As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I’ve embarked on a new dietary path to improve my health markers. This week was one of the big tests, as I got my cholesterol levels tested again. I can honestly say that I was as anxious for this test as I was for any test I’ve gotten.
Moving to a completely different dietary path is a challenge. I’ve been a vegetarian before (college and high school), but going completely plant-based (vegan) takes it up another notch. When I was a vegetarian in college I probably could have also been labeled a “cheese-a-tarian” with how much I loved the yellow and white stuff.
I actually gave up straight milk a long time ago, but processed dairy has always been a staple in my diet. When I went vegan at the end of May, I never really missed meat that much, it was cheese that tugged at me. I’ve tried a couple vegan cheeses and they’re OK, but not the same. Fake cheese sauces are closer to the mark for me, and some local places that make fake mac and cheese are really good. I have also developed a solid love of hummus.
But here’s the question… was it worth it?
The test results are in, and my scores are the lowest that they’ve ever been! My overall level is 157, with an HDL of 45, and an LDL of 88. To put this in to context I’ve never had an LDL below 119 (in the past 10 years), and my most recent (May) LDL was 180. This was a HUGE improvement for me, and although I want to bump my HDL a bit more, I’m very happy with where things landed.
In many ways, it would have been easier to accept defeat, get a bad test result, start taking a statin and go back to my old eating habits. But seeing such a major change makes the challenge all worth it. Now, it’s about changing the mindset and simply recognizing this as the new reality. I’ve discovered a ton of amazing foods over the past 3 months, and thankfully, living in a major metropolitan area means that I have a lot of resources at my disposal for a vegan lifestyle. I think this is all going to be just fine.
And hey, beer is still on the menu!