Turning 30 hasn’t exactly been graceful for my husband or me.
We both work for the same company and recently had to complete a biometric screening for insurance purposes. Basically what happens is they check your height and weight so they can calculate BMI, check your blood pressure, and prick your finger to check for some possible health risks. For us, they checked glucose, triglycerides, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol. I’ve had these screenings done many times in the past, but for him this was a first. I tend to have a history of low HDL, no matter how many greens and healthy veggies I get in me, my HDL never gets where it should be. Overall though, my cholesterol is generally perfectly fine. My only red flag in the past has been blood pressure, and of course this day was no different. Apparently I have “hypertension”.
I did had high triglycerides, but everything else cholesterol wise checked out perfectly fine.
My husband, on the other hand, has terrible cholesterol… and we had NO idea. For one, it’s really difficult for him to gain weight. He’s always been really lean and fit, and eats like crazy. He never goes to the doctor, rarely gets sick, and overall has had a pretty clean bill of health.
This all means we no longer have just me to think about when it comes to how we eat, but we have to closely monitor him. And this also means what applies to me with diet and PCOS also applies to him. This probably sounds like we don’t take Zoey into consideration at all, but let me make it pretty clear that we do. That child eats healthy. She’d rather eat cherry tomatoes, blueberries and carrots for a meal over most things any day. But at the end of the day, she doesn’t have symptoms to control like we do, so that is what I mean.
So what changes are we making?
Well, for starters, we had to figure out where all the cholesterol comes from. It looks to be primarily animal products and by products… meat, eggs, dairy products. Okay, that said, with his body type he really needs a high protein diet and we have no desire to go vegan. Power to those who are, it’s just not for us. He can not afford to lose weight. His BMI is already close to underweight… ugh. So while there is cholesterol in meat, we had to look at what else we eat that doesn’t digest and break down as well, and affects your overall wellbeing. We started looking at our carb and sugar consumption. We weren’t that bad with carbs, but we did have one with every meal. And after talking to some other folks who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it became increasingly clear that the cholesterol count on a package is not where all your cholesterol comes from… it comes from how you eat in general. Some people with high cholesterol go paleo and eat all the meat they want, but cut out grains, sugar and dairy. One person in particular that I know completely healed himself just making that change, and he does not have to live on cholesterol medication. He eats all the meat and veggies he wants.
Ya’ll know how I am about supplementing and using food to our benefit when it comes to healing and proper body function, so to me, this was a no brainer. We need to eat better not only for me, but for him. And it’s not like we ate that poorly before, but when your husband prefers to eat frozen burritos for lunch nearly every day over a salad, it’s no wonder his cholesterol is high. It certainly wasn’t coming from MY cooking. Our dinners were decent. But he doesn’t eat breakfast very often and definitely wasn’t helping himself with those burritos.
In general, we have cut back a lot on our processed carb/gluten intake and we’ve drastically increased our vegetable consumption. We also completely cut out soda and he’s drinking more water. So instead of a carb, veggie and protein as our dinner, we’re doing protein and 2 different veggies. We are still taking in some carb, but we’re choosing things that are easier to digest and have other benefits, like fiber and protein (quinoa), instead of just empty carbs like you get from pasta and white rice. We’ve also cut back on dairy unless it’s low fat or skim milk based, but we do still take in some. Goat cheese for the win – it’s one of the lowest cholesterol diary options available!
Here’s what our meals look like this week:
Greek yogurt (17g protein) with coconut granola (10g protein) and fruit
Avocado tuna salad (using avocado in place of mayo) in romaine leaves or whole grain wraps
Salad in a jar with grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chickpeas, edamame and baby spinach
Fruit: bananas, apples, grapes
Skim milk mozzarella cheese sticks
KIND bars (gluten free)
Roasted red pepper hummus w/ baby carrots or gluten free brown rice crackers
Baked vegetable chips
Stuffed bell peppers with lean beef, quinoa (little bit), and tomatoes
Grilled lemon thyme salmon with sauteed portobello mushrooms and roasted broccoli
Baked chicken breast with sauteed kale and butternut quash
Grilled lemon pepper tilapia with roasted asparagus and carrots
Sauteed diced chicken breasts with roasted brussel sprouts and sauteed portobello mushrooms
So that’s our start. We’re making a few tweaks here and there without going cold turkey on everything so we don’t set ourselves up for failure. We’re not doing some fancy detox or making an extreme change, but we’re doing some things that I think will help bring his levels down where they need to be. We’re getting lean proteins and lots of vitamins from some pretty great veggies, plus plenty of extra fiber and heart healthy omega-3 between the fish we’re eating and the ground flax I’ve been sneaking in to things. 😉
Do you have any other suggestions for us?