No Snacks, no sweets, no seconds. Except on Days that start with S. Too simple for you? Simple is why it works. Look here for questions, introductions, support, success stories.

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This path is my life
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Post by This path is my life » Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:25 am

I recently found out that my cholesterol is 229, with 200 being the highest end of the normal range. I am upset by this because I'm healthier now than I've ever been in my life and because I love cheese, eggs, any dairy products, and basically everything that I'm not supposed to eat with my cholesterol level. I feel forced to make changes for my health because in my family heart disease is rampant and very serious. My grandpa who was incredibly healthy died of a heart attack while out on a run. My mother has had a case of heart failure and 1 heart attack and 1 close-call, which resulted in serious hospitalization and an angioplasty and she's only 53. I have the same cholesterol level as my dad who is 64 and overweight (only slightly, but nonetheless). I have no desire to take medication, so diet and exercise is my only choice and thankfully No-S helps me do that. Now I walk an hour everyday and am considering making all foods that are really bad for my cholesterol (cheese etc.) S's. I hate to do that though because I love cheese and eggs so much. Does anyone have a similar problem or any helpful suggestions for this? Such as foods that are especially good or bad (I'm aware of most of those) or any tips on how to deal with this? Thanks!
"There is no such thing as a bad choice, there is only the next choice"

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Post by hlidskjalf » Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:28 am

I personally just never get anything checked ever. I sleep better at night this way.
Last edited by hlidskjalf on Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.

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Post by gratefuldeb67 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:01 am

When I was really really obese my cholesterol was about 300.. Then after a year of being back in NY and not in New Orleans eating fried poboy oyster sandwiches with mayo almost every other day, and leading the life of a shut in, just from eating less fried food and simply losing weight, my cholesterol dropped 100 points..

Cholesterol is also effected by stress.. It's produced when we have high cortisol levels..
Maybe cutting out cheese isn't as helpful as just sticking with your exercise and maybe adding some meditation and relaxation techniques into your life?
Just some ideas!
I am sorry about your families health history worrying you Jenn, but you are you and they are them.. (grammar??? LOL)
Just take care of yourself the best you can and most importantly, don't worry!

Hlid's silly comment (Hi Hlid!) has a lot of validity, even though it sounded a tad flippant!
Heh.. :wink:

Sometimes ignorance is really bliss! If you feel healthy, then don't let those tests and readouts make you a nutcase!
Chances are, if you feel healthy, you are healthy!

Peace and Love,
8) Deb
There is no Wisdom greater than Kindness

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Post by david » Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:58 pm

High cholesterol is problematic, but it's high cholesterol with the addition of high blood pressure that's the real killer.


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Post by navin » Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:25 pm

I'm with Deb... exercise and overall weight loss will help. Do you have any idea what your cholesterol was *before* you started No-S? Has it gone down, up, stayed the same?

I had a similar problem before I started No-S... cholesterol was much higher than I'd like it. But as I lost weight, it went down significantly (and so did my blood pressure).

So there's a good chance if you keep exercising and lose weight, it'll go down on its own. If not, then maybe you can take more "drastic" action such as avoiding certain foods.

You could maybe try soy milk, too, I actually find I like it better than regular milk!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. :-)
Before criticizing someone, you should try walking a mile in their shoes. Then you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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Post by mjohnson121 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:42 am

Not sure if this helps or not, but since I've started strict No-S again (4 weeks on, will report weight lost in a couple more weeks when it's worth reporting :) I've cut my dairy consumption dramatically without trying. Not sure why exactly. I still have my dairy, just a lot less of it....I think I was getting a lot of if with my "snacks" (sandwiches, donuts, cereal, etc).


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Post by pangelsue » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:44 am

A couple of tips. Real everything is better than fake. Don't start using special margarines and fake or low fat cheeses. They are also very bad for your heart and some of them even contain transfats which are also bad for your heart. Get a good "Healthy Heart" cookbook and try some of the suggestions. Actually, you can make an omelet with one regular egg and one egg white. You cut the cholesterol in half and it tastes almost the same. I also find that if I buy delicious whole milk cheeses and make them a little stronger variety like blue or buttery cheeses, they are so rich that is easier to eat a lot less and still get the craving satified. Cut it very thin and savor every bite. Same with meat. We eat only orgarnic meat and it is very expensive so we are finding we are eating much less of it. Making stir frys with tons of veggies and a taste of meat is delicious. Desserts are harder but also possible. Single crust pies and leave the back of the crust on the plate. Brownies made with applesauce in place of almost all of the fat are delicious. These and more ideas are in cookbooks developed specifically for people concerned about their hearts.
One more hint, canola oil for frying and olive oil for cooking. In an article written for Eating Well, the doctor who helped develop the food pyramid stated that canola oil, like olive oil, is so good for your heart that in moderation, something fried in it is actually good for your heart. He said he thoroughly enjoys french fried food about once a week (again in moderation) as long as it is cooked in canola oil. I always ask at restaurants what kind of oil they use and when I find one that uses canola, I have fries and enjoy every last one. Fortunately, there aren't too many restaurants that use canola oil or I'd have to cut back. LOL.
Mostly be sensible. Work with your doctor. Lose weight if you have to, exercise and eat in moderation. Sounds simple doesn't it. Wish it was simpler sometimes.
A lot of growing up happens between "it fell" and "I dropped it."

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Post by Big Phil » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:59 am

David makes an excellent point above. Some of this cholesterol business is blown out of proportion. There was an interesting review in Science a few years ago "The soft science of dietary fat" (2002). This pointed out that the "animal fat gives you high cholesterol" mantra is so simplistic it is conterproductive. You need to find out whether your high cholesterol is due to high LDL or HDL, HDL is the good one, LDL is the bad one. If you have high total cholesterol due to HDL, you do not have a problem and can quite worrying.
Furthermore, while high LDL can pre-dispose you to heart disease the total effect on longevity (death from all causes) is different. The higher a womans total cholesterol, the higher her longevity (seriously, I am not making this up, it is in the Science article and sourced from the Nurses health study and the Framingham heart study). For men, both extremely high and extremely low cholesterol affect longevity negatively, but there is a very large middle ground in which cholesterol has little effect on longevity i.e. there is no "ideal" cholesterol level.
Personally I wouldn't let a doctor put me on statins or change my diet until the LDL, HDL test had been done.
Also, even though it is now out of fashion, eating oatmeal, oatbran will lower you cholesterol.
http://www.improvingmedicalstatistics.c ... 20Bran.htm
I also am not a doctor, but I am a biochemist, and I don't believe anyting until I have seen the data.
Hope that helps in some way.


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Post by wosnes » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:29 pm

Jenn, I'm a few years older than your mother and have a very similar history with heart disease. When I had my heart attack 11 years ago my cholesterol was 179 (I don't remember what the fractions were) and my blood pressure had rarely been above 120/80 -- or textbook normal. I did have other risk factors. I was somewhat overweight, smoked, was under a lot of stress and had a strong family history of heart disease.

My cardiologist wanted me to follow Dr. Ornish's plan for reversing heart disease. I'll have to say that it works, but it requires a lot of motivation, commitment and support. While I was motivated, I wasn't completely committed to it and had little to no support. There was a part of me that just didn't believe that something so restrictive was necessary. although I managed to follow it 80 percent of the time.

Over the years I did a lot of reading and stumbled onto the results of the Seven Countries Study, which was the first study to make a positive association between diet, cholesterol levels and the development of heart disease. It's also the study that is responsible for the recommendations of the traditional Mediterranean diet for heart health.

Traditionally, people in the Mediterranean ate a diet that was much higher in plant foods and much lower in animal foods than people in most of other countries included in the study (including the U.S.). There were a number of reasons for this, including economics and geography. Their total cholesterol levels were low as were their rates of not only heart disease, but also other diseases common where the diet included more foods from animal sources.

Interestingly, I realized that they managed to maintain these low cholesterol levels while consuming full-fat dairy products. The difference was in how they include them in their diet. They typically don't drink much milk and use small amounts of strong-flavored cheeses to add flavor to dishes. Eggs tend to be used in cooking rather than as something one routinely eats for breakfast.

While I don't find it particularly difficult to follow something that closely resembles the traditional Mediterranean diet, I think many people would because it's so high in plant foods and so low in animal foods. I do think that the more one can move towards a more plant-based diet, the better. Compared to the Ornish program, I find it pretty liberal.

The one thing I've learned over the past 11 years is that the more one does to control the risk factors for heart disease (or anything else) through diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes, the better off you'll be. Some people will probably need medications in addition to the changes. But if you rely on the medication to do the job, you're still at a high risk of suffering not only from the disease, but the complications of the disease. It's not easy to make the changes, but it's worth it.

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My 2 cents worth

Post by srbliss » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:53 pm

Current research on cholesterol is looking at the ratio of LDL/HDL. Did your doctor tell you what the ratio is? Many doctors are now convinced that the ratio not the total cholesterol number is the best indicator of heart health.

I started taking fish oil (pharmaceutical grade) about two years ago to help with my blood pressure problem. It worked within a few weeks - my blood pressure dropped about 20 points with this change alone. It is also supposed to raise the HDL cholesterol; I have not had a blood test since I started taking fish oil.

P.S. There is nothing "bad" about dairy or eggs. Just don't base your diet on them - or anything else for that matter. Moderation and variety are the key.
Started NOS and Shovelglove August 21, 2006.

This path is my life
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Post by This path is my life » Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:18 am

Thank you all so much for your incredibly helpful and thoughtful posts. This is exactly what I needed! Knowledge is power, so armed with information that I've researched and input from you all, I feel much better about this situation and am already implementing many of the changes that I need to.

Thanks again and have a wonderful day!!
"There is no such thing as a bad choice, there is only the next choice"

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