I am still shocked by how well my cholesterol results came out this year.
Heart disease and high cholesterol runs in my family, but I refuse to be defined by my genes.
From my plant-based nutrition certification, I learned that we can completely transform our health and our genes with food.
This is a concept that a lot of doctors are finally applying in their practices. Often times though this is not the case, and I can’t tell you how many people I know who are on cholesterol medication but have never been referred to a registered dietitian to help them with their eating habits.
Luckily, there is a shift in the air and more people are becoming aware of how food is actually hurting us.
My journey started when I was 18 and my blood work showed my cholesterol was really high for my age. This was back when I was living in Venezuela and the doctor simply said that I should watch what I was eating and exercise more.
After other stomach related health issues I finally changed my lifestyle and diet, but as you can see in the picture below I was still struggling with high cholesterol, especially LDL (which is known to be the “bad cholesterol”) as having high levels of LDL can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries and lead to heart disease (according to the CDC website).
Surprisingly my primary care physician didn’t say anything when I got the call that my results were back and they were all normal. I always ask for a copy of my blood work to keep a record.
When I saw the numbers were higher than I would like, I started thinking about what I was eating.
I try to follow a plant-based diet for the most part, but I must admit I don’t always stick to it. I knew I wasn’t exercising much, but my weight was normal for my height and I felt good.
After taking a class with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn earlier this year, I realized that I needed to cut down on fats. My breakfasts were typically almond butter on toast with apples or bananas. I used to snack on carrots and hummus or some mixed nuts, and don’t even get me started with avocados.
Based on this new knowledge, I completely revamped my snacking and cooking habits.
I replaced cooking oil with homemade vegetable broth. I increased my awareness on how much fat I was eating, and 10 days before my blood work I completely eliminated all fats, including good ones like nuts and avocados.
The results speak for themselves:
I really thought my numbers would be in the upper 100’s (170-180), but seeing that 108 just filled my heart. I loved that this time the results were ready before I saw the doctor, so when she reviewed my blood test she said I was her best patient of the day, everything looked great.
I cut my LDL by more than half! (119 to 43), and my total cholesterol by almost half (204 to 108). I changed my eating and ran for 20 minutes twice a week.
Next week I will share all my lessons learned during those 10 days of preparation before my exam, so stay tuned.
Also, if you are struggling with getting your cholesterol numbers down and would like to discuss a more holistic approach to your eating habits please contact me here so we can talk about it.