Tag Archives: heart disease

Eat Your Colors

Lower Cholesterol with Raw Vegan Food

my bag of goodies
Bag of Veggies from Farmer’s Market

I always knew from other people’s stories, as well as from my textbooks on pathophysiology, that raw and vegan food could lower your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.  This summer Craig, my husband, was donating plasma when his blood clogged up the machine with lipids (fats).  Too many of them.  So he went to the VA hospital and asked them to analyze his blood.  This is what they found:

Before Raw Food

Initial Results

Normal Range

Total Cholesterol

243

118-200

Triglycerides

118

<=200

HDL Cholesterol

71

>=40

LDL Cholesterol
148
<100

The reason I put the LDL Cholesterol in red is because it’s the “bad cholesterol” that is supposed to be less than 100.  It’s bad because it can clog arteries and, according to the Mayo Clinic, “dramatically increases your chance of developing heart disease and having a heart attack.”  They say it is also the “main way you can lower your risk of heart disease.”  Craig’s LDLs were high at 148.

Red Bell Peppers
Red Bell Peppers

I’ve been eating mostly raw vegan food for over 3 years now, and what propelled me there was my own deadly food allergies.  My family eats mostly  raw vegan too.  They have to.  There is nothing else in the house.  What Craig was eating when he was home was clean burning fuel, but what he was eating when he was out and about was undermining what he was eating at home.

He decided to get serious about what he was putting in his body.  Brutal honesty.  No more pizza on the fly, muffins on campus, creamy coffee,  Thai food sauces with coconut milk, or fast food breakfast sandwiches.  He started packing Green Smoothies, raw cashew dip with veggies, and fruits for lunches and snacks.  He refused to eat anything with meat, cheese, eggs, or oils it in.  We do still cook rice and vegetables, or baked squash, and other vegan dishes at home.  And we haven’t had bread in the house since I went raw three years ago, so it just wasn’t an option.

4 months later this is the result:

Craig’s Transition to Raw Vegan Food

Initial Results

Normal Range

4 Months Later on Raw and Vegan Food

Total Cholesterol

243

118-200

196

Triglycerides

118

<=200

89

HDL Cholesterol

71

>=40

61

LDL Cholesterol
148
<100
117

Take a minute to really look at that graph because it is a really big deal.  His LDLs dropped 31 points in 4 months time.  With raw vegan food.  Nothing more, nothing less.

When the nurse at the VA looked at his numbers she said, “Did the doctor put you on a statin?”

A ‘statin’ medication is a drug that inhibits the production of cholesterol (fats/lipids) in the liver.  They are very effective at getting your lipid levels down if you have high lipid levels like Craig did.  The doctor did not put Craig on a statin.  Craig put himself on a vegan diet.  He got brutally honest about what he was eating and changed it. That’s impressive.

Those numbers are impressive.

Beautiful Kale
Beautiful Kale

He rides his bike several times a week, and rides it up to Bentonville and back at least once a week (60 miles round trip) whether it’s 15 degrees out or 60.  His blood pressure is still high at 130-140/70, so we’re planning on getting a meditation routine going together, and looking at other strategies as well.  We’ll let you know how it goes.

Craig is still trying to change his food ratio even more.  He wants to get those LDLs down under 100.

One of the things I tell people when they are trying to transition to raw or vegan food and away from bread, meat, and cheese, is to allow yourself to eat lots of nuts, seeds, and avocados to get that full feeling that you are used to.  Once your body adjusts to clean burning fuel you can think about changing your ratios to more veggies and less nuts.  That’s where he is now.

It’s so much fun watching him go through this transition.  Now he says things that I’ve been saying for a while that you can’t relate to unless you have done it.  Things like, “that cooked oil smells gross,” and “I feel so light now when I’m riding/running.  Before I transitioned I felt so heavy.  It’s like I was fighting my body to get it to move.  Now when I exercise I feel like I could fly.”

Garlic

About a week after Craig found out how great his lipid levels are now he got a phone call from a friend in the hospital who had just suffered a heart attack.  He was 48 years old.  We’re 44.  Our own mortality is staring us in the face.

I have high hopes for Craig’s health.  He’s doing an amazing job at making this change, and I hope that we will continue to see his lipid numbers, and his blood pressure numbers improve.  We’re only a few months into this particular science experiment, but the prognosis is good.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment 479-251-7422

 

 

 

 

We’re All Addicts

Addict-1.  to cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit forming substance.  2.  To occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively. From the freedictionary.com.

Two weeks ago in Sunday school for the teen group, one of the youth leaders, Hershey Garner said, “We are all addicts.”  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  It’s so true.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s heroin overdose this week is another tragic reminder of how hard it is to be in a body on the planet.  For me it is crucial not to look at Phillip Seymour Hoffman from the outside and say, ‘sucks for him.’  It sucks for all of us.  For me it’s crucial that I recognize that I’m no different than him.  No, I’m not a heroin addict, thank God, but I’m a human in a body, dealing with addiction.  We all are.

Whether it’s shopping, eating, working, gambling, alcohol, drugs, drama, or (here’s a good one) the way we repeat our behaviors in relationship, we’re all addicts.

I don’t watch much TV, so  I’m not familiar with Russell Brand’s work.  But I did see a piece he wrote about addiction that was spot on.  I love that the answer, at the end of the piece, his salvation, is another addict.  We’re all addicts.

Another TV reference I’m more familiar with, I have been known to stay up late and watch him because he makes me laugh out loud, is Craig Ferguson.  Craig did a monologue one night about alcohol addiction that is so brutally honest and fabulous.  He speaks as Russell did about the daily life long vigilance it takes to remain substance free.

These are men who see their addiction for what it is and are hitting it head on.

Today in my twitter feed I saw this article from Good Morning America referring to the “biggest study of its kind,” a study linking sugar intake to heart fatalities.  My first reaction was indignation (my own compulsive behavior at work).  ‘How many studies do they have to do to prove this?  Seriously?’  That’s what was happening in my brain.  We have huge buildings across the country filled with poison labeled as food (grocery stores).  In particular I’m fascinated with gas station ‘foods.’  Skittles, M&Ms, Doritos, doughnuts, hot dogs, corn dogs, pizza.  It’s enough to send a raw food gal into post traumatic stress disorder.  And still we have to have more studies to show that it’s causing heart fatalities?

We have a whole country full of nonfood disguised as food, and hospitals full of sickness as a result of nonfood ingestion, so it’s good we have people doing these studies to keep drawing awareness to our food (or nonfood as the case may be) addictions.  According to the Center for Disease Control heart disease is THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH  in the United States.  Hopefully more and more of us will see our addiction for what it is, like Ferguson and Brand, hit it head on, and reclaim our lives.  We are all addicts.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.