Thursday, November 3, 2011

Intro to Blog

When my husband and I found out, at 29, that he had high cholesterol, our hearts sank.  He was already a healthy eater, and nowhere near overweight.  We did all the typical things people do to try to lower their cholesterol - we cut out all red meat, increased our fruits and veggies, and avoided foods high in saturated fat (cheese, ice cream, etc.).  It was no fun, believe me.

The following year, more devastating news:  All those changes hadn't done a thing to lower his cholesterol.  At that time his total cholesterol was 240, and his "bad" cholesterol (LDL) was 149.  These values put him on the edge of "high" and "very high" for his age.  His physician didn't want to medicate... he felt my husband was too young to be put on a statin for the rest of his life.  Nor could my husband increase his exercise... he was just starting what will ultimately be 7-8 years in a grueling residency/fellowship program in Boston.  He barely had time to sleep, let alone exercise.

I was at a loss.  I felt absolutely powerless - the only way to further restrict his diet would be resorting to vegetarianism or, more likely, veganism.  Neither of us wanted that; we're both passionate foodies and our only shared hobbies are cooking, eating, and experiencing new restaurants.  So I started reading.  I've read and continue to read many amazing books on how to lower cholesterol, and over time I've compiled tips and tricks for what and how to eat.  Most importantly, I've found and tweaked several delicious but heart-healthy recipes that continue to be staples in our home.  And by heart-healthy, I mean recipes that actually help *lower* cholesterol - not just recipes that avoid fat.  The best part of all was that I've found that by focusing on what he does eat, we don't have to focus so much on what he doesn't eat; we lowered his cholesterol significantly while occasionally indulging in red meat, eggs, ice cream, and all the other no-no's we had to give up. 

It is the goal of this blog to share those recipes and tricks with anyone else out there who suffers from intractable high cholesterol and for whom simple healthy eating just wasn't enough.  I'm thrilled to report that the last time my husband's cholesterol was checked, his total had decreased 31 points to 209, putting him just barely within the "normal" range.  His HDL followed suit.  And the insurance company agreed to lower our life insurance policy rate to the lowest rate available, whereas his old cholesterol numbers had meant paying three times as much.

I'm not a doctor myself, or a nutritionist.  This blog is not intended to be medical advice.  I am, however, someone who successfully lowered her spouse's cholesterol and found great recipes to do so.

Some of the books I've read are:
Cholesterol DOWN:  Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol   
The Everything Low-Cholesterol Cookbook
Eating for Lower Cholesterol; and
How to Prevent a Second Heart Attack (a bit premature, I know)

I highly recommend "Cholesterol DOWN" in particular.  Do yourself a favor and if you or a loved one has intractable high cholesterol, get that book.

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