Healthy Diet for a busy life

Healthy Diet for a busy life
20 AUG 2014

Mary (not her real name) is a patient of my practice for the last 2 years.  She is a 45 years old office manager for a busy real estate office, married for twenty years and a mother of 3 adorable  children ranging from 15, 12 and a 4 years old who is also known as the “surprise God-sent princess” or “what-have-we done-to-us Little Pre-K devil” depends on which day you asked her.  Mary was able to maintain a comfortable weight of 140 for her medium size frame of 5’ 6” till her late 30s and still remember the compliments she got from her husband and friends of how fast she “bounced back” after the birth of her 2 older children.

Her weight starting at 178 and was able to drop to 170 in the first year eating a sensible anti-angiogenesis mostly vegetable-based diet as we have discussed every time during her visits to my clinic. A recent physical visit after Thanksgiving showing a new weight of 183, obviously she is not happy and citing the end of year stress of office and family left her no choice other than returning to her old habit of skipping her breakfast with just a cup of coffee in the morning and a fast food drive-through or lunch delivery from her favorite Italian place for lunch, that is, if she had the time, and the occasional mid-day vending machine snacks added more fuel to the… tummy.

She always came home extremely exhausted and carving for a huge meal with lots of salty and sweet food.  She is even more depressed by the fact that she had to resume the blood pressure medications that had been reduced after her weight loss and also by the new discussion of possible starting cholesterol and diabetes medication given her family history of diabetes and the new finding of elevated fasting glucose.

Does the story sound familiar?  I bet we can all see a little bit of Mary in us.“You are what you eat” is a well known and scientific sound quotation that we all know by heart.  But how many of us can have a well balanced healthy diet because of… life?  I have been proposing a healthy eating habit with moderate exercise as a healthy diet that eventually leading to the ultimate goal of healthy aging.  While there are a few success stories, unfortunately, because of the demand of our family and work on top of our gradually slowing metabolism, these factors create a roadblock reaching our healthy aging goal and the few success stories are far in between.  We need a sustainable solution to deal with this fast pace world.

For those few that have time, the best weight loss/healthy eating regiment is always a vegetable-based anti-angiogenesis diet starting with juicing in the morning with organic vegetables such as kale, apple, ginger, and lemon in addition to some hard boiled eggs to start the day.  At lunch, a sandwich made of whole wheat bread and boiled lean chicken breast or tuna with lettuce and tomato and non-sweeten ice tea. A sensible dinner will be a good portion of salad in vinegar dressing or a Chinese stir fry green leafy vegetables tossed with fried tofu/gluten or some lean chicken/turkey, in addition to a homemade vegetable broth-based soup and a small serving of potato or brown rice.

A close alternative to this will be a “Cookie Diet”. The cookies mainly consist of an abundance of high fiber and protein, the ingredient together giving us a great satiety i.e. make your stomach feeling full, for at least 3 hours.  Starting in the morning with a bottle of water, even in the few minutes, you can spare on your commute to work, following a few more cookies throughout the day until dinner time.  By dinner time, we can prepare a sensible family sits down dinner with meals that I mentioned above.

As for Mary, with the Holiday season in its full swing, she was able to lose 4 lbs in just 2 weeks on her cookie diet.  We both agree to hold off her cholesterol and diabetes medications and opt for this new lifestyle change approach that she can sustain.  The added benefit is that her little princess was very happy now that mommy spent more time with her in the morning without the need to fumble through all the fruit, vegetable, and gadget.  But she is now complaining about mommy “not sharing”.  And she did not understand why that delicious chocolate-covered “muffin” is supposed for grow up, and from the look, she is obviously enjoying them.

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