Friday, December 14, 2012


     But first, a cycling update: not much.  There is too much holiday and catch-up preparation to be done during cycling hours, therefore cycling suffers.  It isn't like I'm totally estranged from my bike, but other things take priority.
     Anyhow, the diet.  I started the plant-based diet because of some plaque build-up and my cardiologist wanted my LDL cholesterol number to be below 70.  The statin wasn't getting the job done, even though the dosage quadrupled.  After reading How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Forks Over Knives, I decided to give the diet a try.  With the statin, I was told it took 3 months for a solid result to be established, therefore I determined I should give the diet 3 months to see what it could do.  Dr. Esselstyn indicated it would only take two weeks to see a positive result.
     So, 5 weeks of almost 100% adherence to the program seemed enough time to see if all the trouble was worth it.  I'll not keep you in suspense any longer: total cholesterol is 118 (my goal was under 140), with the LDL at 60 (a drop of 20 points, and 10 points lower than what my cardiologist wanted).
     I'm not scheduled for another heart scan for another two years, so we will wait to see what happens with the plaque.  According to Esselstyn, that should also go away.
     As for the diet, I haven't missed meat at all.  I miss cheese, but no longer crave it.  Silk is a fine substitute for milk, but manufacturers sneak dairy into so much stuff shopping is a full-time job since all labels must be read (and interpreted, since many creative names are used for milk products).  It is also more expensive.
Next post should have some cycling, if all goes as planned.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


     Actually, the stress comes from purchasing a new car.  Let's start at the beginning.  We are finally having some really great weather in which to cycle.  Unfortunately, it is coming when I'm doing other things, specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations.  Then comes the car thing.
     For the past twenty years, new car buying has not been bad; we just go down the the Mazda dealership, tell them what we want, and off we go.  Truely, the service keeps bringing us back.  This year, Mazda stopped offering the Tribute.  BTW, new car buying is linked to cycling in that I insist on having a vehicle my bike (s) will stand up in inside, with the front wheel removed.  Byran made a special rack for me.  Back to my whining.  Their replacement, the Mazda5, doesn't have enough height.  Neither does the bigger Mazda9.
     No problem, I figured.  Since the Ford Escape is the same vehicle, I could just buy the Ford.  Well, for 2013 Ford improved the Escape so much it no longer has sufficient height either.  Not only did they drop some height, but the rear seats don't fold flat, so it is about 4 inches shy of what I needed.
     The quest began in earnest.  First, I found out that mfg stats have little relation to real world when it comes to my requirements, so I had to physically visit car dealerships.  I'd get out with tape measure in hand, fending off the buzzing sales folks as much as possible.  Of course, most weren't desperate enough to waste time with a guy with a tape measure.  The upshot of this was I spent a lot of time car shopping instead of enjoying the super weather on my bike.
     Mini-vans were my fall-back third option.  My second option was the big SUVs, like the Tahoe or Denali.  Given next year's travel schedule, with lot's of drive time, the luxury of a big vehicle was high on my list.  However, with the one good deal on a Denali leading to a test drive, Marilane nixed that about 30 seconds into the ride.  It was quite noisy, and wasn't as cushy as we expected.
 But in the small SUV category, I found the Toyota Rav4 to be the only vehicle the bike fit in;both bikes if need be.  The test drive went well.  I wanted one with all the bells and whistles.  It took two dealerships and the sad realization that Toyota doesn't deal much.  This is a mixed blessing (curse), in that I hate to deal anyhow.  I did my internet research, got a good salesman recommendation, and on our second Toyota dealership found a match.
     Now I can get back to cycling (after planting the zillion tulips we bought in The Netherlands last year).