Im surprised and upset by the results of my blood work. Im a vegetarian, and am nearly vegan. I eat vegan most of the time, occasionally allowing a pizza with real cheese and sometimes having a veggie burger that includes an egg white. However, the pizza has only been one or two per month. I used to drink a lot of sugary soda pops, but I quit that starting about June of 10. Ive also lost about 30 pounds since January.
However, unfortunately, I still have high cholesterol. Here are my numbers from my recent blood work:
VLDL Calc: 35
Non-HDL Cholesterol: 163
LDL/HDL Ratio: 3.5
LDL Calc: 128
Chol/HDL Ratio: 5.4
The doctor said if I dont improve by December, I should go on cholesterol-lowering drugs. I dont want to do that if I dont have to. I asked how it was possible for me to have bad numbers like this even though Im a vegetarian and he said I may be genetically predisposed to heart disease, and that if I weren't vegetarian, these numbers may be off the charts. My maternal grandfather died of heart disease.
I dont want to take cholesterol-lowering meds if I dont absolutely have to. Im thinking its time to make some changes. Maybe I need to go completely vegan and not allow for an occasional veggie pizza with real cheese. I also could cook with cooking sherry or Saki instead of olive oil. And I definitely need to do cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week. I need to be careful because Ill have to work around a chronic back problems.
Heres something the doctor suggested, and this will likely be controversial here at VB
. He said the HDL cholesterol is the good kind, and mine is low at 37. To bring it up, he suggested taking fish oil capsules. Im vegetarian for health reasons, but have developed a healthy respect for animal rights vegetarians. However, Ive long said if there actually were some dietary requirement for an animal-based food, that I would eat it. We all know its a myth that its difficult to get enough protein without meat. Hypothetically speaking if I could not be healthy without meat, I would consume it. Fortunately, thats not the case. However, if Im genetically predisposed to heart disease and fish oil can make me more resistant to it, perhaps I should just go for it. If I were vegan except for fish oil, I would be consuming way less animal products than ovo-lacto vegetarians. So the way I see it, I have three choices, all of which involve adding exercise, dumping all dairy and eggs, and cooking without oils:
1. Just be vegan and see how my numbers change.
2. Be vegan, except for taking fish oil supplements.
3. Be vegan, except for fish oil only until my cholesterol numbers improve, then dump fish oil at that point and see how my numbers hold up.
This is tough. If I end up having to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, those are almost certainly processed with animal products. Maybe I would be better off using the fish oil if it can help me to prevent needing the drugs.
Other notes. The doctor said some of my high cholesterol may be a holdover from previous bad habits. Prior to June of 2010 I was drinking a lot of soda pop, about 3 to 5 per day. Prior to January 16 of 2010 I was consuming a lot of alcohol. Thats now history. I havent touched a drop since then. The doctor praised these changes and my 30 pound weight loss. Ive still got about 20 to go, which should also help me. Im also cutting way back on caffeine. To throw the soda pop out of my diet, I started drinking a lot of Chinese green and oolong tea, which are good, but have a lot of caffeine. Ive switched to mainly non-caffeinated herbal tea, which only occasionally drinking green or oolong.
Please, no flames on this topic! This is a serious issue and I need to take smart action to improve my health.