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By 11:00 AM , ,

Earlier this year, I had my blood checked for the very first time. Without going into the medical yada yada's, I was a tad on the high side in cholesterol levels. This is far from being a sexy topic, but your blood is the blueprint to your very being. And I realized that I must take care of things. Things were far from being dire yet, but I had to keep things in check. And that I did for the past year.

I willingly ate a lot of vegetables and fruits, as well as taking in fish oil and finally, trying not to eat too much meat. All of this was very easy, living in the land of good and plenty. If I lived anywhere else, it would have been a big ordeal. Plus I had a secret weapon.

Courtesy of NY Times food columnist, Mark Bittman, I prescribed to a healthy diet with very few rules & regulations. I'm going to spare the reader (and myself, because I get quite passionate about this book, and I'm not ready for that today) an extended summary. The simple mantra I did repeat to myself was "veg-based/whole grain diet until 6PM and then eat whatever after that". "Whatever" really can mean whatever. Bacon double-cheeseburger, or a chocolate cake for dinner. But truth be told, if you invest 2/3 of your day to eating well, you're likely to keep things a bit more civilized even in the final stretch. No matter what you do, if you're only doing it 30% of the day, it falls safely under moderation.

This month I slipped quite a bit, though. The week I got checked started out with a trip to Yountville, which I will post in a few days. If anybody knows the French Laundry repertoire, the 9-courses can feature every artery clogging speedster imaginable (but I wouldn't trade any of it for the world). Plus unexpected dining invitations of both work and social variety all throughout the month of November, officially rang the start of the busy dining season.

I was apprehensive to go through with the re-check, but these blood tests cost hundreds of dollars; so in order for them to be covered by insurance, I had to slide in by the end of the calendar year. And if I delay any further, my test results would most definitely be owned by the Holiday menu of shortbread, alcohol and ham. Pardon me, while I quickly defibrillate myself.

Well, I received my results last week. I couldn't believe it when I opened the envelope from my doctor's office. Her handwritten notes alongside the results read "good job!".

I confess I know nothing about the numbers on these tests. All I knew about was the good kind of cholesterol and the bad kind. I never cared enough to educate myself. But it's amazing what encouraging words will do to your curiosity. I read up on different cholesterol levels and while the bulk of my numbers hover relatively steady, the one with her rah-rah's next to it was my triglyceride level. It had dramatically reduced itself by 50%. I used to be normal to borderline, but now I was way below normal.

I'm ecstatic that I achieved this figure with what seems like minimal effort. Not to mention, I'm a big proponent of bending rules, so I know that I freestyled a lot on Mark's doctrine. But I'm more excited by how much healthier I could become with a lot more thought next year.

Let the Holidays begin.

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