out on our own how to make something delicious.

Culinary is a fancy word, at least in the way that I think of it. And I’m not really that fancy, so in some ways, culinary doesn’t apply to me. I also don’t know all the basic rules of cooking, so there are times when something I create comes out completely wrong because I didn’t know you were supposed to blanch an ingredient first, or it needed to be slightly cooler before you started the next step. Or why you’d use unsalted versus salted butter. I should know these things, but I don’t. That would stop me from going on any of those TV cooking show challenges; and I’ve already explained how much I enjoy doing some sort of challenge.

My favorite attempt at a challenge was when some friends and I would create our own version of the show “Top Chef.” My cousin and friends pick out the ingredients, place them in a box, then give me anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to prepare a dish using those ingredients, plus anything I have in the kitchen. At the time, I was living in the suburbs, so I had a fully stocked kitchen most weeks. I couldn’t do it in NYC now because I tend to only cook on weekends, and then I buy the ingredients when I need them. In my box on one occasion was lemongrass, peanut butter, pignoli (pine) nuts, clementines and mussels. I had to CLEAN the mussels and create the whole dish in 30 minutes. It was insanity but I finished, and it turned out to be amazing! I had coconut oil and heavy cream. I made a beautiful Thai curry sauce and a side salad with a peanut butter and pine nut dressing. Yum!

Being culinary requires creativity and cooking knowledge. I have some levels of both, not enough to be a master chef by any means, but enough to be dangerous. Some days it will turn out amazing, others I can see the look of fear on the face of whomever is having the meal with me. I’m particularly bad when it comes to baking, given that I don’t always follow a recipe. I’ve had a really flat cake that was supposed to be super moist and tall. I’ve also had a Swiss Roll that was so squishy, it couldn’t hold any filling. Tasted great, looked like a candle that had melted beyond repair.

Cooking helps you express your creativity while balancing the basic skills you need to prepare and assemble something from scratch. I’ve started watching the Great British Baking show because it has 3 challenges that appeal to me: (1) make a dish with directions from the show’s 2 judges, (2) a technical challenge to re-create a dish the judges made first and (3) complete freedom and creativity to make a dessert that is equally as tasty as it is inventive in appearance. I’d rock 2 of those 3!

The other fun aspect of being culinary is how you can use all 5 of your senses. Touching the ingredients, smelling the creation, seeing the beauty, hearing the sizzle, and tasting along the way. Very few other hobbies or activities can truly engage you on all levels. And when you get it all right, it’s a masterpiece. A slight change can create something completely new and decadent, but it can also lead you astray to a disaster. It can be accomplished on your own or as a group activity. You can take cooking lessons. You can write about cooking. You can do videotaped shows on how you cook. There are so many possibilities.

For me, it’s always been something to do on a third or fourth date; showcase your prowess in the kitchen. Or if you’ve got friends or family coming by for a night of games or movies, cook up a few special dishes or appetizers. And cuisines are so wide and varied. Italian, French, Spanish, Indian, Greek, Chinese… I’m not big into American dishes, cooking them, that is. I’m not much of a hamburger and hot dog kinda guy. But I do love and make a delectable meat loaf with a few surprise and secret ingredients.

How does cooking relate to your personality? For me, I’m orderly and clean, and so are my flavors. I prefer something new and unique. I’m certainly unique, but aren’t we all? It takes patience and time to get it right… and so do all of my attempts at these daily posts.

I suppose that’s quite in line with what you’ve learned about me so far in twelve days of the 365 Challenge. Do you cook? What’s your specialty? Give me some ideas and let’s share something delicious.