Day 5 of the Lower Cholesterol Challenge

In case you didn’t know, I just found out I have borderline high cholesterol.  This means different things to different doctors.  For instance, my doc in New York wasn’t worried since my good-to-bad cholesterol ratio was still good, and I don’t have any risk factors.  However, my SF doctor thinks my bad cholesterol level should be much lower, and even mentioned meds if it’s worse by the time I get it checked again in October.

So now I’m obsessed.  In my last post, you can see that I went as far as to create a table showing how my numbers increased since 2007.  I won’t go that far this time.

Since Friday, I’ve had oatmeal with skim milk and raisins for breakfast every morning.  I need it a little sweet so I add half a teaspoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of, yes, maple syrup.  I should use honey but maple syrup is so much tastier, and I figure I don’t add that much.

When we’ve gone out to eat, I’ve opted mostly for fish (not fried).  For instance, from our favorite Thai restaurant, I got salmon steamed in a bamboo leaf, which was DELICIOUS, mostly because of this amazing (non-creamy) chili garlic sauce.  When we went to Mel’s, I got the Yuppie Scramble, two eggs scrambled with ground turkey and various veggies.

I’m not sure what the verdict is on eggs.  I keep reading that the yolk is high in cholesterol but nutritious at the same time.  I guess it’s safest to limit yolk intake to a few times a week.

MB got donuts the other night and I resisted.  Yay!

Last night we had Mexican and avoided anything cheesy.  Instead I had their clear chicken soup, which is packed with vegetables, and a chicken mole dish with no cheese on the beans.

I’ve been trying to have green tea every day, along with more tea in general.  I usually have ginger tea after meals, but have started incorporating rooibus tea again, mostly just to change things up.  Plus tea makes me feel full after a meal and less likely to grab a cookie.

Yesterday some of my co-workers were going out for lunch, but I got mine first.  One, because I was starving and couldn’t wait, and two, I didn’t want to be stuck with a lot of high fat options.  I really wanted my pasta with tuna – and no mayo – random veggies, and pretzels.

I noticed that the two Indian guys at work never snack.  They have their lunch, and then coffee or tea for the rest of the afternoon, but no chips or cookies or anything.  They’re not necessarily thinner than my co-workers who *do* snack, but I think it’s an interesting cultural dynamic.

My snack yesterday?  Plain yogurt with a cut-up nectarine and honey.  Usually I have just a nonfat yogurt that already has fruit, but I realize that if I don’t have this kind of snack, I can go for weeks without having any fresh fruit.  I don’t know why.  I need veggies every day, but I can live without fruit.

This obsessiveness should die down in a week or two.  I find I need to be obsessed in the beginning in order to make changes into habits that I no longer need to think about.


  1. Oh, I feel for your obsession. There is supposed to take 3-6 weeks for new habit to stick and it sounds like you’re finding good and still tasty options. I switched from coffee to tea a long time ago and find tea is so fun! I have 2 cups of green tea (from one bag) and then shake it up in the afternoon with some fruit/herbal tea. The green tea is appetite suppressing and I drink it quite slowly so it’s an obstacle to go and get something else.

    I’m on about Day 3 of being conscientious about what I eat and find myself thinking about food ALL OF THE TIME. It’s annoying!

    • wyn, i just read somewhere today that it takes about three weeks for habits to set in, so to not deviate from your routine for at least three weeks.

      green tea actually makes me really hungry. not immediately, but about an hour after i have cup, my stomach’s growling. weird.

  2. Cut out dairy. That’s huge right there. And switch all your refined grains to whole grain (white rice to brown, white bread to whole wheat or even sprouted grain). Keep eating the good fish (salmon). You can even buy high quality canned salmon at Whole Foods. It’s like $2.60 a can. Use olive oil when you can. Those are really easy things that make a big difference.

  3. Ugh…this is so hard to do. I’m trying to change my eating habits as we speak but think I’m losing the fight.

    Good luck!