I recently learned that my LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) has jumped 30 points in the last year. On one hand, that surprised me; Mr.4444 and I eat mainly lean meats, my fruit and vegetable drawers are always full, I've almost completely given up refined sugar, artificial sweetners and white flour, and I drink almond milk now, instead of dairy milk; I thought I was eating well enough. The trouble with my diet, I have to admit, though, is that I also eat a lot of processed junk food in addition to the good stuff; I'm probably getting far too many calories and saturated and trans fats than I should, and I'm sure I get more than my share of salt.
The second part of lowering my cholesterol is going to be cardio--I do plenty of yoga, but I'm lucky to get one session of cardio in per week; I've been talking about increasing my cardio exercise, but I haven't gotten much further than talking.
I know that stress is the third part of the cholesterol equation, and I really don't feel overly stressed these days, so I'm not worried about that. Besides, yoga should take care of that.
My goal is to lower my cholesterol with diet and exercise and to avoid having to take prescription drugs. What I need to accomplish my goal:
1) Someone to get my butt out of bed on Saturday mornings for bootcamp at YogaHut. (I have one friend lined up for next weekend.) I also need to find some cardio that I like and can do at home, because I know I'm not going to go to a gym in addition to yoga.
2) We like to cook with olive oil, but also with butter. I stood in front of the butter shelf for about five minutes, looking for the best substitute, but I ended up being unable to make a decision and left without buying any. Is there a substitute for butter that melts well, tastes good and isn't worse for your health than butter? Maybe we should just keep the butter but cut back even more than we already have? I'm also going to need some recommendations for chips that will make me happy but not kill me. Any suggestions?
Reduce my consumption of cheese--I live in Wisconsin, for crying out loud--How am I going to eat less cheese?! I love cheese!!!
3) Education: I need to learn how often I can eat chicken and pork. We mostly eat those two meats, but apparently we eat too much of them? Is eating eggs just on weekends okay? (I don't want to give up Mr.4444's delicious veggie omelets! My coworker swears by fish oil (the "burpless" kind). Does fish oil really reduce cholesterol? How? How can I satisfy my desire for salty, crunchy snacks?
4) Willpower. Where am I going to get that? I need to eat dinner and then stop eating for the night; it's that simple.
I guess I have a lot of homework to do. Today, I started back to using SparkPeople for tracking what I eat; that should help. I'm also open to other suggestions. Yes, I'm aware that there's a thing called the Internet for searching this stuff, but it's overwhelming; it's tough to wade through all of the information, and I'd rather trust blog reader recommendations for food that tastes good than strangers in random forums. I know that many, many people struggle with these same issues. Hopefully, some of you have recommendations for me!