It’s now been 8 months since I found out I had high cholesterol and had to seriously rethink my food choices. I have to say it’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be to reduce my cholesterol and keep it low, which makes me wonder why doctors are so quick to recommend statins, especially considering all of scary side effects that have been reported.
I had a health-check last week to make sure I was still on track. I was a bit worried about it to be honest, because I’d had a few meals out in the days leading up to it involving lots of cheese, buttery sauces and creamy chocolate desserts.
Thankfully though I got the results I was hoping for:- my total cholesterol is 4.8 mmol/L. It’s gone up since March (I blame the creamy chocolate desserts!), but my cholesterol level is still well within the acceptable range (less than 5.1).
I’m so relieved that I’ve been able to reduce my cholesterol and maintain it through dietary changes, as hopefully this means if I keep it up then I will reduce the risk of heart disease in the long term.
I’ve been sticking to the 80:20 rule over the last 8 months, i.e. 80% of the time eating cholesterol-friendly foods, and 20% of the time eating whatever I like. It’s reassuring to know that eating things like cheese and creamy chocolate desserts in moderation hasn’t impacted my cholesterol too much. I’m a firm believer that life without cheese and creamy chocolate desserts is no life at all!
I don’t feel like I’m eating too differently to how I ate before, which has made it a lot easier to stick to. I wanted to make small changes gradually over time and not change too much at once, so I started off with just these initially:-
- Eating an oat-based muesli most weekday mornings for breakfast.
- Adding ground flaxseeds to my morning muesli and other meals like curries.
- Eating Alpro soya yoghurt instead of dairy yoghurt with my breakfast.
- Adding beans and chickpeas to salads, stews and spag bol.
- Snacking on almonds, apples and oatcakes with almond butter.
- Drinking a Benecol yoghurt drink every day after dinner.
I found it pretty easy to incorporate these changes, as I didn’t really have to cut anything out, so after a few weeks I decided to start doing these as well:-
- Using olive oil in all my cooking, and drizzling basil oil over salads & veg.
- Eating fewer fatty meats, and more lean meat, like chicken and turkey.
- Eating oily fish, like salmon and tuna, at least twice a week.
- Cutting down on the amount of cheese I ate.
- Aiming for the recommended five a day fruit & veg.
Pinterest and other recipe blogs have helped a lot to keep me on track over the last 8 months, as I’ve discovered tons of new ways to fit cholesterol-friendly foods into my meals. Here are some of my favourite recipes:-
- Breakfast Pancake with Yoghurt & Berries
- Grilled Citrus Tuna Steak with Avocado
- Clean and Lean Italian Meatballs
- Warming Pesto Butter Beans
- Healthy Black Bean Brownies
- Delicious Nutty Chocolate Cake
I’m looking forward to trying out more cholesterol-friendly recipes as I continue my low cholesterol journey. I’m going to test my cholesterol again in 6 months…fingers crossed I’ll get a good result again!
Click here to read the latest update on my progress.