Thursday, October 25, 2007

Damn the Drugs,Pass the Carrots!

I was more than surprised. Pleasantly shocked better describes it.

I have an appointment with a cardiologist in January -- the same cardiologist who wanted to prescribe a statin to lower cholesterol. My goal -- not his -- has been to lower my LDL from 123 to less than 100 without resorting to drugs. Honestly, I don't know what's motivating me most -- a desire to improve my health or a desire to one-up the doctor and the drug companites. Since July I've been making life style changes. I decided to get a test in mid-October and, based on the results, make more changes to isure I'm below 100 LDL in January.

I got the the results today:
  • Total Cholesterol: 110 - down from 182
  • HDL: 37 - down from 44
  • Triglycerides: 73 - down from 88
  • LDL: 61 - down from 123
  • HDL Percentage: 34 - up from 24
  • Weight: 188 - down from 207
  • BMI: 23.5 - down from 25.9
This calls for a celebration! I wanted to buy a half-gallon of ice cream but Julie objected -- even when I offered to buy her one also.

How did I do it? I didn't do it myself; we did it.

Julie and I changed our eating habits. We read books, did research on the web, scheduled an appointment with a nutritionist, removed all processed foods from the pantry, made a commitment to read nutrition labels and became borderline vegetarians.

I haven't dieted. I haven't been hungry. It was simply a matter of avoiding foods from animals with the exception of Salmon and other cold-water fish, eliminate processed foods, increase foods high in Omega-3s, limit saturated fat to 12 grams per day, add foods that lower LDL such as flax seed, almonds, walnuts. Just the stuff we all know -- fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Trying new foods and new recipes with Julie has been enjoyable. Eating out has been a little challenging but not impossible.

I phoned a doctor today and asked about the low HDL figure of 37. HDL should be over 45. I don't think the level is as important as the ratio and wanted confirmation. He said there are drugs that can raise HDL! Drugs!!??

Tomorrow, I'll start researching natural life style changes that improve HDL levels.

8 Comments:

Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The word, irony, comes to mind.

10/26/2007 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger THE Michael said...

Does instant karma come in a pill, or is that a powder?

10/26/2007 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger Mysti said...

Fantastic Paul! I have noticed a change just in the way I feel since cutting out dairy 4 months ago. We cut out processed foods and fast foods several years ago.. I still eat meat but more chicken and fish. But since dairy is so high in saturated fat, that alone should make a big difference. I don't blame Julie for saying no to the ice cream. =)Keep it up and big pats on the back!

10/26/2007 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger SimplyTim said...

Paul,

Good for you. At the level of your TCL/HDL ratio, the atherosclerotic process is being reversed.

I am very curious what you find out about the non-pharmacological means of increasing HDL.

Tim

10/26/2007 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

Outstandint!

10/26/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

I don't know if you're a drinker or not, and I'm not suggesting you start if there are any dependency concerns, but alcohol does help raise HDL.

Good job on the lifestyle change! I used to be a huge ice cream addict but now it's just too sweet and rich for me.

10/30/2007 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger mk99 said...

Alcohol does help, especially wine. Or you can use grapeseed oil extract supplements. You can also cook with grapeseed oil - it is all the same ingredient providing the benefit.

Kudos to you!

11/01/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Malcolm said...

Impressive results so far and, wishing you every success in the HDL boosting quest.

I always get puzzled about the balance between HDL and LDL, even doctors in the same practise seemed to disagree about mine, one suggesting my cholestrol levels needed some attention another that the balance was right. Fish, chicken, wholegrains etc are a significant part of my diet and, if deb and mk99 are right my moderate wine consumption must be helping!

11/02/2007 12:57:00 PM  

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