Sunday, October 16, 2011

JOURNAL: Blood tests back today!

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I gave birth to our second child this summer.  During the pregnancy, I succumbed to my cravings and ate fast food nearly every day.  Since we already met our insurance deductible this year, my doctor thought it would be a good idea to do a blood draw to check my cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Both of my parents are also his patients, so he knows the risks I carry of developing hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, and stroke. 

I wasn't expecting the results to be very good.  I still eat a small amount of meat several times a week, usually in the form of a high priced freezer meal.  I also have 30 lbs. of pregnancy weight to take off.

This is what the letter I received in the mail stated.

"Your thyroid function is perfect...normal blood sugar, normal liver and kidney functions."

I expected those to be fine.  My blood sugar has always been normal (not even gestational diabetes), so no surprises there.  The cholesterol levels were what made me really happy:

"Your [total] cholesterol is wonderful at 131."
Triglycerides are 46.
HDL (good) cholesterol is 59.
LDL (bad) cholesterol is 59.

So what should these levels be?  This is what I learned from the Mayo Clinic website.

Total cholesterol of 200 and below is desirable.
Triglycerides below 150 is desirable (American Heart Association lists below 100 as optimal).
HDL cholesterol of 60 and above is best.
LDL cholesterol of 70 and below is ideal for people at very high risk of heart disease.

WOW!  I'm so excited about these results!

There are easy things that I do every day to keep these levels in the healthy range.  I'm not a doctor or a health professional.  I know there is debate in the news about whether supplements are harmful, but I prefer to use my own experience with my own body as a guide.

Some of the things that seem to help with my blood counts are

1.  Flaxseed Oil.  I take a flaxseed oil capsule every night.  The Omega 3s in flaxseed oil may improve overall cholesterol and trigylceride levels. (

2.  Avoiding saturated fat and transfats.  Most of the meals we eat are vegetarian.  When we do eat meat, it is usually fish or chicken for supper, only eating red meat once every two weeks.  Sometimes I cook with olive oil, but we do use butter and never margarine.

3.  Staying away from fast food.  I've only eaten fast food about three times since my baby was born.

4.  Eating plenty of fiber every day.  In addition to eating mostly fruits and vegetables every day, once a day I take either psyllium powder (Metamucil) or Fiber Choice tablets.  Fiber apparently works like a sponge that soaks up cholesterol in the bloodstream.  ( 

5.  Soy protein shakes most days.  Most afternoons, I drink a soy protein shake made with almond milk and soy protein isolate.  According to a study cited at, a diet high in foods like soy protein may lower LDL cholesterol better than drugs or a lowfat diet.  (Try my coconut protein shake).

I know I'm not in perfect health, but it is great to see that what I'm doing is working. I still need to get back to the gym and start exercising, plus the doctor mentioned I still have weight to lose for a healthy BMI.  It seems like I am predisposed to so many health problems, that I know I have to take care of my body every day instead of waiting for the warning signs of a major condition.

What do you do to take care of your health?

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