Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cholesterol and Paleo

I've been eating paleo pretty strictly for about six months. It would be a year or so, but I fell off the wagon a bit late last year before I moved ... but I didn't fall totally off. I never reverted back to using synthetic cooking oils, and I've been cooking with lard for a year now. (Though the homemade lard I use now is much better than the stuff I used to buy at the store.)

My mom has been bugging me to have blood work done. Just to make sure the science I'm implementing into my diet isn't totally wrong and going to kill me. There's a history of heart disease on both sides of my family, so it's a valid concern.

Recently, my company offered free health screenings at work, complete with a blood workup. They checked blood sugar, cholesterol levels and blood pressure (along with height and weight, etc.). Perfect timing. The nurses came to me, AND I didn't have to pay for it.

It was really cold in the conference room where they pricked my finger and took my height and weight and such. So, my fingers were reluctant to bleed. (I also blame it on the test requiring me to fast ... I really do need coffee to get my blood pumping, apparently.) Three finger sticks later, I was good to go.

I met with a nurse practitioner to go over my results. This was the fun part. Here are my numbers:

Total Cholesterol: 163
HDL: 88
LDL: 59
Trigs: 77 

She said that I must really avoid saturated fat in order to have such great numbers. To which I replied, "Oh, no. I eat a lot of it. I make my own lard."

I wish I had taken a picture of her face.

I went on to explain my diet. She had never heard of paleo. And was surprised to hear  I eat eggs. A lot of eggs. I cook with butter, lard, and coconut oil. I eat a lot of protein including poultry, pork, fish and red meat. I eat a lot of veggies, and I don't eat any "healthy whole grains" (or any grains really, for that matter).
She asked if I have Celiac or a gluten sensitivity. I honestly know. I've been in and out of GI doctors' offices since I was 14 trying to figure that out. They cut me open and took out my gallbladder because it wasn't working, but nothing changed and I never got any conclusive answers. All I know is that eating this way has changed my life, and I don't plan on going back.

My diet is basically diametrically opposed to what the mainstream establishment is telling us to eat. Isn't it sad that a lot of doctors and nurses receive so little training in nutrition? ... I'll avoid that rabbit trail for now.

Cholesterol isn't the whole story when it comes to heart disease either. There have been no studies (clinical, controlled studies) that can definitively link high cholesterol to heart disease. Both patients with high and low cholesterol suffer heart attacks. And dietary cholesterol does not correlate to serum cholesterol.

Chris Kresser has a ton of articles here about heart disease, if you're interested.

I feel I should add some sort of disclaimer in here because health is so subjective. All I'm saying is that this diet has done wonders for me. I feel so good. So healthy. So ... normal on it. And, that's something I've never experienced before. (And as an added bonus, I've lost about 10lbs.)

I enjoyed seeing, in black and white (and red,  yellow and green) that my heart is healthy. But honestly, I don't think this is the best test to best indicate risk of heart disease. I'd like to have a VAP test done. I'll have to ask my doctor about getting one.

But, for now, I'm going to go fry sweet potatoes in some lard.

To your good health,

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