Have you ever been painted a picture about something that’s just not good. Only to find out for yourself that that dark, bleak and unhealthy picture isn’t actually all that bad? Well that’s my feeling on certain health issues and one in particular, cholesterol. Man, it gets a bad rap. The diagnosis from your doctor brings the unknown front and center. With a likely diagnosis of HIGH cholesterol, the tailspin that ensues with a clear focus on fixing what’s not-within-the-reference-range of numbers as the number one measure, often follows with prescription medication and that it’s not good stuff. Am I right? Has that happened to you or anyone you know? What’s sad is that the conversation doesn’t usually start with Hmm, what can I do to give my cholesterol making machine – aka my liver – some love. Or a deep look into how did I get here? Nope, it’s usually something like AHHHH my cholesterol is high, give me the fix. But do you take the fix or do the work? Do you adjust your diet and life enough to really make an impact, or kinda half heartedly do some research but still eat the high fat cheese for instance, cause, you know … it tastes good. Knowing that there’s a pill out there and as it’s so common to be on medication, somehow this situation has become – can I be bold enough to say – NORMAL?! There are imbalances in our body that lead to bigger issues, and this situation is one of them. But what about having too low cholesterol? Do you understand the function of cholesterol and what it does in your body? How crucial it is for hormonal health; especially the sex hormones, making healthy cell membranes and it’s role in vitamin D? And what’s underneath the seeming damage that cholesterol can have on heart health? This is a doozy of a topic, that could turn into a few parts, because as we unpack this topic, there’s no doubt going to be more questions that come up to answer. So today on EAT THIS with Lianne, cholesterol. The good, the bad and why we need it. And to break it down, we welcome back health coach Jason Persaud to help us.
I did my nutrition training in London, England, where I lived for 15 years, after moving back to Toronto in 2001, it was a trade off of me going there and my parents coming here so we could see each other. My parents had lived here for about 40 years or more, so it wasn’t a hardship to come back. One trip, my dad had a bad fall and fell down the stairs into the basement apartment I was living in at the time. Bruised, broken handed and rather battered, what came of that accident was the knowing that he had super high blood pressure and high cholesterol. What’s that that they say about silver linings? Fast forward a couple of years and he ended up having a heart attack in 2003. Scary stuff as I was in Canada and he was in England. I flew over to see him and remember wondering what the doctors were doing with all the meds that he was on, and why didn’t dad just give up his thick pastry covered pork pies, hefty slices of extra old cheddar and his favourite stilton with port. I think I actually blamed the start of all this on the fried bread that he ate when I was a kid, but what I had learned as I was going through my training at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition was not what I was seeing from the hospital care of my dad, nor the advice from his doctors. The focus on the numbers was what got me. It was all about the numbers and where his were within the reference ranges of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I had learned something different during my training.
The best explanation that I ever heard about cholesterol—this waxy, fatty substance. Is that it helps your body make cell membranes or the walls of all your cells that nutrients pass in and out of, and has a role in vitamin D, is that as your liver makes the stuff, it’s needed. Further to that, an analogy helped nail what this stuff does so I hope it helps you too. See your liver as the fire station and you already know that it’s part processing plant. The fire trucks go out and about through your arteries and if they see a fire, aka oxidative damage to cells and inflammation that need the fire put out, or even a repair, the fire fighters lay down cholesterol in an attempt to protect and heal. Now it’s the LDL that travels out of the liver or firehall and sends them on their way, and the HDL that ushers them back in and says hey, come back to home base or the station. It’s this cycle of healing and protection that is badly misunderstood. As well as taking your hormones around your body, cholesterol is essential. Your body knows how to heal itself and there are plenty of people out there who have higher levels of cholesterol and aren’t having heart attacks or dying of heart disease, but have a healthy sex drive becuase their hormones are having impact. Yes there are those who are having heart health issues and do have heart attacks, like my dad, however this is only PART of the discussion, not the whole of it.
What’s also not talked about is low levels and what that can bring like or we aren’t talking about the size of your cholesterol molecules and what the impact of small versus large are. That’s worthy of another episode, so look out for that in the future. Oh and then there’s the impact of constipation. So much to unpack here.
Today we are going to talk about this from a holistic perspective. This does not discount what your doctor is telling you but there certainly is more to this, and as you come here to listen, I’m going to say that you’re looking for another perspective. Jason works with and is packed out with clients, as I am, and his clinical experience and training is going to offer another way of looking at an incredibly common situation. My sense is that this won’t be the first conversation about this but as one of the most asked for topics from women and men of varying ages, this is an important topic so you know what to do if you have high cholesterol, just as much as it is to know how to avoid needing to do something about it.
Jason is a Holistic Health Practitioner who works with chronic disease and chronic pain. Coach Jay’s mission is to simplify the complex reality that is the human body by teaching individuals how to navigate through the layers of the human condition. He is an ex-bodybuilder who realized that fitness does not equal health and longevity after he became sick with a Candida (yeast) overgrowth that took over his gut and in turn, his mind, body and soul. Coach Jay phased out of the fitness world and into the holistic health world in both his personal life and his work life. He now has an international practice, helping over 350 clients in under a year with the use of an EAV testing machine and his holistic, mind, body approach. His website is www.jasonpersaud.com
Jason helps us understand the importance of the brain connection, to the liver, to the gut. It is a more holistic way of looking at health and what’s going on with high cholesterol, than just looking at the numbers and being put on medication.
Yet statin drugs can introduce a whole host of problems including muscle damage, memory issues, Parkinson’s-like symptoms, and muscle aches and pains. We now know that statins can increase the risk of diabetes by about 50 percent.
What can you do to help balance out your cholesterol and lower your triglycerides?
- Ditch the sugar. Number one without question. Those starches and white foods and sugar, all those that come in a box and are processed, they have to go.
- Losing weight is next. The extra fat storage, inflammation and oxidative stress just from what your body is doing can make the LDL cholesterol more harmful. Eating an antiinflammatory diet is the way to go. Remember that the antioxidants are key. That’s where my Take This with Lianne KID BOOST comes in. We talked about inflammation and how to deal with it with Julie Daniluk in episode 67 and you can follow the principles of the Mediterrenian diet in The Perfect Diet Episode 70 which includes more fish, less red meat and a whole lot of vegetables, fruits and no processed food. Sound boring? Well so does having a heart attack.
- Ease up on that coffee too. It’s more work for your liver and messes with your stress response sadly. Although it gives you a boost, and if you need it, stick to black and organic to lesen the chemicals.
- Like sardines? Eat em. All the time or take a high dose of EPA an omega 3 fish oil. You’ll find that in my Take this by Lianne Omega Boost. Then there’s the antioxidants, well those colourful foods like peppers, berries, sweet potato.
- Fibre so you get rid of the cholesterol because constipation is a huge issue here.
So there you have it… the first part or installment into cholesterol. I’m sure there will be more and who knows, your specific questions might just spur on the next episode on this topic.
No matter where you are with this, always remember to please pass it on to someone who needs it, rate this podcast wherever you listen and EAT THIS one mouthful at a time.