If you haven’t heard it yet, make sure you go check out the health episode of the VeganFreak radio show. It’s a departure from their normal style and is quite an interesting and informative listen. In the past, they’ve kind of breezed by a lot of health talk, often coming out and saying things like, “I don’t worry much about Omega-3s” and things along those lines. But after Bob was diagnosed with diabetes and high cholesterol and Jenna with high cholesterol, they realized that just being vegan isn’t enough. Thankfully, with some minor diet changes, they really turned things around.
I thought I’d share my own health-related anecdote.
By May 2005, I had been vegan for seven months. The previous year, as a lacto-ovo, my HDLs (good cholesterol) were a tad low and I had a triglyceride reading of 210. Considering under 150 is what one should shoot for, I was pretty far off. That May I thought to myself, “I’ve been vegan for a while now, I’m sure things have improved.” My HDLs were about the same and my triglycerides were actually up to 227. Yikes. The doctor wasn’t overly concerned, but I didn’t like my triglycerides up that high.
Over the next year-and-a-half, my eating habits changed a bit. I relied less on processed fake meats and was generally eating more whole foods. It wasn’t really a conscious effort, but happened naturally.
When I had my blood checked again in December of 2006, my total cholesterol had dropped from 165 to 135, my HDLs were up from 35 to 37 (still a little more work to do here), my LDLs dropped from 85 to 77, and, get this: my triglycerides dropped from 227 to 106. In addition, my cholesterol ratio dropped from 4.7:1 to 3.6:1 (optimal for males is 3.5:1). That was some seriously good change.
I still could stand to be a bit healthier. I eat more sugar than I probably should (cookies) and haven’t been able to get back into a good, regular exercise groove. But, I’m pleased with where simply moving towards more whole foods has gotten me so far, with surprisingly little effort.