So, yesterday I had a doctor's appointment. It was my annual physical, a few months overdue. My last physical, while I was still unemployed, was also way overdue, but now that I have good health insurance and a flexible job (i.e., one that doesn't nitpick hours if you have an appointment), it's a no-brainer to keep up that schedule. But I got a bit delayed. In the year-plus since my last appointment, I started on cholesterol medicine and a second reflux medicine. I've also put on a few pounds. The low dose of cholesterol medicine worked wonders for me, though my triglycerides are still high. I tried to wean myself off the second reflux medicine because of some recent bad press, but that was a fail. I should be working out more, but life is busy. However, I am finally in the process of ordering our elliptical, thanks to an awesome discount program I found through work. So hopefully that will help with the weight issue.
Regardless, I knew I'd have a lecture coming. I like my doctor--she's young and doesn't rush you--but she can be tough. Last year she challenged me to improve my diet rather than just rely on the cholesterol medicine. I still believe that I could eat salads every day and have high cholesterol, thanks to some pretty awful genes in the heart health area (open heart for my dad, three heart attacks for my grandfather on my mom's side, and I believe a minor heart attack for my grandma on my dad's side shortly before she passed away; not to mention high cholesterol all around). Is there more I could do? Probably. But do I want to live a life without pizza, french fries, or burgers? Not really. I can absolutely work on my diet, but I really don't want to have to give things up completely. I already have to deal with the limitations involved in Jacob's diet, so it's hard to envision giving up other things I love completely.
Part of the issue is that I have two kids and a husband that are not veggie fans. Carter likes raw carrots, Jacob likes cucumbers and colored peppers, and Jacob and Craig will both eat broccoli. Corn is also usually eaten without a lot of complaint. Jacob likes my breaded zucchini fries, and I think I even got him to eat sweet potato fries, but beyond that veggies are a challenge. Craig takes prepackaged salads for lunch, and we do eat Buffalo chicken salads for dinner once in a while. But it's mostly just iceberg lettuce, cheese, croutons, and chicken, which isn't that great. I'll give Carter carrots, and if I have cukes I can give those to Jacob to up the nutritional value. But my dream of veggie stir-frys and roasted veggie sides just doesn't happen because I get those looks of disgust and refusals to try anything.
So as my doctor was giving me the guilt trip for eating anything that does not resemble a vegetable, I was sitting there thinking, "Sorry, I cannot make multiple meals for everyone." "I cannot force the veggies down their throats." "I do not crave salad in the winter." "I do not have hours to make my lunch or cook dinner." She was basically anti-processed foods, anti-meat, anti-dairy, and anti-anything that's not a veggie. She talked about ice cream being a problem, Gatorade (which I cringe about every time Jacob drinks one), and any meat--even chicken. But what totally threw me was when she said, "It was hard, but I finally got my kids off the cheese sticks." Meanwhile I'm thinking, "Geez, that's one of the healthier snacks/sides my kids eat!" I understand there's cholesterol and fat there, but there's also calcium. The way she talked about the string cheese, with such disdain, blew my mind a bit.
But here's the thing. Number one: My kids' doctor is thrilled with where they are. She has had no qualms with their diet. Number two: My kids are freaking skinny. I can count ribs and vertebrae. That is not for lack of trying when it comes to food. Heck, half the time Carter is a bottomless pit. And yet both of my kids have nearly zero fat. Craig and I were skinny kids, so it's not surprising. It's just how they are. Heck, we had a doctor (the pulmonary specialist they both saw) who suggested adding butter to veggies and using cream in their foods, just to get them higher on the curve. If my kids ate a veggie-based diet, they would not have any calories to burn! Number three: She's a grown-up doctor, not a pediatrician. She can say what she wants about me, but unsolicited advice about the kids? Nah.
The whole thing was just a little odd. I will take a balanced diet for my kids any day. Yes, I would love them to eat more veggies, but it's a work in progress. I need to be more intentional about buying and serving the veggies they like in new and different ways, but I don't see a vegan diet in our future anytime soon! I will be working harder at getting myself healthier regardless, most of all in exactly three weeks when our elliptical is supposed to arrive. And now that I'm through the gluttonous countdown to the end of the fiscal year (complete with a free buffet across four food trucks today--poutine and Buffalo mac and cheese--yum!), I can start moving in that direction. Well, maybe after tomorrow's anniversary lunch and possible family picnicking this weekend! But we'll get there!
But the cheese sticks stay.