Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Fat Of The Land

Went for the results of my cholesterol check today. Oh, bloody hell. The figure quoted sounded like a Richter measurement of a massive earthquake, or the number given to a very severe gale force wind on the Beaufort Scale. It's so bad I can hardly say it.

OK, it was 8.

Apparently my veins are full of lard and from now on I need to live on porridge. Dry porridge at that. Or for a special treat I'm allowed a bowl of curried dust. Marvellous.

I'm totally puzzled by this revelation and I am struggling to understand how so much of my "good" cholesterol turned so, so bad on me. What on earth did I do to offend it? And when did things get to this pretty pass? How can I possibly have a cholesterol of 8? Looking at the wall chart given to me by my GP (foods which are either good, not too bad or a ticking bomb, only to be eaten by those with suicidal tendencies) I still can't see where I've been going so wrong. True, I have been known to snaffle the odd chip now and then, or a bit of Brie, but generally speaking I am a careful eater. I even put my specs on to read food labels whilst I'm shopping, checking the fat content of everything in a particularly nerdy way. Yes, I know I waxed lyrical about Waitrose's Gourmet Sausage but I hardly ever actually eat one in reality. So how the hell I've managed to exchange my blood for a river of cooking oil, I really don't know.

I don't want to end up on cholesterol lowering drugs, so come on everyone, tell me how to reduce this terrible number to something more respectable. Three or four would be nice, but I'd settle for a five if that's all you can manage.

But don't say "give up chocolate". That would be silly.


Suzy said...

It's the old gene pool sometimes, I'm afraid.

Some of my friends have it and it's just in their biological make up. (and their age)

No, giving up chocolate is not good.
That would raise your blood pressure!



Pam said...

Cholestrol has always baffled me. They have an advert over here where a jogging health nut has really high levels (course they are pushing meds, like all adverts do over here) so it makes no sense to me. Like Suzy said - maybe it's genetic?

Expatmum said...

Fruits and veg. Sorry luv but it has to be. Of course it may have you running for the loo all the time, but that would be exercise and even better for you.
Some people are pre-disposed to higer levels unfortunately, but if you look at it as something medical, rather like a diabetic has to do, it might be easier to live with than a 'punishment'. As someone with family histories of all sorts of awful things, I find I crave salads and fruit if I don't have them on a daily basis.

Irene said...

Might you possibly be overweight? A very healthy and sensible diet is the solution. You'd be amazed at what people eat unawares when they don't keep track of their food intake. I had high cholesterol when I was overweight. It turned out that I ate good food, but still with too much fat content. Sorry if this doesn't apply to you.

Flutterby said...

First of all, oat bran did it for me. Second, there are 3 components of a cholesterol test to take into consideration: (1) HDL (2) LDL and (3) triglycerides. The important thing is the ratio of HDL to LDL. HDL is good. Combined with a low triglyceride level the outlook gets brighter.

The Grocer said...

Yes I have high cholestrol but low blood pressure. Hopefully they cancel each other out.
Stop worrying, when your times up its up.

Tina said...

Stop going to get your cholesterol measured. That will sort it out in no time.

travelling, but not in love said...

I have a friend who is stick thin, eats too healthily for words, never drinks, never eats dessert - and she has high cholesterol.

Seems like it's a lottery, dearest. But good that you know - now you can spend the next forty years worrying about it. Life's much better with something to worry about.

Norman said...

Well SM. Since I have all but taken up permanent residence in Cyprus, metaphorically speaking, I've never felt better.
The secret? Mediterranean diet.
Basically eat what's available, that doesn't mean buckets of salad. The main trick is to cut out or at least cut down on butter and marge. I use olive oil instead.
But then I'm a veggie anyway. But that shouldn't make all that much difference. The Greeks live on mutton and beef. Think of all that souvlaki and stiffado.

Anonymous said...

What about a small asprin every morning , or a large gin at night
Or eat real butter instead of joking veggie ones.
A black T shirt is good too
I agree with TBNIL dont worry lifes too short.

Kitschen Pink said...

Don't 'they' say it's ok to eat chocolate but it's better to eat the really really fancy expensive stuff - booja booja would be my choice - not sure what 'they' would say about the alcohol content or the creamy coating but hey! a girl can only do so much! t.x

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Suzy, think you are right. Trust me to have fat genes, typical!

Pam, cholesterol baffles me too, just can't get to grips with it.

Expatmum, love the veggies and salads, etc., maybe it's time to stop smothering them in Hellmann's mayonnaise?

Hi Irene, yes I am prone to the podge but am always fighting back with a vengence. Hopefully cutting back on the fat will mean that I lose a bit too.

Flutterby, have just bought my first pack of Oat-bran. Are you sure it's not hampster bedding?

Hello Grocer, you are quite right as always. And anyway, who can live without cheese?

Hi Tina, as always you offer the perfect solution. Love it.

Thanks Travelling, knew I could rely on you to put things into perspective. Party on dude.

Norman, hello. I think it helps being a vegetarian, there's a whole lot of fat in them there sausages.

Hiya Valleys Mam, real butter? What a lovely thought.

Hello Kitschen Pink, you are of course quite correct about the chocolate - the posher the better in my opinion!

Working mum said...

Does a glass of wine cancel out some cholesterol? Please say yes.

Swearing Mother said...

Working Mum: Yes, of course it does and two glasses do it twice as well.


Miriam said...

My family has bad cholesterol genes too, of 5 brothers, only 1 is not on c lowering drugs. He takes Udo's choice oil, it's brilliant, not just for c, also for brain (seriously!) hormones (stop laughing and go and buy it!. You det it in health shops, and take just 1 TEASPOON a day, not what it says on the box, to start. I take it a lot now, but so not to take chances, I also take 1 Lecithin capsule a day, also from health shop. Using these2, mine has come down from 6 to 4!Oh, nuts9 esp brazil) are also good for lowering c, as is exercise and, sorry, losing weight. Hope some of this appeals! mimi

Miriam said...

Sorry, get it, not det it, mimi

Miriam said...

and forget the 9 after nuts, God I really have to read these posts before clicking on publish! mimi

Housewifeinthehighlands said...

I read somewhere once that if you drink red wine with your meal, the red wine wraps around the fat and it then passes through your system without being absorbed by the body. That is why the French with their meat and cheese and rich foods enjoy better health than us. It's the best excuse I ever heard for choosing wine over water at the dinner table.

Swearing Mother said...

Miriam, you sure you haven't been following housewifeinthehighlands' advice re wrapping red wine around your food, or something like that?

Thanks for the tips though, am off down the health food shop ASAP.

Housewife: I always wondered how they do it, will be drinking red wine at every meal from now on. Ta for that.

Norman said...

The glass of wine bit?
Oh yes! It IS part of the Mediterranean diet, it has to be red of course.

When I'm in Cyprus I drink it more than I drink tea back here in Blighty. An' I don't get drunk, - honesht.

Miriam said...

Actually, I have, but hoped I wouldn't be found out, and I've been choosing the wrong colour!By the time you've downed the Udo's, the lecithin and the red wine, you'll be so full you won't want to eat.Now for 2 final tips, dark choc is supposed to be good, and my doctor says if you can eat your main meal before 6 that's good too, apparently most cholesterol is made after 6?? Please let us know how this new regime goes, now I'm off to spellcheck, mimi

Maggie May said...

The G I diet is good for this type of thing. There are lots of books on the subject from all big bookstores or even places like Tescos.
If you are genetically programmed to high cholesterol then it is harder to control but lots of fruit is a good idea. Hope you find a way of controlling it that suits you.

DogLover said...

Oh, bad luck, swearingmother.

I have a few points to make. 1. had you eaten when you had the blood test? It should be a "fasting test".

2. Please go by what the medics tell you; the rest of us have our fancy ideas, but who knows whether they're right or just old wives' tales?

3. I understand that what Flutterby says is correct. Your high score of 8 may not be quite so bad if your LDL reading is low.

4. Ignoring everything and eat what you like - is not a good idea. Fat round the arteries is not a good idea. Bits can detach themselves and go on a trip through your blood vessels and cause a heart attack, which is not a good idea; or they can reach your brain and jam a blood vessel, causing a stroke. Having seen what a stroke did to a member of my family, I think that is not a good idea, either.

Cholesterol-lowering tablets are a good idea, in my experience.

And how's all that for an old wife's tale?

Whatever you do, good luck to you!

laurie said...

i don't know what 8 means. here in the states the number is in the hundreds. it shouldn't be much over 150, i think, or they worry. my mother is near 300 and i worry very much.

oatmeal, oat bran, cheerios--anything with oats will help.

less butterfat will help.

regular exercise will help.

losing weight will help.

i know it all sounds dreadfully boring but i do NOT want you to have a stroke. that would be much worse.

you can still have chocolate...

good luck to you.

CrazyCath said...

I don't understand these figures so I say keep the chocolate. And the wine.

And follow doglover's advice. Seems very sensible to me. Heart attacks and strokes are not a good idea, but stress can contribute to. Oh and so do the cigs. Do you smoke?
So no stress. Inform the family of that. NO STRESS = LOADSA CHOC.

That's my recipe. ;0)

(Seriously - hope you're ok. Don't panic. Follow GP advice or doglover's advice if GP crap. Which they often are.)

CrazyCath said...

I like tina's advice too.

Ignorance is bliss in my book. I have *no idea* what my cholesterol level is and have no intention of finding out.

aims said...

Grapefruit. Pink grapefruit in particular as it's so yummy!

I was up there too and taking those drugs but I had to give up grapefruit to take them and decided to do it myself. Being a celiac helps I think as I don't eat anything with gluten in it.

My cholesterol today is just fine. So you can do it too!

Google 'how to lower your cholesterol without drugs' and see what it says.

And have a dark chocolate while your reading...:0)

Mean Mom said...

Mmmm - curried dust! That should do it!

That Activia stuff does it, according to Gloria Hunniford. She wouldn't lie, would she? Not even for money, surely?

If you like yoghurt, it's worth a try.

Now you've made me wonder whether I should have mine checked. Sigh.

Swearing Mother said...

Norman, more tea than red wine, eh? You little tinker.

Hi Miriam, it's a work in progress and I am so missing butter.

Thanks Maggie, will have a look at those books, they sound useful.

Hello Doglover, thanks for the advice, am doing OK with the low-fat diet so far, but hell, it's boring.

Hiya Laurie, thanks for that. Oats, oats and more oats, that's me at the moment.

My breakfast looks like something from the bottom of a hampster's cage.

Hi Cath, GP not too bad, just a party-pooper, but I am taking the advice very seriously.

Aims, don't you find the trouble with grapefruit is that you have to smother it in sugar so that it doesn't make you wince?

Hi Mean Mom, yes please go and get your cholesterol checked and let me know if it's higher than mine!

Bathsheba said...

Porridge, until it comes out of your ears. Fish. No cheese. Worked for me.

Swearing Mother said...

Bathsheba, hi. There's no getting away from it, porridge seems to be the common ingredient in all these suggestions. Oh joy.

Frankofile said...

porridge oats, water, frozen red fruit,microwaved for 2 mins 30 secs then slushed in soy milk. Much better than it sounds. I could live on it. Perhaps I should.

Swearing Mother said...

Bonjour Frankofile! Thanks for the recipe, sounds delicious!

aims said...

Well SM - if you must smother the grapefruit - smother it in sugar twin or Splenda..I hear Splenda is the better of the two....

I got use to eating them without any sugar for a while - just peel and eat - like an orange...these days those - it's sugar twin for me...I still love it.

Swearing Mother said...

Aims, grapefruit with no sugar? Are you a sadist?? Makes me pucker up just thinking about it.

Lindsey said...

Hi, I'm the daughter of Frankofile. I'm 23 and don't eat badly except for I just can't give up chocolate and Starbucks Iced Mocha's - it's really very bad I should stop! I found out this year that I have high cholesterol that's hereditary. My cholesterol was first found to be at a scary 7.9 Last time it was checked I was just under 7 and I'm getting another test done this Friday. I'm glad you have made a blog about it because some people have put some really useful comments.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Lindsey, thanks so much for your interesting comment. It's annoying to have to watch your cholesterol at 23, but I read in the papers yesterday that a proposal has been made to test some school age children for inherited hyper-cholesterolaemia and put them on statins if necessary. What a shame that is.

That brought my worries into perspective, somewhat. As a kid I ate everything that wasn't nailed down and didn't worry about the health issues, although we didn't have burgers etc then or much processed food at all, so it was easier to eat good plain food than it is now.

It's hard to be told you've got a high cholesterol when you think you're following a good diet. Let me know what your new test shows, maybe we could form our own support group!

lovely to read you. I agree that the comments here are really useful, and also make you realise that you are not alone!