Jim’s Gone Vegan!

And why would I do that, you ask? I haven’t gone off the deep end, no offense to the vegans out there, I’m just trying a little health experiment. I have a history of high cholesterol, and want to try to avoid taking a statin drug. This is the first installment in a series of blog posts dedicated to my new vegan diet, the purpose of which is to see if this way of eating can lower my cholesterol, and hopefully prevent the necessity to take said drugs. I will be getting help along the way from Jessica Baxter, one of our great therapists at Be Well, who is studying holistic nutrition and has been following a vegan diet for years.

To give a little background, I have a family history of heart disease (heart attacks on mother and father’s sides), and a personal history of high cholesterol, which has been explained by physicians as being primarily hereditary. Over the years I’ve met many people who have reported being in similar situations and are also hesitant to take statins for the long term. That is what motivated this change (and blog): to lower my cholesterol naturally and to help others who are interested in doing the same.

I live a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, eat red meat only occasionally, consume little dairy, and have what I would consider to be a normal amount of stress with good (could always be better) coping mechanisms. However, I have this nagging high cholesterol number following me around like an albatross. My most recent numbers, tested by a cardiac specialist, are: Total Cholesterol = 288, LDL = 225 and HDL = 66. Just to give an idea of how these numbers read, it is recommended that total should be under 200, LDL under 100, and HDL above 60. So outside of HDL, my numbers are a bit scary considering my family history!

Turning 40 this year, and having a baby on the way (working on the stress coping mechanisms as we speak) are very motivating factors to get these cholesterol numbers closer to ideal. I’ve been doing a lot of research recently on natural ways to achieve this, and outside of herbs and supplements that haven’t been extensively studied as to their effectiveness, the majority of information points to a vegan diet. I’m up for anything at this point, so wanted to give it the ole’ college try!

As I mentioned, Jessica will be helping me with counseling advice, recipes, and other information to make this transition as smooth and healthy as possible. I’m grateful to have her help, and very curious to see how this plays out. So stay tuned as I update my progress weekly in the push to get those numbers down!