High Cholesterol High Jinks
Hit with high cholesterol, I became an artery antique shop owner. Must now swap heroic capes for collard greens and fight buttery beasts. Tips welcome!
High Cholesterol High Jinks

High cholesterol wasn’t what I had expected to hear

OK so: a suspenseful few weeks back I played a leading role in the thrilling series “Bloodwork: The Vampiric Chronicles” — a blockbuster produced by my family MD. Scene one: the setup, scheduled by Doc a month in advance (I imagine, to build dramatic tension). Scene two: Yours truly in the lab, offering my best vein for a ceremonious withdrawal of the red stuff. And… cut!

Cue the weeks of nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat waiting, where I became a Zen master of patience. Truth be told, I basked in the eerie silence from the doc’s office and thought, “Score! I’m probably so healthy I’m off the charts!” After all, as the wise folks often quip: “No news is good news”— especially when it’s about escaping the dreaded callback from the doctor. I’d like to thank the Academy, my veins, and my overly optimistic brain for this peace of mind.

Well, there I was, just minding my own beeswax when – ring, ring! – the old telephone decides to pull me into a real-life cliffhanger. It’s the doctor’s office on the other end: they want to chit-chat about my bloodwork and schedule an appointment. Cue the dramatic music! In my head, it was like I’d just been handed an exclusive invite to a mystery event. “Yikes,” I thought. “This is either about my secret superpowers finally showing up in my blood, or they’ve spotted that I’m 1/10th coffee at this point.”

But let’s face it, we all know the drill – getting a callback from the doc can send anyone’s mind racing to the extremes. Do I have a rare, ungoogleable condition? Is my blood actually made of undiscovered elements? I could almost hear the drumroll as I contemplated whether I’d have to step up and save the world with my extraordinary… cholesterol levels? Stay tuned for the next episode of “As My Stomach Turns: The Suspense of the Blood Test Results!”

So, I got the ol’ ring-a-ding on the tele, and guess what? Yours truly is the proud owner of high cholesterol! Huge sigh of relief – I’m not immortal after all. But hold the applause, because this body of mine is now on a mission to bring those rebellious cholesterol levels to their knees. Turns out, dancing through the later years with high cholesterol can turn the party into a bit of a snoozefest. So, it’s time to show those cholesterol numbers who’s boss before they start any real trouble!

High Cholesterol can’t be all that bad, right?

High cholesterol is a serious matter

Yes, it is, having high cholesterol after the age of 50 is like suddenly realizing that your body has taken up a hobby without your permission. And not a fun hobby like scrapbooking or gardening — no, it’s more like amateur interior decorating with a morbid twist. Your arteries, once slick speedways for blood cells, become more like those crammed antique shops; each LDL – a tiny cholesterol knick-knack – adds to the clutter, until the blood has to shuffle through an artery full of fatty deposits like a customer trying not to knock anything over.

It’s said that with age comes wisdom, but apparently, wisdom is quite the cholesterol hog. In this case, wisdom seems to whisper, “Let them eat cake!” whilst your doctor is screaming from the sidelines, “Please don’t!” High cholesterol also brings a whiff of culinary nostalgia, a throwback to the good old days when ‘trans fat’ was just an unfortunate car transmission issue rather than a dietary concern.

Do not forget the social aspect of being in the high cholesterol club post-50. It gives you something in common with so many peers; you’re all members of the “Nitro Nitrate Noshers,” swapping tales about statins at dinner parties instead of boasting about who has the loudest grandchild. Your cheese platter conversation starter? “This brie is delicious, but I’ll have to enjoy it in moderation, lest I give my arteries a reason to hold a grudge.”

You might even find a sense of achievement in hitting high scores — only these aren’t found in an arcade game but rather on your lipid panel. You might overhear, “Beat my high score, and I’ll let you have my appointment with the cardiologist!” as you compare numbers like cholesterol conquistadors in the waiting room.

In essence, having high cholesterol is your body’s way of telling you that, while your youthful spirit is appreciated, maybe it’s time to slow down the wild dietary ride and maybe pedal your way to a future where oatmeal is your best breakfast buddy and leafy greens become your leafy lean —for the heart, of course!

Tips for reducing high cholesterol levels

Lower your high cholesterol
lower your high cholesterol
  1. Eat high-fibre foods: whole and multigrain as your major sources of carbohydrates; soluble fibres such as oat bran, psyllium & barley are great.
  2. Use unsaturated fats such as olive/canola oils & non-hydro-generated margarine; use these in their raw states. Try not to fry your food.
  3. Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables; 2 vegetables at lunch and 2 at supper; eat 2-3 fruits every day; eat fruit as nutritious snacks.
  4. Eat adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids; which are found naturally in darker fish such as salmon & tuna and ground flax seed. There are now omega-3-containing foods on the market such as omega-3 eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk and ice cream.
  5. Eat lower glycemic index foods. These foods will help you lose weight, lower your bad high cholesterol (LDL) and increase your good cholesterol (HDL). The Internet is a great source of information. Search for “glycemic index”.
  6. Regular physical activity. Do 30 minutes/day; walking is great!
  7. A healthy body weight. If you are overweight, try to lose 10% of your present weight.

Ok, #1 Is not so bad. I’m already eating high-fiber foods so I can just continue that. #2 I don’t see a problem switching out the vegetable oil to olive oil when I need oil in my food preparation. #3 I eat fruit every morning and on my breaks at work. So I’m already on the right track there it seems.

#4 is the one I have an issue with. I do NOT eat fish. I do NOT like fish. I do NOT like the smell of fish. I do NOT like the look of fish. BARF! Nope, not gonna do it. Going to have to find another source of omega-3. #5 is going to be a tough one. I like my occasional Pepsi, I like my beer, and I like my coffee. I don’t drink a lot of Pepsi, and I do indulge in beer on my days off. Coffee is a must-have in the mornings! This one is going to be hard.

#6 I already have in the bag. I walk over 10K steps a day at work.

#7, *sigh* I’m a fat ass. Losing 10% would mean I’d have to drop 26 lbs. Hopefully staying clear of all those bad foods I need to steer clear from will help me achieve that goal. Besides, summer is just around the corner and that’s when I’m more active in the garden.

Going to have to get the gardening started soon

It turns out my arteries have been moonlighting as hoarders of high cholesterol, so it’s time to make a strategic pivot in this year’s greenhouse gala. The stars of the show will be none other than the leafy virtuosos of the vegetable world, ready to jazz up my salads with their nutrient-packed performances. As we’re still gallivanting through the depths of winter, it’s “cold crops” on the marquee for their stunning ability to brave the chill.

Now, to outwit Mother Nature’s frosty temperament, I’ve enlisted the help of a trusty Chinese Diesel Heater – it’s like a warm hug for my green darlings during the night and any daytime solar eclipses. But let’s give credit where it’s due: on those gloriously sunny days, the greenhouse morphs into a self-sustaining tropical paradise, no heater required. Now, if only I could train my veggies to sing “hot, hot, hot” on command, we’d really have a party on our hands.

What is this Chinese Diesel Heater you speak of?

For those who haven’t heard about these Chinese Diesel Heaters, get your head out of the dirt. They’re a hot (pardon the pun) topic with a lot of shop owners and Gardening Green Thumbs. It’s probably one of the cheapest ways to heat either a workshop or a greenhouse. I got mine a week ago and I tested it out on the weekend I was amazed at the heat output and one tank gave me almost 30 hours of running time keeping the greenhouse at a steady 20’C.

I am using mine to get a head start on the growing season because now that I have high cholesterol I need to focus on eating healthier and with today’s grocery prices there’s no way we can afford to buy from those crooks at Loblaws and Sobeys. So growing our own, hopefully year-round, a heater like this will make it easier and more affordable to do so.

Maybe I’ll put a post together about these heaters sometime soon if I have the time. There are tons of reviews on them already, but if you’d like that, let me know in the comments below. But for now, this post is about high cholesterol.

…And They All Lived Healthily Ever After?

Conclusion

As I bring down the curtain on this harrowing tale of suspense, intrigue, and high cholesterol, it’s essential to remember that even though my arteries have been hoarding more lipids than a black-market butter dealer, the journey to reclaiming the highways of my bloodstream begins with a single step – preferably one that does not involve stepping into a deep-fried food fantasy.

Having high cholesterol in your golden years is akin to finding out that your superhero power is generating plaque at the speed of light. It’s not exactly what you hope for when you’re planning to save the world one leafy green at a time, but hey, it’s something to put on your next job application under “special skills”!

As I embark on this epic quest to defy the gravitational pull of cheese and reroute my internal traffic from Cholesteropolis to Veggieville, I invite all of you, my dear kindred spirits, to share your own tales of dietary derring-do below. Got some war stories about battling the buttery beast within? Or perhaps a secret weapon (recipe) that could level up our collective fight against high cholesterol? Drop your nuggets of wisdom in the comments section – think of it as a potluck, but instead of food, we’re serving up life-saving tips.

In finer print, remember that while laughter is a glorious medicine, it’s sadly not lipid-soluble. So, let’s chuckle our way through the ups and downs, share our thoughts, and transform this comments section into a treasure trove of high cholesterol-conquering strategies that would make even our overworked doctors crack a smile.

And with that, I bid thee farewell, intrepid readers! Don your metaphorical armour made of fibre-rich steel and join me in vanquishing the villainous VLDLs lurking in our bloodstream. To the comment section, noble knights of nutrition! Your keystrokes might just save a heart – or at the very least, provide a chuckle or two amidst the battle. 🏹💖

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