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 Post subject: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:53 pm 
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So last year husband and I went for physicals and my cholesterol jumped 50pts and husbands was borderline high. In June I adopted a vegan diet and husband has followed at home, with some dairy and meat outside the home. He started exercising and even eating better while out (veggie subs at Subway). His cholesterol went up 23pts this year. He is so bummed and I am a little bummed too because I had been telling him it should drastically go down. I am so worried about mine now. I am cooking what I consider to be healthy vegan food. Most meals are out of vegan recipes and I make everything from scratch and don't rely on fake meats.

What did we do wrong? I am still trying to get my value early since my dr appt is not until Dec 5th.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:58 pm 
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You're not necessarily doing anything wrong. Many people have high cholesterol not because their diet is so terrible, but because they are genetically predisposed to it. Most of our total cholesterol is made by our bodies and a smaller percentage of it comes from what we eat. Also, where did your husband's cholesterol go up? Was it his total cholesterol? How were his LDL and HDL levels compared to last year? If his total cholesterol went up because his HDL also went up, that might not be terrible.
You might also want to see a dietitian with your husband, so you can see if there are any particular problem foods that he's eating that might not be obvious.

Also, try not to be so bummed out. It sounds like you both are making really good dietary changes and even if your body isn't responding exactly the way you want it to, you're still doing good for yourself by eating healthier and exercising.

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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:26 pm 
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How's your weight doing? Cholesterol can be very tied to weight. My cholesterol has gone up significantly while I've been vegan because I've also gained a lot of weight (not the fault of veganism, just my overeating - I've had problems with weight since childhood). Even a truly excellent diet can't undo the negative effects on increasing weight on cholesterol and other steroid levels, hormones, etc. Some people are more sensitive to the physiological effects of weight fluctuations than others. It seems like a lot of new vegans gain weight because they start cooking more interesting food and thus get more eating-focused. They also sometimes confuse "vegan" with "healthy." Vegan cupcakes are no healthier than non-vegan ones. Increasing consumption of refined grains, sugar, fat (even "healthy fat") are all problematic.

Also, fake meats probably would have no effect on cholesterol - they're low in fat and most of them are low in calories. Processing in and of itself does not make something bad for your lipid levels.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:35 pm 
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Hi enmommy,

Vegan transfats ( anything labeled "partially hydrogenated") can crank a person's cholesterol up quite high. These transfats in vegan diets are most often found in baked goods & fried foods ( especially chips and fast food ), a number of vegan margarines, vegan ice creams and many chocolate flavored things. A vegan strength athlete on another forum I read was close to being put on statins until he figured out that the fast food take out curries he loved were being cooked in cheap transfat oils. In the U.S. a similar hidden threat could be cheap Chinese takeout food. The meats and cheeses at Subway can have a lot of cholesterol in them too.

It might help to reduce your oil intake, depending on what it is as well as limiting the oils you use to olive and canola.

Eating **LARGE** amounts of fruit (large as in way beyond not 2 - 3 pieces ) every day can jack up your triglyceride levels too.

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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:20 pm 
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Well I am still waiting for my office call back to see what happened with my levels because we basically eat the same things. I am at a very healthy weight, borderline low on the bmi chart. My husband is quite healthy even though his weight is awful. But he has been exercising and eating better and really trying. He has lost about 15lbs in the last year but probably has another 25+ to go. That is saying a lot too because he was working midnights full time and going to Nursing school full time, all while losing that weight, where most of his classmates gained about the same amount.

I feel like I cook healthy, but I will try and be even more aware of fats. Luckily I ordered Appetite for Reduction, but husband stole it and wrapped it for my birthday before I could look at it. I always pack his lunch for work too so he doesn't eat out much. We are on a tight budget so eating out at restaurants never really happens and we get Thai/Chinese maybe 2-3 times a month (sometimes less), which I hope is not that much. And I am totally aware of trans fats and hidden trans fats. Ugh.

On a good note, his fasting glucose and that AG number for prediabetes went down, so that has to be a good thing.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:38 pm 
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His fasting glucose and a1c went down? That's huge and for the moment probably more important than his cholesterol. How are his triglycerides? Did his HDL go up? Did his LDL change?

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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:03 pm 
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He took his paperwork, so I don't know. I want to say his HDL was in the normal range. His dr appt is in Dec as well but they sent his results to the house.

I tried to tell him that the diabetes stuff was more important, because he has that big "warning" belly on him. He tries so hard too, which is sad because I try to keep weight on. We are opposites. But his AG prediabetes number is not in the prediabetes range, so yeah!


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:14 pm 
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Just a thought -- sometimes stress is a contributing factor too. My husband's cholesterol is plagued by a stressful job, despite pretty healthful, whole foods diet and biking 25 miles a day. We managed to get it under control by drastically cutting down on oil (sigh) and giving away our kegerator (double sigh).


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:36 pm 
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He he he, sorry about the kegerator! Stress IS his problem. I think once he passes his Nursing boards and gets a full time job that will get us out of the poorhouse, things might be less stressful. Doesn't help either that we have a very "spirited" daughter that drives us both insane most all of the time;)

I didn't think I used too much oil, but I am going to pay attention more now.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:08 pm 
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Major mystery, then! I'm curious to hear if you can get to the bottom of this. Great news about your husband's other numbers - it's truly bizarre that they'd be moving in a different direction than his cholesterol, since those things usually go hand in hand!


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:22 pm 
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except that HDL (the good cholesterol) is lumped into the total.

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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:06 pm 
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But even if HDL went up, LDL should've gone down more than enough to compensate. It's pretty hard to get a huge rise in HDL. We'll have to wait for the numbers!


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:54 pm 
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my mom had something similar happen. we have a very high genetic propensity for high cholesterol. both my mom's parents had it. i believe they were both on meds. my grandmother was teeny tiny and ate like a bird. my grandfather had many health issues and was very overweight.
my mom became lacto-ovo veg probably about a year ago at this point and 6 months in she had some bloodwork done and was super bummed that her cholesterol actually went up a bit.
i asked her how much dairy she was eating and i dont think that had anything to do with it because she doesnt eat much.

i think for some people it's just a struggle because of genetics.
definitely watch for what types of fats you use. i believe the tofutti products (cream cheese and sour cream) have trans fat in them but im not 100% sure.
try cooking with olive oil maybe?

i think it sounds like your husband is on the right path for sure. exercise i think can be a huge help.

good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:31 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
definitely watch for what types of fats you use. i believe the tofutti products (cream cheese and sour cream) have trans fat in them but im not 100% sure.

the yellow containers are transfat free.

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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:15 pm 
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my cholesterol is slightly high and when i was pregnant it was off the charts. i have been vegan since 1994. soooo yeah, some people are just genetically predispositioned. my advice: eat healthy, get loads of exercise, don't smoke and stop worrying *so* much about the numbers the doctor throws at you.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:02 pm 
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Man, I was waiting to call back the office today and totally forgot. Too much going on I guess.

We don't use any of that replacement stuff like sour cream and cream cheese or margarine. We just leave it out all together.

I think we all need to start family yoga.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:12 pm 
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I just got bloodwork done a few weeks ago and they said my bad cholesterol level was high. Then they told me to modify my diet and exercise more, which was silly because they didn't look at my diet or how many days/week I exercise.
So I'm guessing for me it's stress or genetics. Or fruit. I don't eat replacement cheeses or butter or anything.
I have to do another fasting blood test in a few weeks and hope the cholesterol is down.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Well I got my results back today and my total was 132,and believe that is lower then last year, and awesome because my goal is under 150. They didn't order the A1C prediabetes test on me, so I guess I am good there. My breakdown is LDL 62 and HDL 61. I am interested to compare the numbers when I go for my appt in Dec.

This also leads me to believe that husbands levels are definitely stress related. We generally eat the same meals and he exercises more. But he is overweight and I am not. Genetics.....blah. My parents are on statins an high blood pressure meds, so I care about the numbers....a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:15 pm 
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Ummm, if total cholesterol is adding the two together, then she must have mean 123,which is even better. Oh an I know how to spell, my stupid new computer doesn't seem to type all the keys I push.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:17 pm 
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wow, those numbers are really great! 61 HDL is super amazing! congrats!

If your husband is dietiting and exercising, it really might have more to do with genetics unfortunately. I wouldn't be too quick to try to blame one food like hydrognated tofutti or whatever like people have mentioned.

I hope he realizes he's doing something great for his health by eating well and exercising and getting his A1C down and that he doesn't get discouraged by his cholesterol.

ETA: total cholesterol is more than just HDL and LDL added together, so your total is probably correct and awesome since under 200 is good.

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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:28 pm 
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Hmmmm, now I am a little nervous about my triglyceride value of 47. When I went to look at the normal, it says anything under 150. So I looked up my value and it says anything under 50 is rare, but could be healthy. I am only concerned about that because I try and eat enough fats but I am wondering if they don't absorb, because I know that I lose fats (due to an unmentionable, totally embarrassing sample test I had done), but the gastro dr was not so concerned at the time.

Might be time to stop "googling".


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Under 50 triglycerides are not rare among people who eat well and have otherwise low cholesterol. My triglycerides are always under 50. Triglycerides levels are really sensitive to sugar and alcohol rather than fat.

Your cholesterol is AMAZING. You are clearly doing a lot of things right.


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 Post subject: Re: So bummed.....cholesterol levels
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Oh good!


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