Saturday, May 22, 2010

live healthy in Mexico

Living in Mexico has been good for me.

I lost 30 pounds.  I was walking.  I was eating fresh food -- lots of vegetables.

My blood pressure was down -- with the exception of one scary incident.

Other than that pesky broken right ankle, I returned to Oregon healthier than when I left.

My family doctor, who attended grade school and high school with me, is retiring at the end of this month.  Before he goes, he wanted to run some tests. 

When I left Oregon last year, I was diabetic and overweight with high cholesterol and stratospheric triglycerides. 

I saw him on Wednesday.  My cholesterol is good.  My triglycerides have been reduced by half.  My weight is up a bit due to my recent lack of exercise.  But, best of all, my glucose levels are normal.

My one concern is that I managed to get myself into bad numbers when I was living in Oregon.  It could happen again if I do not stick with the lessons I learned in Mexico.

Candy and snack foods are rare in my village.  They are plentiful at my workplace.  If I can stick to eating fresh food, I should be able to keep my numbers where they should be.

That is the good health news. 

There is one note of caution.

The swelling in my right leg appears to be related to a blood clot deep in my right calf.  That is not good. 

We all know clots wandering through the blood stream can be as unpredictable as a teenage boy with car keys and a bottle of whiskey.

I have now joined the Coumadin club.  Starting on Monday, I will periodically show up at my doctor's office to have my Warfrin level monitored.  For some reason, that makes me feel very old.

But, at least, I can still feel.

If I can survive the next three months of Coumadin, put physical therapy to good use for my right ankle, and stay away from chips and candy, I will be able to return to Mexico in good shape.  Or better shape than when I headed south in 2009.

And that will be good news.


Calypso said...

An important factor when comparing diets between Mexico and the U.S. is there is a lot more flavor and vitamins in the food south of the border. It is generally fresher and less 'treated'.

The fruits and vegetables are not as beautiful in Mexico but they sure taste better and are healthier.

When visiting the U.S. we feel like we are starving to death eating the available food.

Adrienne said...

Kudos, Steve, on the great accomplishments towards good health. I suspect your current/former co-workers may envy you - you can help them (and you in the long run) by taking a tray or bowl of fresh fruit to the next meeting. You know the saying, lead by example!


Joe S. said...

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation plus the the coum(arin)-derived suffix. WARFARIN. My advice is not to take up Cage Fighting at this time, however your intellgence and attention to detail and instructions (okay maybe not Zip-line instructions)should allow you to sail thru this therapy.

Ron said...

Congratulations on your health numbers!!

Good luck with the clot therapy


Leah Flinn said...

I have thinking a lot lately on the issue of diet between Mexico & US. I, like you, am much healthier in Mexico and know that it has to be linked to the food/lifestyle.

I have some other ideas too, that I will save for my own post. :-)

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

"If I can survive the next three months of Coumadin, put physical therapy to good use for my right ankle, and stay away from chips and candy, I will be able to return to Mexico in good shape.". . .

Just do it. It's a small tope on the careterra of life.


Brenda said...

Good luck with your clot busting. Take care and don't work too hard.

Felipe said...

Candy and snack foods are rare in your village? I´ve never heard of that kind of Mexican village.

Aside from that, I wish you a speedy return to better health.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- My experience with fresh vegetables and fruits in Mexico is mixed. Some are great. Others are tastless -- tomatoes being the best example. The big downside with Coumadin is the restriction on leafy greens. Not a well-timed retriction.

Adrienne -- Good idea. Unfortunately, until I get off of the crutches, I won't be carrying much into work.

Joe -- I am taking generic Warfarin. You may also be interested to know Rick switched me off of Toprol.

Ron -- Thanks.

Leah -- An idea saved is an idea earned.

Mexican Trailrunner -- I am starting to sound like a resident of a retirement home -- with all these medication tales.

Brenda -- I really need to relax at work. Too many things I simply cannot change. One thing I can change: getting back to Mexico.

Felipe -- I should have said snacks and candy I like. Almost all of the snacks have a lime and chili flavor. I am bored with them. As for candy, I eat only a few American varieties -- like spice drops. Nothing like that in Melaque. The town is awash in sweet goods, but none that I would eat.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the improvement in your health.

You may be interested in this video I plugged on Felipe's site. Sugar: The Bitter Truth, is a lecture by Robert Lustig, MD, Professor of Endocrinology at UC San Francisco. It's about 90 minutes, but fascinating. It explains how many of the health issues you've mentioned in your blog were likely brought on by sugar consumption.

Bottom line? Sugar, whether high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose (table sugar) is killing us. It's also basically the cause of metabolic disorder. It is a slow-acting toxin, which you'll understand if you watch the video.

You can find it here:

Even though I didn't eat a lot of sugar before, I have tried to cut my sugar WAY back since watching it. Unfortunately, we all have a strong desire for sugar, and as a result, it's in all kinds of stuff. Hard to avoid. But ultimately worth it.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where upon moving from California, we were appalled at the quality of fruits and vegetables here.

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- I do not have much of a sweet tooth, and I try to avoid prepared food with sugar. (Bottled spaghetti sauce is a huge offender.) But I do have a grease tooth, and that has taken its own toll.