Nena, my pal of more than 60 years, was on the phone, sounding as though she was announcing the end of the war! Well, in her case, it must have felt like it.
For what must seem a lifetime she had been battling weight and cholesterol. Now a veteran of health battles, hers as well as those she helped fight for her husband, who passed on only last year, losing weight now seems the least of her worries.
She has had a replacement operation on one knee and needs another on the other knee. She’s been dealing with heart failure, which causes edema and other complications for which angioplasty, a supposedly comparatively simple procedure for easing blood circulation around the heart, is recommended.
But at this point, she’s just about had it with doctors and hospitals, not to mention the costs. Last I heard she was into looking into the benefits of herbal medicines, and the news about cholesterol must have caused her to feel like it’s Liberation Day.
Nena found the good news on the Internet. I read it myself in a health column: All cholesterol is good. But I don’t think it meant we could eat all the fat and butter we like, and I’m sure Nena does not take it that way, either. Certainly we can use what cholesterol we can get to fight depression or keep our hormone count high or our minds and nerves functioning well or our adrenal glands producing enough cortisone to help us deal with stress. Indeed, low cholesterol levels are associated with depression, suicide and lung cancer in women.
There are certainly all kinds of good news out there, enough to add joy to our senior years. I, for one, seek the good news where I can find it. There it was again in the most ordinary thing like the whole egg, which has redeemed its reputation as the complete protein, loaded with vitamins, minerals and the short-of-miracle-working Omega-3 fatty acids.
This is happy news for whole-egg lovers like me, who suffered when yolk was separated from its perfect mate, the white, which went wasted into gummy albeit cholesterol-free omelets. The best thing for separated egg whites is to be beaten to a froth, strings of syrup dripped into it, gradually, as it gets whipped into clouds of meringue and placed in dollops on top of a lemon pie.
Sugar, indeed, can make anything taste good; yet, if we had to get rid of anything from our diet and still survive, it would be sugar. But then again, people like me may never smile again. Filipino children loved spaghetti more after their mothers sweetened it. Sugar has found its way into buttered popcorn and garlic bread. It was smart to put it in vitamins and medicines.
Dark chocolate, which I love, has been declared healthy to eat, although I doubt I or anyone else would touch it without the tons of sugar it needs for taste.
Sugar substitutes never could do it for me, although coco sugar and other sweeteners derived from plants, like stevia, I can take. Anyway, my own good news about sugar came out of my blood test, thanks, I believe, to our juicer. Juicing vegetables every morning has brought my sugar count and my weight down, with some treadmilling added for good measure.
In my book only black coffee can hold its own sans sugar, and I am glad it’s now off the killer list. A glass or two of red wine, which turns to sugar in our blood stream, not only puts color in our cheeks, it’s actually good with meals.
But, again, not for me; red wine and anything else alcoholic even in moderation gives me a ruddy complexion all right, but just before it knocks me cold. And when healthy red wine is mixed with healthy citrus fruits and apples (more sugar) and becomes sinfully delicious sangria, a couple of sips and I’m gone.
Judging by the way it leaves me looking so peacefully dead, no onlooker would buy the truth—that it took less than a copita; they’d estimate that no less than a whole carafe could have done so thorough a job.
I salivate just thinking of rum-coke, even if I’ve only had it once, but that one time was itself enough to knock the senses out of me. So did a single experience with Bailey’s Cream in my coffee. I may have Dad’s allergy: He would faint after taking any stimulants, even just coffee. He never smoked nor drank, and liked to brag he had no minor vices.
Rescue from yet another affliction has come from Grace, my sister-in-law in the United States. We both suffer from lactose intolerance. She has sent me Lactaid, chewable tablets that work as fast as lactase enzymes themselves, to be taken as late as the very moment you take your first bite, sip or lick of any dairy products. I can now indulge in lattes, milkshakes and ice cream. My last supply arrived perfectly timed for the opening of Baskin-Robbins in our neighborhood.
I’m still waiting for similar good news about sweet alcoholic drinks. Meanwhile, cheers!