What Not To Eat

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!

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • 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.
  • Bacon
  • 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 )
  • Granola
  • Hummous
  • Tofu
  • Olive Oil – as a salad dressing and as a cooking oil
  • Olives
  • Fat Free feta cheese
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Portabello mushrooms
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches ( hold the mayo, and try to get a wheat bun )
  • Salmon
  • 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
  • Almonds
  • 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!

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