My Journey Report 1 – Time to Brag!

One of my goals on this journey was to lower overall cholesterol and my LDL without taking the drugs that the clinic I go to was trying to make me take. I wanted to show it can be done with diet alone and I DID IT! I am extremely happy to report that my cholesterol is now 147, it was 208. I still want to lower further but I am quite pleased with myself and I think I have a right to BRAG!

My LDL is also down to 99, it was 131. Triglycerides is 67, it was 72 – which was already good but 67 is even better! The only thing I don’t like is my HDL went down to 39, it had been 63. As you may recall >60 is a benefit to the heart, but low HDL is not good, so I will be targeting raising HDL without raising the LDL, triglycerides, or overall Cholesterol. I read that eating a strict plant based diet sometimes leads to lower HDL levels.  According to research I’ve read there are many foods that raise HDL and lowers LDL but I’m already eating them, namely olive oil, beans, and whole grains. Something I haven’t been eating lately is animal products; a fatty fish such as salmon once or twice a week is recommended to raise HDL. Also moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with higher levels of HDL.  I think I can add back some animal products to my dietary intake, and I know the first thing I want is a huge fatty fish fillet! I think it’s time to add back some moderate alcohol consumption too, maybe a little glass of vino with that fish!

The chart below is the Ideal range that the medical community uses:

Chemistry normal range
Cholesterol 100-199
Triglyceride 0-149
HDL >39
LDL 0-99

First article for this journey is: Eating Our Way to Good Health

 

Eating Our Way to Good Health, Is it Really Possible?

By: Maggie Atherton Leiterman

The headlines are full of articles about anti-inflammatory, cholesterol, and cancer fighting foods, teas, concoctions, and super foods. There are daily warnings broadcast about cardiovascular health and arteriosclerosis that is linked to cholesterol clogged arteries. The media and grapevine pipeline is full of fad diets, toxic cleanses, and many other gimmicks to get people to buy their products. Another alarming trend is the rise of many mainstream healthcare workers prescribing a pill as their first line of treatment, which is contrary to what the AMA (American Medical Association,) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute advocate, which is that doctors should be counselling patients about how they can change their condition with nutrition, lifestyle changes, and exercise first before turning to drugs. I know many people would rather take a pill and keep on with their habits, but unfortunately there are numerous side effects from long term use of some medication and it seems every day brings new findings of a drug that was thought to be safe found to be causing catastrophic damage. I prefer to read, read, read all the papers based on scientific research studies and findings that University Hospitals and research laboratories are publishing. At the end of this article I have links to many of the research documents I am reading as well as some fun ones for recipes. Have you heard of quercetin? It is found in many foods, research has shown cancer fighting properties of quercetin. I have links at the end of this article to the research I’ve been reading on this subject.

What is your reason for wanting to eat better? Is it to regain health and stop taking medications, or to lose weight or maybe to maintain weight. Eating better to improve your joint health, to improve arthritis, or perhaps to ward off cancer?  Maybe you want to learn how to get more natural probiotics from fermented foods to increase gut health, or you are trying to lower your blood pressure or your bad cholesterol and triglycerides, or raise your good cholesterol naturally? Perhaps you’re trying to control hypoglycemia or diabetes? Whatever the reason, you aren’t alone, there are millions of people worldwide who want to eat their way to good health for various reasons. I am on a mission to eat my way to good health, I want to lose weight, to lower blood pressure, and my cholesterol too! My quest includes documenting my research so that I can cite my sources, scientific based research, not junk science, and to share the information with others. At the end of this article are many links to the sources I am using to guide me on this journey.  I want to build strength through exercise as I lose weight slowly so that hopefully I will be toned and not saggy. In June, I decided to record everything I put in my mouth, I use a website to record my daily intake, I’ve had success in the past losing pounds and tracking nutrition. A few years ago I dropped from 225 to 215 and have not gained it back but I got complacent and stopped recording. The Calorie Count program keeps track of food intake for me and displays a chart showing total nutrients of what I ate, such as calories, carbohydrates, fat, and other nutrients including many vitamins. If you want to check it out, it is free to use. One of my favorite features of Calorie Count is the recipe section. I record my recipes and it not only analyzes the recipe showing a nutrient label but it also saves the recipes for me. I have recipes from 2008 when I first joined Calorie Count even though some years I’ve only logged in a few times a year. There is a community of people sharing their journey on the timeline, in groups and forums. You can friend people on Calorie Count where they participate in groups and forums, they post on the timeline, and in groups and forums. If you join look me up, my page is Maggie’s Calorie Count page.Calorie Count sort of reminds me of facebook in the aspect of the timeline, and groups but everyone on Calorie Count is posting about their journey with how they are consuming food and drink. In June of this year I started recording in Calorie Count again, I was eating mostly a plant based diet of foods known to lower LDL. I was doing good and had lost some weight so of course, like most dieters, I wanted to celebrate with food that I love and had been depriving myself of so I went out to dinner on Friday July 1st and over-indulged eating pizza, after an emergency room visit in the early morning hours of July 2, 2016 and undergoing CT scan, IV fluids, and IV antibiotics, then I was told I had severe diverticulitis with internal bleeding. I finally got released that evening with prescriptions for two different antibiotics, and instructions from the emergency room doctor that I was required to have only clear liquids for a few days, no caffeine or alcoholic beverages. At home I drank apple juice, white grape juice, and I made my own vegetable broth by boiling a variety of vegetables, straining out the veggies. I saved the cooked vegetables to eat after the clear fluid liquid diet was up. After the liquid diet, the emergency room doctor’s instructions required me to eat low fiber foods such as mashed potatoes without the peels, all vegetables mashed without peels or seeds, corn flakes and other such foods for about a week, and then to slowly build up my fiber intake to 35 grams or more a day. I was told to keep eating a diet high in fiber content to avoid any new flare up of the IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease.) It took me about 2 weeks to reach that goal of 35 grams of fiber a day, and now it is my mission each day to reach or exceed that goal with vegetables, fruits, and grains. I have found that adding unprocessed bran to my meals accomplishes the goal easily. I make a smoothie in the blender, for breakfast, with a banana, a cup of soy milk (my own homemade soymilk,) and 1/8th cup unprocessed bran. It is filling and delicious. I’m enjoying making up new recipes and eating, eating, eating. I’m trying many new foods, with wide variety of vegetables and grains. It takes a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains to make a balanced plant-based diet, and amazingly the pounds are just melting away! I feel great too! No processed foods, no fast foods, and I try to stay around 1200 calories a day which is minimum for healthy weight loss. I started drinking fresh grated ginger root tea instead of coffee or tea, sometimes I add a stick of cinnamon too. Another drink is frozen watermelon and juice of fresh lemon in the blender for a smoothie. I’ve noticed a marked drop in my blood pressure, and have stopped one of the blood pressure medicines I was on and cut the dose of the other one in half! I believe when I get more weight off and with continued exercise and good eating habits that I may be able to stop that one all together. As for reducing my cholesterol, I am trying to lower without drug therapy that the nurse practitioner I go to is trying to get me to take. I’ve discussed the matter with my heart doctor and my vascular surgeon and they both agree with me that it is much better to lower with diet and avoid taking drugs. I am having routine blood testing done soon that will reveal if my cholesterol LDL has come down. I already have good levels of triglycerides and HDL. I am hoping to see good results from the plant-based diet and a marked improvement to LDL level.

VeganFoodPyramid

Since I am following a plant based diet I was happy to find this food pyramid based on a plant based diet.

I been posting pictures of all the good food I been creating, I been posting on Instagram, my Instagram page is https://www.instagram.com/maggiescornerdotorg/ – I post on other social media sites too.

Here are a few pictures of the food I’ve posted on Instagram. The recipes with nutrient label for each meal is on Calorie Count  in my recipes.

#yummie #dinner #friedtofu #ichibaneggplant #leeks #vegan #plantbased

A photo posted by MaggiesCornerDotOrg (@maggiescornerdotorg) on

#lunch was #myrecipe for #savorypotato #frypatties #plantbased #vegan

A photo posted by MaggiesCornerDotOrg (@maggiescornerdotorg) on

#ricepaperwrap filled with #lentil #garbanzo #avacado #leeks #carrot #romaine

A photo posted by MaggiesCornerDotOrg (@maggiescornerdotorg) on

 

#chocolate #rum #muffins made with my #homemade #okara #decadent #yumminess #glutenfree #vegan #plantbased

A photo posted by MaggiesCornerDotOrg (@maggiescornerdotorg) on

I made another 40 oz of #homemade #soymilk today. #vegan #plantbased

A photo posted by MaggiesCornerDotOrg (@maggiescornerdotorg) on

 

And just think, all that good food is good for lowering LDL (bad cholesterol,) and to raise HDL (good cholesterol.) I broke the 200 pound mark this past week and as of the date of this publication (August 13, 2016) I weigh 199 pounds. My goal is 140 pounds by mid year 2017, so 59 pounds to go! I will post on my blog each month with my progress. I’d love to hear about your journey too! Leave me a comment about your journey.

Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Triglycerides

“What’s the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol? Triglycerides and cholesterol are separate types of lipids (fat) that circulate in human blood. Triglycerides store unused calories and provide your body with energy, and cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones. Because triglycerides and cholesterol can’t dissolve in blood, they circulate throughout your body with the help of proteins that transport the lipids (lipoproteins).” quoted from Mayo Clinic Article.

Do you wonder what causes the blockage in arteries? There are many reasons people develop blocked arteries which lead to strokes, and heart attacks. Saturated fat raises LDL (bad cholesterol,) and hydrogenated fat raises triglycerides (another type of lipid). There are numerous risk factors such as smoking, actually any use of tobacco, also lack of exercise, obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation from diseases, such as arthritis, lupus or infections, or inflammation of unknown cause, and high cholesterol – meaning high LDL which should be less than 100mg/dL,  and Triglycerides should be less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) , but the HDL cholesterol is actually good cholesterol that helps the heart. A level of 60 mg/dL and higher HDL  actually protects the heart and helps lower the LDL. Total cholesterol should be less than 200mg/dL.

In 2015 I was very fortunate that a doctor recognized a bruit, that is a sound in the throat which is an indication of blockage of carotid artery. After angiogram and other testing, I was seen by a heart specialist and a vascular surgeon. A heart arrhythmia was detected with a monitor, but I was cleared for surgery because the angiogram showed that my right carotid artery was over 80% blocked. I had the surgery late 2015 and it turned out that my right carotid artery had been over 90% blocked. Due to problems the anesthesiologist had  inserting my arterial lines the vascular surgeon order tests on my arms and it turned out that my right subclavian artery was over 90% blocked. In early 2016 I had an angioplasty procedure to open that artery. All tests since have shown good flow restored to that artery, which is the main artery going into right arm. Tests show that I do have some minor narrowing of arteries throughout my body but I have high hopes to eat my way to good health. Medical research supports the premise that food can not only restore good health, cure illness, but also reverse plaque buildup in arteries. The American Journal of Cardiology double blind study showed the benefits of pomegranate on atherosclerosis.

I don’t know what caused the buildup of plaque in my arteries, it could have been from 30 plus years of smoking, long-term smoking cause the oxidation of blood which leads to plaque forming inside the arteries.

I am on a journey to eating my way to good health, to exercise daily, and to lose weight to reach my goals. My journey is more than dieting to lose weight, this journey is a new way of living that is changing my life for the rest of my life. This new way of eating will be my new normal and once I have achieved my goal I will again enjoy some of the other foods and drinks that used to be my old normal, but only occasionally and in strict moderation.

I want to share my journey with others who may benefit from the research I’ve done. I’ll write more posts on my blog to share my journey. I hope you will check out all the sources I’ve shared and let me know your own journey. Leave comments at the end of this post.

Below are many resources and references that I’ve used in my research and hope you enjoy it too.

The United States Department of Health has a couple brochures I have saved for my own reference that I want to share with you so that you can understand better about the facts relating to cholesterol and arteriosclerosis. Click on the pictures below to access the brochures which you can download if you want to. NHLBI-cholesterol

 

NHLBI-theraputic-changes-cholesterol

 

 

References to bookmark 

http://www.curejoy.com/content/how-to-make-anti-inflammatory-turmeric-ginger-tea/

http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/turmeric-smoothie-recipes-to-boost-bioavailability/

http://www.curejoy.com/content/how-does-turmeric-kill-cancer/

ginger: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16117603

black pepper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17987447

Quercetin:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136711/

Food that contains quercetin: http://www.quercetin.com/overview/food-chart

Cholesterol research:

http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/11-tips-to-cut-your-cholesterol-fast 

Healthy oils:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/healthy-cooking-oils-buyers-guide

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/SimpleCookingwithHeart/Healthy-Cooking-Oils-101_UCM_445179_Article.jsp#.VtCszX0rKt8

 

Prunes: http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2011/09/prunes_bones.html

Mayo Clinic, Arteriosclerosis / Atherosclerosis: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/dxc-20167022

 

Fermented Tea and Ginger Sodapop

Did you know that Kombucha is fermented tea that uses a starter called a SCOBY, and ginger root fermented in spring water is the starter for ginger sodas. Once fermented both can be flavored with a variety of ingredients. My favorite is to add 100% fruit juice to make ginger sodas. I like to mix ginger starter with the black tea kombucha for a gingerade.

I have kept new batches going continuously since I started up again last month from a few month hiatus. I’m on third round since I started up again in May of the black tea kombucha, but stopped after 2nd of green tea kombucha. I saved enough green tea kombucha to start a new batch. I want to get some bulk green tea leaves at my local food cooperative where I’m a member, that’s Ever’mans in Pensacola, Florida.

There are many health benefits to be had from the probiotics that kombucha and ginger starter sodas generate. That is a lengthy subject and although I’ve posted information before, I won’t repeat in this post today.

If you want more information on my efforts and experience, search my blog for the other posts on this subject,  and as always, feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.

Below are a couple pictures from yesterday.

Kombucha-n-GingerSoda

Kombucha-n-GingerSoda

 

This is Kombucha I bottled up in some recycled bottles.

This is Kombucha I bottled up in some recycled bottles.

How to make Kombucha and Ginger Bug

I started two batches of kombucha on May 26th. One black tea and one green tea. It’s been awhile since I made my homemade kombucha.

Black Tea Kombucha on left, Green Tea Kombucha on right, both started May 26th 2016. The containers are 2 gallon vessels so I used two Scobys in each jar.

Black Tea Kombucha on left, Green Tea Kombucha on right, both started May 26th 2016. The containers are 2 gallon vessels so I used two SCOBYs in each jar.

Today (June 4) is 8 days since I started the kombucha batches. I started a batch of ginger bug today. In about a week it will be ready and I will use it to flavor some of my kombucha after I remove the SCOBYs. I will probably use one gallon of the black tea to make the gingerade kombucha.

Today (June 4) is 8 days since I started the kombucha batches. I started a batch of ginger bug today, see in far right jar. In about a week it will be ready and I will use it to flavor some of my kombucha after I remove the SCOBYs. I will probably use one gallon of the black tea to make the gingerade kombucha.

You can see the new SCOBY forming on top of tea, it is looking good at only 8 days old. I like to drink my kombucha plain when it reaches about 15 days to 20 days old I will bottle and refrigerate the kombucha. If I flavor it as I'm going to do with the ginger bug then it goes to a second stage of fermentation with the ginger bug for about 3 more days before drinking or bottling. Each time I make kombucha the process makes a new SCOBY plus I still have the mother SCOBY, so I keep them in a container I call the SCOBY Hotel. Some of my older SCOBYs in the SCOBY Hotel have had multiple babies while sitting in the SCOBY hotel waiting to make new batches of kombucha. I give them all a white vinegar bath periodically and make sure all are healthy and happy. I need to find good homes for some of them where they can be productive and happy making a new  SCOBY family while making kombucha for their new family members. The last time I gave away some of my SCOBYs was when I helped Pat Johnson with the #fermenting class he did at #Ever'man #Cooperative in #Pensacola #Florida. I'm thinking about doing a class on making kombucha and ginger bug sodas.

You can see the new SCOBY forming on top of the black and green teas, it is looking good at only 8 days old. I like the taste of my kombucha when it reaches about 15 days to 20 days old. About day 14 I will start sampling by using the spigot at bottom of the jar. I keep spigot covered with the baggie secured with rubber band. I taste each day until it’s ready; it’s ready when it tastes the way I like it. Then I will remove the SCOBYs, and I will bottle and refrigerate the kombucha. If I flavor my kombucha, as I’m going to do with the ginger bug, then it goes to a second stage of fermentation with the ginger bug for about 3 more days before bottling. 
Each time I make kombucha the process makes a new SCOBY plus I still have the mother SCOBY, so I keep them in a container I call the SCOBY Hotel. Some of my older SCOBYs in the SCOBY Hotel have had multiple babies while sitting in the SCOBY hotel waiting to make new batches of kombucha. I give them all a white vinegar bath periodically and make sure all are healthy and happy. I need to find good homes for some of them where they can be productive and happy making a new  SCOBY family while making kombucha for their new family members. The last time I gave away some of my SCOBYs was when I helped Pat Johnson with the #fermenting class he did at #Ever’man #Cooperative in #Pensacola #Florida. I’m thinking about doing a class on making kombucha and ginger bug sodas, but I’m not sure what venue I want to have the class. I would consider presenting a class for groups at their organization’s facility, such as church, library, women’s club, etc. Feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below.

 

Weaving and Knitting Accessories

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

I have three newly acquired tools to add to my knitting and weaving tool collection thanks to a weaving guild friend Betsy Clark! I am so thankful and thrilled with all three of them. Betsy said they were from an auction where they were part of a batch of items that were purchased as a bundle. The ones that I acquired are an electric bobbin winder, a swift, and a vintage Simet yarn-cake winder.

Bobbin Winder

Electric Bobbin Winder, appears to be homemade using a TACSEW sewing machine motor and a foot pedal that is variable speed (sort of… )

Swift

This is a Swift, I had to do some research to figure out what it is and how to use it – I’m embarrassed to admit that I thought it was some sort of warping mill until I found a YouTube video that shows how to used it with a hank of yarn.

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder – what a beautiful yarn cake I made in a matter of minutes! I love love love it! Thank you Betsy for this and for the other items too! That yarn-cake is 6″ diameter and 3-1/2″ tall!

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder – here it is rewired, cleaned, oiled, and ready for housing to be put back on. See pictures below of the items and how I cleaned and oiled them. The Simet winder didn’t have an electric cord to plug it into the electric outlet, so I got out my tools and opened the housing case, then I rewired the electric wires to make it a direct hookup to the motor. I took pictures of the process, see all below.

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder – I cut wires and direct wired to an old extension cord that I sacrificed to make the direct connect electric cord.

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Vintage Simet yarn-cake winder

Pensacola Bay Brewery 64 oz Growler Tote New Design

As many of you know who follow my blog, I recycle bags for Pensacola Bay Brewery in Pensacola Florida, making them into totes for their gift shop. I line the totes with a material that is also recycled, the lining material helps contain the chill of the cold #craftbeer filled growler for the the trip to your home or other destination.

Here where I live in Florida they finally made it legal in 2015 to fill 64 oz size growlers at Craft Brew Establishments. Before that we could only have the 32 oz and the one gallon size. I had been making the 32 oz and the one gallon size growler totes for Pensacola Bay Brewery, now that the 64 oz can be sold, I designed a new tote to fit that size growler last year (2015) and recently (2016) I came up a better design for the 64oz totes.

CIMG5512

I redesigned the 64 oz so that the logos fit better and it is bigger so there is room to add some ice packs.

 

 

So what ya waiting for….. take yourself down there and buy a growler filled with your favorite craft brew and buy a tote to carry it in.

Like their Face page https://www.facebook.com/pbbrew

 

 

My First Inkle Loom

(update April 9, 2016)

I can’t believe it has been since 2013 that I made my inkle loom! I thought I would run this again this weekend and add some more pictures.

CIMG0812 CIMG0813 CIMG0814 CIMG0815 CIMG0816 CIMG0817 CIMG0819 CIMG0820 3-ExtendedInkle 4-ExtendedInkle 5-ExtendedInkle 6-ExtendedInkle 7-ExtendedInkle 8-ExtendedInkle 9-ExtendedInkle
ExtendedArmUp2HeddleUp

HeddleDown

ExtendedArmUp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[The article below is from my blog post in October 2013, click on the Source link to see pictures and other links from original article]

I don’t know which I am more obsessed with, building the looms or weaving on them. I love giving a new life to items that have outlived their usefulness as their original purpose, such as the broom…

Source: My First Inkle Loom