How I Lowered My Cholesterol, Weight, and Blood Pressure All At Once
I thought that I would post something on a success at reducing my cholesterol since it was such a breakthrough for me. About 10 years ago my physician said my overall cholesterol was 240 which was too high, and that I should begin taking a statin drug to lower it. I resisted for three years and then in 2004 I gave in, fearing the risk of a heart attack or worse would befall me in the future. However, always in the back of my mind I wanted to get off of those statin medicines that are bad for your liver, stomach, and muscles.
Well, in 2011, I got my wish, in the form of a combination of biking, change of diet, and otherwise different outlook on life. I began riding the bike(s) again, up to an hour a day, regardless of the weather or how tired I was. I began following a dietary plan that was influenced by what my co-worker had shown me to be healthy, and it has worked out to be very successful. My weight dropped 30 pounds in less than a year, my blood pressure went down to 109 over 70, and my cholesterol dropped to 160 without taking any cholesterol lowering medicine.
Exercise is a big part of the plan, in that you have to want to get out and do some physical activity. For me it always has been biking, since I was a small child. Also, you have to get a high metabolism somehow, and I was blessed with one since birth. Back to biking – I try to ride twice a day, if possible. I do a road bike ride in the morning and then maybe another in the evening or switch to mountain bike. I only bike outside, and never use an indoor exercise cycle; I prefer the view to be changing constantly or I would get bored.
So, here are my lists of what not to eat and what to eat!
What Not To Eat!
- Fried Foods
- White bread
- White sugar
- white rice (some is okay, but there’s no fiber in white rice!)
- Donuts or other high fat pastries
- Desserts with an excess of sugar, fat, eggs, etc.
- Real eggs
- Shrimp and other shellfish
- Anything cooked in excessive fat or oil
- Indian food cooked in ghee ( that is also known as clarified butter )
- Soups or other food with a high sodium content
- Sweet tea ( or at least avoid a whole glass; dilute it with unsweet tea )
What To Eat!
- High fiber cereals ( such as Fiber One – has 57% of daily fiber )
- Double fiber wheat bread
- Steel Cut Oats
- High fiber wheat tortilla shells
- Egg beaters ( has no yolk, but you can do the same thing with a real egg by removing the yolk, and cooking only the whites. Cook the yolk and give it to your dog, he’ll love it!
- Non-Fat Greek Yogurt ( read the labels and find the ones with the lowest sugar content )
- Almonds ( only the natural, raw ones, with no salt added )
- Bananas ( high in carbohydrates, but also high in potassium )
- high fiber muffins ( blueberry, banana nut, etc. )
- Peanut butter
- Veggie Delite sandwiches from Subway ( with the veggie patty ! )
- Fiber One Bars or Fiber Plus bars ( 35% of daily fiber )
- Olive Oil – as a salad dressing and as a cooking oil
- Fat Free feta cheese
- Veggie Burgers
- Portabello mushrooms
- Grilled chicken sandwiches ( hold the mayo, and try to get a wheat bun )
- Nutritional shakes such as Ensure
- Fresh fruits such as oranges, cherries, blueberries, strawberries
- Sweet potato fries
- High fiber beans such as garbanzos, Fava beans, black beans, etc.
- Avocados – and the product made from them, guacamole
- Baby spinach (fresh, as in a salad )
- Salads, salads, salads!
If you think this diet would be difficult for you to adapt, then I can understand your point. Most Americans are accustomed to the fast food regime that our culture thrusts upon us. I have to be an observant shopper and a practicing cook to keep up this style of eating.
I could be a 100% vegetarian but that’s not necessary, and you need some protein every day. Egg beaters, Chicken and fish offer plenty of protein, along with many vegetable products. I read about MUFAs about five months ago, and that influenced me to focus on certain foods. MUFA is an acronym for mono-unsaturated fats, and these are found in olives, olive oil, almonds, peanut butter, avocados, and other nuts. Basically these are healthy fats.
The most healthy thing that I can make or buy is the ‘strawberry spinach salad’ which is available at Fresh Market. Here’s what I put in it:
- Fresh baby spinach
- Cut up strawberries
- Fat-free feta cheese
- Black olives
- A raspberry vinagrette salad dressing that is non-fat
This salad has MUFAs in it and can really make me smile – I have made it dozens of times and it always pleases.
Find your eating plan, and stick with it – you’ll be better off!