Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Update on Lowering My Cholesterol

Since being told I have high cholesterol and signs of a fatty liver, I have been doing what I can to live a healthier lifestyle. It began with cholesterol specific techniques like eating whole cloves of garlic, but I have now realised that a balanced diet and exercise regime is the way to go.

My Grandfather was recently admitted to one of the Safe Harbor care homes in Stoke on Trent and it really got me thinking. He has done pretty well without being too health conscious, but he has outlived my Grandpa, who was a drinker and smoker.

This means I now want to improve all aspects of my health by researching everything I eat. It is very interesting to learn that sugar seems to be the new fat. Cholesterol isn't something we should be focusing on too much; reducing sugar and eating a balanced diet will naturally lead to lower levels. Plus you are more likely to stick at it, I certainly gave up swallowing garlic cloves a long time ago. Whereas I have found it extremely easy to almost phase sugar out of my diet.


MY CURRENT LIFESTYLE:

  • Cycle almost every day on average 5 miles. I am lucky to live in a place with good weather so you might need to get a machine or go jogging. I find myself whistling or even singing when cycling which I would never do in a gym.
  • Play table tennis a few times a week for 20 minutes each time. It is a fun activity to do with my girlfriend and uses different parts of the body to cycling.
  • Never eat anything with sugar in it. Okay I lie, but I have almost cut it out. I now just have a tiny bit of ketchup, sugar free candies and I use Equal sweetener in coffee and tea. After discovering how much sugar is in cereal, I have stopped putting sugar on top and allow some sugary cereals for breakfast. My thinking is that early morning is probably the best time to eat sugar as I should burn it off during the day.
  • Eat fruit most days. Fruit is awesome; I used to hate it and just take a multivitamin. Nowadays I am in love with canteloupe and also enjoy watermelon, white melon, pear and water chestnut. The only other snack I now eat is broad beans which are like a lower fat version of peanuts.
  • I do like to watch the vegetarian activist videos on Youtube and documentaries. They show how badly animals are treated for our meat consumption. This helps me eat a bit less meat which is a good thing.
Plans for future health improvements: more vegetables (considering growing some) and more strenuous exercise like rock climbing which I love (it is just a bit too hot to do where I am now). 

I figure if I keep on this track I shall at least outlive my Grandfather, who is 85, and possibly even avoid the need to go to a care home. I say this because I recently saw a TV show which highlighted "blue zones" in the world where people live longer. 

These elderly people also kept sharper minds, so I will try to never fully retire. Having responsibility in later life also seems to help you stay sharp. Another elderly relative lost her husband, she was not independent at all and was lost, after a few terrible years she died fairly young. 

I think when you are elderly you need to be needed and be of value to the world. This seemed to give the 100 year olds in the TV show the vitality needed to live on and stay mentally sharp. Click here for the Blue Zones website which has tips to live longer.