I wanted to get personal for a second on here and talk about cholesterol. I recently had my numbers checked for the first time since going vegan over 2 years ago, and was so happy to see my results.
Before going vegan, my cholesterol was not great. High cholesterol levels run in my family, and I kinda-sorta knew that I was going to be doomed. Aside from it being hereditary, my diet wasn’t great. I liked to think it was “clean eating,” but really… I ate way too much cheese and sugary desserts. On top of that, I was eating all the crappy “100 calorie snack packs” that I foolishly thought were okay for my insides. So needless to say, my total cholesterol in 2012 was above 200 and my LDL (bad cholesterol levels) were borderline high.
Before I show you my results, let me give you a quick lesson on how to understand your cholesterol levels.
- Total cholesterol is the overall amount of cholesterol found in your blood (including both LDL and HDL)
- LDL, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is the “bad” cholesterol – it blocks your blood vessels and can increase risk of heart disease.
- HDL, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is the “good” cholesterol – it can help protect you from heart disease. You want high HDL levels!
Cholesterol levels for adults according to Heathline are outlined here – it goes into depth on each one and also includes children. But for now, let’s just look at what is recommended for optimal health:
- Total: Lower than 200
- HDL: More than 60
- LDL: Less than 100
So now – here are mine. In 2012, I was eating a meat and dairy diet. In 2016, I’ve been eating vegan for 2 years.
My total cholesterol went down nearly 70 spots. I was absolutely ECSTATIC to see that by literally doing nothing but cutting out meat and dairy, my cholesterol became perfect. I still eat vegan ice cream on the weekends and indulge in treats – you guys know this. But everything that I eat is cholesterol-free. Did you know that? When you are checking labels and notice that there is cholesterol in a product, it is impossible to be vegan. That’s because only products that contain animal-based ingredients have cholesterol. So a plant-based diet is 100% cholesterol free – what you see above is simply the cholesterol that my own body generates. And accordingly to above, it is a very healthy level!
LDL levels also shot down – thankfully. I remember feeling terrible about the number 124. It wasn’t considered high – yet – but borderline. I’d like to see this number get lower, but under 100 is a fantastic start.
HDL levels could be higher. It is recommended to be over 60, but I am pretty damn close. My diet is filled with beans, avocado, and healthy oils. I feel good about this number.
I really can’t say it enough – I smiled all day about this. I have never ever in my life taken medication to help with cholesterol – ever! This was literally fixed by fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and the omission of animal products. My lifestyle and diet fixed it. I love seeing hard numbers and evidence that a vegan diet is for me. I’ve personally never felt healthier, and my levels have never been so on point. I truly feel that this is doing the very best for my body. Sure, I gained about 10 lbs going vegan, but the numbers from the inside really matter to me. Seeing this, I know I am healthier and better off.
Thanks for letting my get personal on here for a sec! If you haven’t had your cholesterol checked in a while, I encourage you to. I think it’s important to know where your insides stand at all times. If it’s perfect, yay! If not, a more plant-based diet may be the key to lowering it. No need for medication or pills or anything. Just more plants.
Plants are life <3 and I’ve never been happier with my overall health. I hope this can inspire just one person to make some changes. :)
Thanks for listening to my health ramble. xx bianca
NOTE: I am not a doctor or medical/health professional. These are my personal results and feelings on my cholesterol. Please speak with your doctor to discuss yours and what is healthy for you.