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A Low-Carb Friendly Military Healthcare Provider – Really?

English: Blood pressure measurement.

English: Blood pressure measurement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago, I scheduled an appointment at the clinic of our new duty station to get some blood work drawn, mainly to have a baseline to measure my progress for next year’s low-carb cruise.  I was so inspired by the success stories of this last cruise, that I made a promise to myself to make this year count.  I was particularly inspired by the stories of Andrew DiMino from Carbsmart, Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan, Susan Winkler, Kent Altena, Kim Eidson, and Vanessa Romero, just to name a few.  With all this motivation, this is definitely the year to get healthy!

At first, I was worried about the reaction of my new doctor, because every time I went to see one at the military clinic at our last duty station, which was usually a different physician each time, and mentioned that I was eating low-carb, they were appalled that I did not eat any HEART-HEALTHY GRAINS and that I ate SATURATED FAT.  Of course, they told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy.  At that time I didn’t have any ammo to counter with yet.  But this time would be different!

Before my appointment, I made sure to do my homework.  I asked my new expert buddies at the Low-Carb Cruise Facebook Group, which additional blood tests I should get done, and made my list:

  Standard tests
  Full Panel Thyroid
  LDL Particle Size
  A1C
  Vitamin D Level

 I also played out in my mind what I’d say to the doctor, when the low-carb thing would come up.  None of my previous physicians were open to this lifestyle, so I wanted to be ready.  Some things I wanted to say were:

  I eat more veggies than ever in my life.  What’s wrong with that?
  Isn’t this how diabetics should eat?
  Isn’t this how food addicts in recovery eat?  Nobody says that that’s unhealthy.  Why can’t I?

So, confident that I was ready for my appointment, I drove to the post hospital, ready for battle, if the need would arise.

At the clinic, a Red Cross volunteer took my vital signs.  I was shocked that my blood pressure was 154/105.  What?  It’s never been that high!  Yes, I had high blood pressure for years around 145/95, which was easily controlled by meds.  Then, after I lost some weight by eating low-carb, I stayed off my low-dose HCTZ and monitored my blood pressure, which was usually fine.  When I returned from the cruise, it was still normal for a few days, then shot up to the 150s/90s and I thought my machine at home was broken.  Since I had no way to test it, I just waited a few days for my appointment to verify that my blood pressure machine indeed went belly-up.  But I was wrong.  We checked twice.  Yep, I was really up there.

The volunteer then told me that my physician assistant will be with me shortly and left the room.  What?  I’m seeing a PA?  Nothing against PAs, but I really expected a doctor.  Oh well, nothing I could do at that point.

A few minutes later, the PA came in.  After some small-talk, she asked me why I was here.  I told her that I’m due for a physical and that I just came off the Low-Carb Cruise with a lot of experts and that I wanted some blood work done, so I can compare results right before the next cruise.  She nodded and got her pen ready:  “What tests do you want?”

Really?  No push-back?  I like that lady!!!  So, I rattled off my list to her.  She repeated the tests to me to make sure she got them all, did a quick physical and then we discussed the blood pressure issue.  She thinks that it could be the altitude, since I just came from a week at sea-level back to Colorado at 6200 feet.  She wants me to come back in two weeks for a follow-up and to see if my pressure goes back down.  We’ll then discuss my test results and if I need to get back on blood pressure meds.  As I went down to the lab, I was still amazed about my PA’s reaction, or non-reaction.  That was easy!

Update:  Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from the nurse.  My PA wants me to come in sooner to discuss my thyroid test results.  Great, now I have to wait until Tuesday to find out what’s off on my results…

To be continued…

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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Low-Carb Cruise, Low-Carb Diet

 

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Burger King’s Low-Carb Whopper Review

Yesterday evening after work, I had dinner at Burger King on our military installation before going to the movies.  I had to eat something substantial, or I would’ve caved in to the seducing aroma of movie popcorn – of course, drenched in butter and a bit of popcorn salt on top.  In my opinion, that’s the ONLY way to REALLY enjoy popcorn.  Yet, it’s still a No-Go for me, as I can eat almost an entire bag on my own.  Can you say CARB-CITY?  I just don’t want to ruin the progress I’ve made in my health so far.

The Old Way: Since starting on Atkins, I’ve eaten at Burger King a few times for lunch.  Normally, I order a double whopper with cheese, leave off ketchup (and pickles – just because I don’t like them), and buy a bottle of water, since the German diet cokes are way too sweet of my taste.  If I must have some soda, I just grab a small bottle of American diet coke in the PX next door before I get  my lunch at the food court.   When I sit down to eat my burger, I just toss the bun to the side and eat the burger with a fork and knife.  I’ve gotten some odd looks here and there, but I ignore those… heck, I’d probably do a double-take, too, if I’d seen someone eat a burger with a fork & knife.

My Find – The LC Double Whopper: So, yesterday when I went to BK, the manager was working at the register.  What a great opportunity to ask about this low-carb burger they had advertised when I arrived in Germany a year ago.  “Can I help you?”, he asked.

“Yes, do you still have these low-carb burgers you were selling a few months ago?”

He punched a few buttons on his register. “Let me see if we still have it listed in here.  Ah, there it is!  Yes, I can still get that for you.”

“Yay! I want one, please!”

He punched some more buttons.  “Would you like this to be a double whopper with cheese?”

“Sure,” I answered, “no ketchup, no pickles.”

“No problem.”, he said. “It doesn’t come with mayo, as it gets messy, but I can give you a packet, if you like.”

“Sure.”

I paid for my burger and small bottle of water and patiently waited for my low-carb whopper.  I expected a little confusion from the kitchen area, since I’m probably the only person in the last 6 months who ordered one of those things.  Sure enough, a head poked out from behind the warmer.  “Dave, what’s a lc double whopper?”  So the manager gave the guys in the back a quick crash-course on how to put together my low-carb burger.

My number was called 3 minutes later and my lc whopper was presented in a little salad bowl with a lid.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I sat down and opened the lid.  At first glance it looked like a salad, but yes, I found the meat on the bottom as I poked my fork into the veggies.  I squirted some mayo on top and I was ready to eat.

Culinary Delight: The first thing I noticed was that it was a little bit difficult to cut, since it was in a rounded container, but I didn’t mind that too much, because it was presented very well and people don’t stare at you, since it looks like you’re eating a salad.  Loved the tasted, too!  You have your meat to fill you up, the crunch of the veggies, and the creaminess of the cheese and mayo.  Once I was done with my burger, I was pleasantly full and was able to go to the theater without being tempted to eat popcorn.  I didn’t even miss it while watching the movie.

Toss the Bun vs. LC Whopper: I think, I prefer getting the low-carb burger instead of performing surgery at the table on a normal whopper.  Maybe they have a flat plate next time instead of the bowl that I can eat out of… Hey, have it your way, right?

One final thought on BK fries: The funny thing is, I used to be a french fry addict, but I can leave them now – they don’t have the power they used to have over me.  Sure, I’d love to eat them, but sometimes, when I’m out with my family, I’ll sneak just one for the flavor off of their plate and while I’m sitting there chewing it, I realize, that they don’t really taste as good as I remembered them.  Weird…

 

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2010 in Low-Carb Diet, Reviews

 

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Sorry, can’t eat that!

Pasta is a feature of the Argentine cuisine

Pasta is a feature of the Argentine cuisine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you tell well-meaning people who offer you things that you can’t eat on your low-carb diet?  I’ve been on Atkins almost 2 months and I have people at work and in our little village offering things to me that I can’t eat.  Countless times I had to say “No thanks” to some wonderful things like black forest cherry cake, breaded chicken wings, french fries…etc, you get the point.

I’m starting to feel bad when I have to turn stuff down from my neighbors.  On Tuesday, we were invited to stop by for my neighbor’s birthday after work.  I was already starting to make dinner before walking over, but they said they had cooked for us and the other guests (must be a German thing) were waiting on us.  Just to be on the safe side, I ate a slice of salami before I left.  We walked to their house and a big table was set with family greeting us.  Then I saw a huge pot of spaghetti and tomato sauce sit on the table.

My first thought was: “Oh, oh.  How am I going to say no?”  So I just got it over with.  I nudged my neighbor and told her that I have to pass on dinner, but not to worry, I’d be fine.  Of course, her daughters, who are nurses, heard the conversation and started grilling me.  So I told them that I have to get my blood pressure down or I will have to be on medication again.  After a few minutes, the conversation was over.  I still felt a little awkward by not eating, but was really okay food-wise.

Later on everybody ate some cake.  I know I had to shoot it down as well, but I asked my hubby for a small bite just for a taste.  It was wonderful and I showered my neighbor with compliments!  This one bite was all I really needed, because the first bite is always the best anyway.  We still sat around and talked for a little while before going home.  What a nice evening!

Sometimes I get a little nervous when making special requests or when denying food that’s not good for me, but I’m getting used to it.  When I’m really hungry and we’re in town and food is not readily available, we stop at the Doener booth and get a Doener (like a gyros with a little spice and cabbage) and hubby eats the pita.  Or, like today, we walked by a bratwurst booth on a street fest and I ordered 2 little brats without the bun.  I told the guy at the grill that I cannot eat the bun and he was happy to put the brats in some foil.

So, trust me, it gets easier as you go along.  People may look at you funny if you eat your burger without a bun, but you’ll be the one not on meds or not having the weight issues anymore just a bit down the road.  I keep telling myself, that ultimately, I have to take care of myself.  Nobody can do that for me.  So, most of the time when people offer me some food I can’t eat, a little “no thanks” will do.

Other responses that worked for me are “Thank you, I’d love to but…

  • I’m still full from breakfast (lunch…)
  • I cannot have this (…for medical reasons).
  • Bread (flour, sugar) gives me a belly ache (or bad gas…hahaha – they’ll definitely leave you alone then).
  • I brought my lunch.
  • I already ate

“I’m on a diet” seems not to work out too well, because people still try to talk you into trying their goodies anyway, so I don’t really use that one.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to keep people from pushing some food on you that you don’t want.

Until the next entry,

Nickie

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2010 in Low-Carb Diet

 

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Eating Out Low-Carb in Germany

We are living in a small German town and you can count the area restaurants on your fingers.  Since the kids were out-of-town, we decided to try this more expensive restaurant in town that we haven’t been to before.  It was gorgeous inside with old pictures of the place from way back when – talking about black & white pictures with horses still pulling carts.  It was a really cozy little place.  We had nice deer-place mats in front of us made of a thick felt and the brown metal napkin rings had a little deer poking out at an angle – dang, I wish I took my camera.

The waitress came with the menu, and I ordered a hot tea, since we got a good bit of snow again over night.  As I opened the menu and read through my choices.  I started to get a bit worried, because most of what I saw had Spaetzle, Dumplings, fruit sauces and all kinds of carby stuff with it.  But then I found a dish of roast in a mustard coating on cabbage with home fried potatoes.  That was a definite option, I just had to do something about the potatoes.  I asked the waitress if I could have broccoli on the side (saw it on the meal above), since I cannot have potatoes.  ” No problem at all!”  she answered.  Hey, that was easy!  Because I’ve been to a bistro-style place a few weeks ago, where they would not swap anything for the fries, so I stole one and gave the rest to hubby.  But this time, I figured, if they charge that much money, they have a decent cook who is willing to accommodate his guests.

Oh, my gosh, the food was soooo yummy!  The meat was tender and the veggies soft and buttery.  Oooh, to die for!  When I was finished, I had the waitress pack the rest of the veggies to take home so I can have some for lunch again today.  We did pay a pretty penny to eat there, 31 Euros for the two of us, but it was well worth it!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2010 in Low-Carb Diet

 

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Review: Sugar-Free *Schaumkuesse* Chocolate Marshmallows

Zucker LightOn day 12 of my induction, I had a huge craving for something sweet – probably because I’ve been reading about candy substitutes on low-carb forums.  Go figure…  So I went off to some of the local grocery stores here in Germany, and scoured the candy & diabetic isles for some sugar-free goodies to enjoy.  The diabetic sweets were useless, because apparently, they are all sweetened with fructose – I’ll have to check my books, but to my understanding, fructose cannot be good for a diabetic…

At the Penny’s store I finally found some sugar-free “Schaumkuesse” (to be politically correct).  Those are the little chocolate covered marshmallow thingies sitting on a little waffle.  Well, I took them home and ate 3 little ones of them (without the waffle part).  Yes, they didn’t have sugar, but they did have sugar alcohols in them.

I should’ve known better….

  1. 10 years ago when I did a short stint of Atkins, I tried eating protein bars (which are full of sugar alcohols).  If I ate more than 1/2 a bar, I had to find a bathroom – quickly!!!  Those little suckers went straight through me…sorry for the bluntness.  Yes, I’m one of the few people who don’t do well with sugar alcohols.
  2. An hour after I gobbled down those 3 yummy goodies, I found myself at a company promotion ceremony.  Suddenly, my belly started rumbling, and I knew I was in trouble.  I all but ran to find the nearest bathroom….and made it…last second….

Lesson learned – I have to keep away from sugar alcohols!  Gotta eat whole foods!!!

Nevertheless, you may be able to tolerate them.  And if you’re looking for them, Penny’s has them next to the regular boxes of Schaumkuesse in the candy section.  They did taste really good!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2010 in Low-Carb Diet, Reviews

 

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