Today I’m going to get personal. I’m talking about my lab work from my physical I had done last week. There are so many stories online about sick people (obese, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, etc.) that have either cured themselves or dramatically improved their heath by changing to a whole food plant based diet. What I haven’t seen as much of, are stories of people that were not “sick” before starting a plant based diet showing their health improvements because they are more subtle and less dramatic. However, when you improve your health, what you don’t see are the diseases and health problems that you prevented later in life through taking care of your body. People in our country (the U.S.) are living longer, but sicker lives. We grow up with the false belief that as we age we will develop “something”, whether that is high cholesterol (heart disease), diabetes, or cancer. But what we don’t realize, is it doesn’t have to be that way. We can make changes now that will either prevent or lesson our risk of diseases later on. We don’t have to take 10 pills a day when we “get old”, we can stay active and healthy until we die. If you look at other cultures around the world that eat plant based diets you will see this is true. Of course there are no guarantees in life, but doesn’t everyone want to give yourself the best odds of staying healthy throughout your lifetime? (If you are not familiar with the benefits of a plant based diet I encourage you to watch a DVD or read a book to learn more – I can recommend websites, books, even Netflix documentaries)
I used to not really pay attention to what I ate, I knew people that ate a worse diet than I did and people that ate better. I considered myself about average. I did eat vegetables and fruits, but I also loved my cheese and desserts. I loved BBQ and pizza buffets. But I have always been thin so I felt immune in a way. I felt like I didn’t need to worry about what I ate because my diet was like most people’s and I was very thin, so no worries right? Wrong! In my mid 20s my routine blood work came back that I was pre-diabetic and my cholesterol had always ran about 200, which is the upper limit of normal. Diabetes runs in my family so I decided I should cut out sodas, since I would drink 1-2 a day. That was enough to get my blood sugar back in the normal category, but a couple years later while pregnant, I found myself with borderline gestational diabetes following a special diet for the remainder of my pregnancy. That was NOT fun, I hated the fact that I would probably end up developing diabetes one day with my strong family history. But I didn’t know what I could do about it…. Until a few more years later when I learned about plant based diets.
I have been eating a whole food plant based diet for over 4 years now and I love it. I don’t miss the foods I used to eat at all and this is just my new normal. So here are my current numbers.
Values Normal Range
Blood pressure 108/62 under 120/80
Glucose, serum 83 65-99
Total cholesterol 154 100-199
Triglycerides 97 0-149
HDL 65 >39
VLDL 19 5-40
LDL 70 0-99
As you can see my numbers have greatly improved from what they used to be. And I haven’t been getting any younger. lol I also don’t work out much so it is all diet related. I would also like to note that as Dr. Greger says in his book How Not to Die, “The average cholesterol for people living in the U.S. is …. around 200mg/dl. If your blood test results came back with a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl, your physician might reassure you that your cholesterol is normal. But in a society where it’s normal to die of heart disease, having a “normal” cholesterol level is probably not a good thing.” “The optimal LDL cholesterol level is probably 50 or 70 mg/dl, and apparently, the lower, the better. That’s where you start out at birth, that’s the level seen in populations largely free of heart disease, and that’s the level at which the progression of artherosclerosis appears to stop in cholesterol-lowering trials. And LDL around 70mg/dl corresponds to a total cholesterol reading of about 150, the level below which no deaths from coronary heart disease were reported in the famous Framingham Heart Study, a generations-long project to identify risk factors for heart disease. The population target should therefore be a total cholesterol level under 150mg/dl”
This can be achieved by most people following a plant based diet that eliminates oils. If you are interested in improving your diet and health feel free to contact me as I would love to help you. I also have an ebook that lays out all the logistics of changing your diet. It has all you need to know to get started. You can purchase it here and see my other services.