Before we get into the big job of interpreting cholesterol numbers, let’s review what cholesterol actually is.
Cholesterol is cholesterol: a waxy steroid of fat that serves as an essential structural component of cellular membranes and in the production of steroid hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids. Contrary to what the terminology indicates, there’s actually only one “type” of cholesterol in the human body, and it’s called, quite simply, cholesterol. What we think of when we use the word “cholesterol” is actually a lipoprotein – a fatty conglomerate of protein and lipids that delivers cholesterol and fat and fat-soluble nutrients to different parts of the body. It’s not just free cholesterol floating around in your blood; it’s cholesterol bound up by lipoproteins.
Put down your rib-eyes, don’t thaw those chicken legs just yet, and step away from the pot roast. Don’t get me wrong – those are fine examples of animal muscle meat. Delicious, even. But they’re not all that we should be eating. Not by a long shot. Allow me to explain.
The other day, I received an enthusiastic email from a reader who’d just returned home from the grocery store with a sack of smoked turkey tails. Thanks to a little holiday called Thanksgiving, meat counters across the country are inundated with turkey parts: gizzards, livers, hearts, necks, backs, and tails. Most consumers rarely think of using turkey other than as a “healthy” replacement for ground beef or during Thanksgiving. But not our reader. No, he filled his freezer with smoked turkey tails and the whole experience apparently inspired him, because he wrote to tell me that maybe if I wrote a post extolling the benefits of all the “odd bits” of the animals you eat, other readers would also discover a whole new culinary world.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another round of Dear Mark questions and answers. This week I’m answering four reader inquiries. First, I discuss the suitability of tanning beds, and try to give the best answer I can muster given the lack of hard evidence either way. Next, I cover whether or not a guy should definitely eat breakfast. Dr. Jack Kruse’s leptin protocol, which prescribes eating a high protein breakfast upon waking, is getting pretty popular and having some incredible results, but is it necessary for everyone? Then I field a question about cooking with essential oils. They may not be the powerful healing agents promised by aromatherapy, but can they replace dry and fresh herbs and spices? Looks like it (maybe). And then I give a quick response about glycerol-bound stevia versus powdered stevia. All in all, a nice little selection of questions, I think.
Let’s dig in:
Why letting a fever run its course might be the best plan of action when you get one: elevated body temperatures (fevers) make certain immune cells work better.
The NY Times beats a drum that we’ve been pounding for years – the drum that, when struck, sounds remarkably like “feeding your kids sugar-encrusted cereal is a lot like giving them cookies for breakfast.”
Wired reports how and why sugar makes us sleepy and protein wakes us up.
Prime rib is a cut of meat that’s perfect for special occasion feasts in more ways than one. Served in supple, thick slices that are marbled with fat, it’s a decadent and impressive main course. Prime rib is also really easy to prepare, which means you can “wow” your guests and still enjoy the party. They don’t need to know you only spent about five minutes prepping the meat before shoving the roast in the oven and letting it do its thing.
Letting a standing prime rib roast do its thing means you season it with simple spices and then mostly get out of the way. The fat covering the top of the roast will melt slowly as the meat cooks, keeping it moist and the ripples of fat within will give the meat tons of flavor. Your job is to adjust the oven temp so the outside gets crispy and the inside stays pink and to stab the meat every once in awhile with a meat thermometer so you know when to pull it out.
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