Yesterday I went to the doctor for my physical. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that when I went in for a checkup a month and a half ago, my blood pressure was sky-high. Luckily, I’ve been able to keep it under control by getting to the doctor’s office early. That way, I’m not rushing and worrying. Silly, isn’t it? The good news is that the blood pressure seems to be a controllable issue – and one that’s situational, not chronic (at least at this point; my grandmother, whom I take after in many ways, had high blood pressure starting in her thirties).
There was one problem, though. I, of course, had forgotten. But evidently high cholesterol is a genetic problem in my family as well (same side of the family, but the uber-healthy and slender grandfather this time… go figure). My mom’s got it and was finally put on medication in her late 50s. While in her 30s, she said, she managed it with Niacin. I’d rather try to manage it with diet, so I did a little research yesterday.
The things that are supposed to be good for lowering cholesterol (aside from a low-cholesterol diet and a good amount of exercise) are: whole grains (specifically oats), garlic, soy, fish (specifically those high in Omega-3s like salmon and tuna), olive oil, nuts and nut oils (specifically walnuts), apples, and grapes. They also say to eat a lot of veggies. There may be others; this was from a couple of lists I found online yesterday.
Anyway, seeing this list made me really contemplate how I’ve been eating. I’ll admit it hasn’t been great. A lot of late nights have led to a lot of exhaustion and apathy for cooking (even though it’s one of my favorite pasttimes) and I’ve just been really blah. Stress + unexpected problems + not sleeping well (which is probably a result of the last two) has made my body really run down. In other words, I haven’t been in any mood to be healthy.
I’ve been trying, lately, to at least be more active. Last week when I had the day off for doctor’s tests, I took a nice mile-or-so walk just to wake up. Today, I’m bringing my running shoes to work (no, I don’t run and I never will; but a lunchtime walk sounds pretty nice). But I know I need a positive change in my eating habits (which have consisted lately of a lot of takeout). So here’s a start. It’s a recipe I threw together last night in my head. We served the fish with brown rice and veggies (snap peas and yellow peppers) sauteed until they were just barely cooked in garlic and olive oil. You could, of course, use tuna or another fish you prefer, or even shrimp or chicken or steak. But I was aiming for the highest health benefit!
Salmon with Soy and Ginger Glaze
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce (the other has too much sodium)
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger (you could also throw in some dry ginger, but this will definitely taste better; if you don’t want to buy and mince your own ginger root, you can buy a small jar in the grocery store that will last you forever)
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (I suppose you could use apple cider vinegar for the health benefits, but I didn’t have any on hand and I’m not a particular fan of the taste)
- 2 tbsp water
- Mix together soy sauce, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, brown sugar, and mustard in a shallow pan or bowl.
- Dip cut pieces of salmon (I bought a one-pound fillet and quartered it; you could also cut two chicken breasts into thin slices, etc.) into glaze. Be sure to cover both sides. Set aside and reserve glaze.
- In a sautee pan, heat a small amount of olive oil on medium heat until shimmery. Place salmon, skin side up, in pan.
- Cook salmon to desired doneness (I like mine rare) and flip. Go ahead and leave the skin on; it will peel right off once it’s cooked.
- Remove salmon from pan and set aside.
- Add glaze to pan with vinegar and water. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Serve over fish.