Reduce your Cholesterol? Nuts to you!

I’m of the opinion that we’re victims of the pharmaceutical industry and their ever-present drugs. The world revolves around pills and quick solutions, and I believe there are scare tactics in place to keep us in line. I’m not so bold as to say you don’t need the medication. When my physician prescribes medicine, I take it. Same as the next guy because I’m afraid the “condition” could cause irreparable damage. So recently when I was told my blood pressure is high, my LDL is high, and the glaucoma pressures are off the charts I filled the Rx and took the pills. Then I began my research.

Checking online with the My Chart feature my doctor’s office offers I found the report of my blood work. Initial results show everything is down to acceptable, actually good levels in some instances. That’s for the medicated Karen’s blood. I’m irritated. With myself and with medicine. I don’t like this approach. I would rather take care of it with diet and exercise. Don’t talk about the genetic factors….I am doing this with the premise that I can handle it this way. It’s an experiment. My physician commented only on the high cholesterol. What he failed to point out is that it wasn’t very high. Instead I got a form letter telling me to lose weight, exercise and eat less saturated fat. I wanted to ask him, “Do you know what I do for a living?” I nearly spit I was so angry, but poor guy it’s all they teach in medical school at this point. It’s all he can say and do. I’m sharing my results below.

Component Your Value Standard Range Units
Cholesterol 221 100 – 199 mg/dL
Triglycerides 69 0 – 149 mg/dL
Chol HDL 70 >39 mg/dL
According to ATP-III Guidelines, HDL-C >59 mg/dL is considered a negative risk factor for CHD.
VLDL Calc 14 5 – 40 mg/dL
LDL calc 137 0 – 99 mg/dL
Ancillary determined the test is not needed

Don’t get me wrong. I do respect my doctor. It’s medicine that frustrates me. My plan is to make the changes I need — and worrying about decreasing my saturated fat isn’t one of them. For any of you who follow this website you know I’ve lost about 100 pounds, I exercise regularly and I monitor my diet. So here’s what I believe will help.

The Plan

1. Stay away from all processed foods. I know it’s nice to have things ready to serve, but fresh is better. I’ll admit I do some short cut cooking from time to time. That’s over.

2. Adding more fiber to my diet. Well, I don’t eat grains. I cannot handle grains in my digestive tract so I don’t eat them. I will make sure I use psyllium regularly to add the fiber to my diet that I don’t get from grains and the vegetables I eat.

Hank3. I’ll start walking daily again. I used to walk my dogs Belle, Java, Tanner, Jewel and Hank. Only Hank remains and he will be 15 on April 7th. He doesn’t do well on a walk. His shoulders are arthritic and he limps for days afterward. Up until a year ago we walked 7 days a week. I need to get back to that sins Sir Henry. I’m very active at work with training people and moving and lifting weights. I do Pilates four times a week. I may increase my weight lifting, but I have found that injuries haunt me if I pick it up too much. (Old bodybuilder/power lifter body) Remember ZWL is a mindful, livable approach to fitness. Too much is not good. So, I approach with mindfulness.

4. Eating more monounsaturated fats. Coconut oil, olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts (walnuts seem to be best) and seeds, and finally fish especially salmon (because the other kinds like halibut and herring are too disgusting to think about eating). This doesn’t give me permission to go overboard and eat in excess. Moderation is always the key.

5. I honestly do not believe that saturated fat is the big bad ugly fat in this picture. I believe it leads to increased weight gain, but studies that say sat fat is the cause of heart disease (which high cholesterol is directly connected to) are not  substantiated. I dug this article out of the archives of the New York Times, What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie? Read it and weep — but get the whole picture before you load up on bacon. I do believe I can monitor my protein consumption and perhaps reduce the cheese I eat regularly, but if I change too much I won’t be able to tell what made the difference. So, for now I will keep eating the moderate amounts of cheese I’ve been eating along with meat.

I’ll give it a month and test these levels again. Then make adjustments from there. Eventually, I would like to see the Cholesterol come down to 150, my LDL come down to 70, and the triglycerides and HDL stay relatively where they are. They seem just fine. This might be a reach, but I had to pick a number. Once that happens my plan of attack is to approach my doctor to see if I can reduce or stop the medication. We shall see. As I said, this is an experiment. I’ll keep you posted.

Be Well!

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