Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

My Husband’s Real Food Report Card

November 17th, 2009 · 15 Comments · Uncategorized

It was like getting the ACT results in the mail.  My hands were trembling as I haphazardly tore open the envelope.  Inside were some numbers that I felt might validate all the effort, the research, the time in the kitchen.  Even though I wasn’t sure I put much stock in the numbers, I still wanted to see them look good.

My husband’s yearly blood work tests came back.

He’s struggled with high triglycerides and low HDL, and that coupled with a radical family history of heart disease and early heart attack, has always made me nervous.  He’s been working out more this year than ever before (but fallen off the wagon a bit this month), and we’ve made soooo many changes in our diet.

We get raw, whole, grass-fed milk from a farm.  We get grass-fed beef from a different farm.  We eat only full-fat dairy and real butter.  We’ve gotten rid of the trans fats in our home (but not in our lives as eating out is still an occasional occurrence).  We eat very little white flour in the home; almost everything is whole grain.  There’s so much more, but I can’t even think of what exactly was supposed to help his trigs and HDL.

The Good News
  • Triglycerides down from 331 to 221.  (The doctor said after hubby asked that trigs can change by the hour.  We wonder:  WHY is this a valid test of overall health once a year?)
  • HDL UP from 36 to 50 (We were told that for men, HDL is very hard to bring up.  His wasn’t bargain basement low, but it was close, all of the last 3 years.  Huge success!)
  • The ratio of overall cholesterol:HDL was flagged last year for being too low.  This year it’s looking just right!
The Bad News
  • 221 is still too high for trigs; they should be around 150.  Two years ago he was at 192 after an initial reading the year before that at 371.
  • The total cholesterol number went up about 15 points, and it did the same last year compared to the year before.  :(
  • His LDL (bad) cholesterol went up about 20 points, but it’s still marked “good”.
What we do Next
  • A lower carb diet will help my husband’s triglycerides get even lower. Fewer breads and a lot less soda pop should be the goal!  (Christmas cookies will be a terrible temptation.)
The Big Question

Before I even read the results, I wondered if all of it would really matter.  High cholesterol is only scary or unhealthy if the cholesterol either causes injury, sickness or death. I have read that cholesterol is more like the paramedics coming to fix an issue that someone is having away from the hospital.  So I think I won’t worry, even though I was a little crushed after receiving the results.  There has to be something not quite right there, but I’m thrilled that they’re going in the right direction.  We’ll keep doing what we’re doing with the healthy, nourishing food, and hubby can supplement a little to keep his immune system up.

Thanks for letting me share a little.   Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  (And Happy Birthday to my Honey, as well!)

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15 Comments so far ↓

  • emily

    this is so interesting. im confused about the trig comment made by the doctor as well, i mean if it’s so terrible to have a high result, and it has supposedly so much validity, how can it change every hour?
    .-= emily´s last blog ..Romantic Dinner for Two (and a baby!): Duck Confit with Buttercup Squash Pancakes =-.

  • JulieVW

    Thanks for sharing. We’re making changes in our diet to lower my husbands triglicerides and glucose – your family is helping me to be inspired

  • Erin

    Great results…don’t be discouraged. Do some research about cholesterol and you’ll realize those numbers aren’t the be all and end all of health and, in fact, they might not mean much.

  • Melissa @CelluliteInvestigation

    Have you read The Doctor’s Heart Cure by Dr. Al Sears? He writes about addressing heart problems through nutrition and exercise and his food philosophy is in line with what I’ve read on your blog. Just thought I would suggest it in case you haven’t read it already. Maybe you could pick up something new to add to your Real Food strategy, although it sounds like you’re doing a great job already!
    .-= Melissa @CelluliteInvestigation´s last blog ..Cellulite File: “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay =-.

  • Phoebe @ Cents to GetDebt Free

    Cholesterol tests are a source of a lot of frustration for me! My DH went in a few months back for various other things. He needed blood drawn for something, so they decided to do a cholesterol screening on him. His results came back, and I liked to DIE. His numbers were huge! It finally occured to me, that you have to fast for a cholesterol test. I immediately called the doctors office and told them that they needed to run a new one, because this one was obciously not accurate. Their response–It’s close enough. Huh???? If you are going to medicate my husband, “accurare enough” is not a phrase you should be using!

    Anyway, we’re trying to make a lot of big changed to our diet, as well. I just often wonder exactly how important those numbers really are. You guys seem to be doing really well. :)
    .-= Phoebe @ Cents to GetDebt Free´s last blog ..Decorating Cupcakes With Children =-.

    Katie Reply:

    Phoebe,
    I can’t believe they would even run the test w/o fasting!! Sheesh. Modern medicine baffles me sometimes. The only good thing about the numbers not being quite where they should be is that it’s incentive to cut even more junk out of hub’s diet. ;)
    Katie

  • Kathryn

    I don’t think i’ve commented before. I found you not too long ago (probably thru Cheeseslave, but i’m not sure).

    I recently discovered a blog by a cardiologist in Wisconsin that is very much worth reading (i’ve gotten about 18 months in the archives now). He doesn’t think in a manner that is similar to other docs & he frequently comments on numbers & states why some are healthy at higher numbers than others. He is a proponent of diet as treatment rather than conventional medicine & recommends calcium heart scans (i think they are called) rather than other, invasive things. He says most cardiologists don’t know what to do with these scans as they don’t know how to prevent heart disease, only to give Rx. It is well worth the time to check it out.

    http://heartscanblog.blogspot.
    .-= Kathryn´s last blog ..Funny bits =-.

    Katie Reply:

    Kathryn,
    Fascinating! I’m checking it out now!
    Thank you, Katie

  • Heather

    Any advice on what specifically helps to bring up HDL (good cholesterol)? My other cholesterol looks good…

    heather

    Katie Reply:

    Heather,
    Off the top of my head, I think more monounsat fats like avocado are one solution.
    Here are the bookmarked links on my computer, not that we’ve done all of them:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18575296?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=6&fid=927296&jid=&volumeId=&issueId=02&aid=927292&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0007114506002145
    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/85/3/709
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18548846
    That should give you a place to start!
    Best of luck – Katie

  • Heather

    Thanks for your links you shared! Do you know if coconut milk, almond milk or soy milk would be a better heart choice for using in my coffee or tea?

    Thanks for your great info. on your site!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..What Keeps Me Busy These Days… =-.

    Katie Reply:

    Heather,
    I would vote a big N-O on the soy milk. I haven’t posted on it, but see this post and the answers to “worst possible food you could eat”: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/01/28/real-food-face-off-cheeseslave-vs-sarahs-musings/

    Almond and coconut might be a toss-up. I don’t really know! :) Katie

  • Judie

    your cholesterol should be at least 200. danger zone would be over 300. if you do some research you will discover its CALCIUM that is causing bloicked arteries and now cholesterol. Vit K 2 will keep the calcium out of the blood and in the bones where it belongs!

  • Amy

    I haven’t totally searched your site… But since you mentioned low carb have you looked into the unhealthy unnatural-ness of wheat? And I’m not talking about the white fluffy stuff… All wheat. I’m reading the book Wheat Belly by Willian Davis MD. http://www.amazon.com/Wheat-Belly-Lose-Weight-Health/dp/1609611543/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315247538&sr=1-1

    It’s been very eye opening. I am attempting to go wheat free at least experimentally for a few weeks to see if I notice any differences like he mentions in his book(I honestly just want to lose a few pounds) but I’m on a journey to find the most wholesome and natural food for my family. You site has been a wealth of information for me! Thank you!!!

    Katie Reply:

    Amy,
    We had amazing success w/ my husband’s Crohn’s symptoms when we went grain-free last fall, and he stays “low gluten” if not gf completely now. You are right! :) Katie

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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