Thursday, March 21, 2013

Not a Country for Fatties

Last week before we left, my father had his annual check up. Now that he's on the wrong side of 30, he gets a lot more tested than he used to including an EKG among "other" exams. We won't go into details, but suffice to say, that...

If you work for our current or any prospective health insurance carrier, then please stop reading immediately and hit Alt+F4 on your keyboard at the same time. Thanks! 

... his blood work could be better. His LDL and HDLs were within the recommended ranges (barely), but his Triglycerides were a tad high.

According to the internet, triglycerides are a type of fat. Normal triglyceride levels would be <150. My father was around 403. Before you start planning his funeral or buying him adult diapers, though, let's put that in perspective. High is considered 200-499. Very High is >500. So he's not THAT bad. Plus, he had a "light" lunch right before consisting of spiced salami slices and brie cheese on a baguette. Not exactly a yogurt and sliced fruit.

But nevertheless, he scored a 403 and raised the doctor's unibrow. On the bright side though, at least my father passed his rectal exam.

So anyway... the doctor highly recommended he change his unhealthy diet (and include more vegetables and fish), initiate a more regular exercise program (more than 1x every few months) and to come back in May for another test (after fasting for 8 hours before). My father agreed, but failed to mention that he was going on another vacation for 2 weeks to Argentina and Chile.

Since my family was going to be eating out consistently while on vacation, we looked up what foods to avoid when you have high triglycerides. According to (but can you really trust that site anymore?), people with high triglycerides ("Hi-Tries") should avoid the following food categories:

1. Alcohol
2. Food with high saturated fat (ie, red meat)
3. Food with high trans fat (ie, pastries, snack food, fried food)
4. Food with high carbs/sugar (ie, fruits, jellies, white bread, pasta, rice)
5. Food with high starch (ie, potatoes)

Now for those of you unfamiliar with Argentine cuisine, it starts and ends with red meat. The Argentine pampas (grasslands) are ideal for cattle raising and the country has become a huge exporter of beef. There is a parrilla (steakhouse) on almost every street corner in Buenos Aires.

In fact, in one blogger's Top 17 foods you must try in Argentina, top 4 items are nothing more than different red meat delivery mechanisms (steak, batter fried steak, sausage sandwich and a steak sandwich).

And for the vegetarians out there (don't worry, no one's perfect), the first non-meat item on the list is (carb heavy) pasta followed by pizza.

Additional Argentine delicacies are the empanadas (pastries filled with meat or cheese), the medialuna (a very sweet buttery croissant) and dulce de leche (sweetened caramalized milk jam).

And of course, Argentina is well known their red wines including their world class malbecs.

So guess what my father's first three meals were in Buenos Aires?

Tues Dinner - 1 medium rare ojo de bife (ribeye steak) at Campo Bravo (Honduras 5600 off Fitz Roy)

Wed Breakfast - Mixed fruit, medialunas and white toast covered with dulce de leche at the Own Hotel Palermo.

Wed Lunch - 1 medium rare colita de cuadril (rump steak) at Don Julio (Guatemala 4691 off Gurruchaga)

In case you're not as unhealthy as my father and you're going to be in Buenos Aires anytime soon, here's a map for the 2 excellent parrillas we've been to so far. Highly recommended. 2 baby thumbs up.

View Buenos Aires Restaurants in a larger map

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