I am so excited right now – I have been running around my office trying to find victims to brag to…..MY CHOLESTEROL IS NORMAL! Perhaps I should give some history..
I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol at age 15. I am South African and Afrikaans – this is a population group in South Africa of Dutch descent. It was noted in South Africa that an unusually high number of Afrikaans people suffer with unusually high cholesterol levels and this was traced back to a genetic defect that entered the South African population from two Dutch settlers who came to Cape Town, South Africa a few centuries ago. Most of my family members struggle with cholesterol themselves and have had to be on medication to lower their cholesterol for many years. I too seem to have inherited this defect as I developed high blood pressure and high cholesterol in my teenage years. Initially it was just monitored, but by 20 years of age, I started treatment for both blood pressure and cholesterol.
I developed an interest in fitness and exercise in order to lose weight about 3 years ago. It didn’t do much for my weight, but I became addicted to exercise – I love the endorphin rush after a long run or a high intensity interval training session. With all the exercise, my resting heart rate dropped to 48 and I got off my blood pressure medication. My blood pressure is about 110/70 now without any treatment. But I digress…
Getting back to cholesterol….I went vegetarian last year February and decided to take a 3 month trial off my cholesterol medication to see what effect it would have. I also cut down significantly on saturated fat intake in the form of fried foods. To my dismay, after 3 months off the medication, my cholesterol soared again! All sad, I put my tail between my legs and restarted my cholesterol pills. I went vegan in June last year and since August, I have tried to live a completely clean lifestyle. By this I mean as little processed food as possible, sugar free 90% of the time and no fried foods. As much olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil and nut butters as my heart desires, but no margarines, vegan butters or fried foods. I have fried chips about once a month at a restaurant and that is it. This is pretty much the lifestyle advocated by Ella Woodward, Kris Carr and the one ingredient chef. I still have dessert daily and eat loads of chocolate – but none of it contains unhealthy fats.
My good cholesterol is VERY good. My bad cholesterol is perfectly in the normal range.
I still can’t believe it – I thought I would need to be on medication for life due to my genetics…A plant-based diet is actually all I needed:) I wish they would teach this in medical school!
I am not writing this to encourage anyone to stop their cholesterol medication. I am writing this to encourage people to try a plant-based diet in order to see what benefits it may have for your body. Perhaps you will never need cholesterol medication anyway, or perhaps you will still need cholesterol medication despite a plant-based diet, but the fact is, a plant-based diet will help you achieve a level of health that you never thought was possible. Whether it is your insulin resistance that improves or your period pain that vanishes or your migraines that ease up or your arthritis that lifts – either way – a plant-based diet is the way to go.
Give it a shot!