You want to lower your cholesterol without OTC or prescription drugs? I gotta tell you, it isn’t that hard. I know this deviates from my standard triathlon, cycling, and running talk, but I just had some great news from my doctor on this issue and I thought I would share what has worked for me with you guys.
A little about my history — I just turned 41. The first time I was tested for cholesterol levels was when I was 18 and it came back at 270+. I haven’t really deviated too much from those levels in the 23 years since my first test. Last summer when I was training a ton, down to single digit body fat and eating cleaner than a squirrel does, when my cholesterol was tested for a life insurance policy my total cholesterol was 249. At that point I knew my problem was genetic and there was little I could do outside of taking prescription medication.
I started to do some research to find some alternative solutions to my problems. I spoke with friends who were on prescription medication and about their experiences. I started to research some more natural solutions. I already took fish oil for its reported anti-inflammatory properties, but that was all I was taking outside of a multivitamin.
As I read more and more information related to lowering cholesterol, the more I felt like there was a ton of conflicting information on the web. There is no magic pill — everyone is different and their bodies respond differently to various medications and approaches. What I will detail in the rest of this entry worked for me. It may be that it worked for me and will not work for any other person on this planet. If your doctor has you on another program, please follow their recommendations before you think for two seconds about mine.
My approach was much like putting a puzzle together. I have found what has worked for me by assembling the whole from many different pieces. There is no one magic bullet or product, but with what I am about to describe to you, my latest results were phenomenal. No, they were outstanding. My total cholesterol tested at 150. I have the results to prove it. I was tested in December and after some hard work then, my levels were at 249. What I have done I have accomplished over the last three months.
Every morning I make a shake for breakfast. In the summertime this is my post-workout recovery shake, but I started adding pieces of my puzzle to these shakes. Right now they are made with a base of protein powder, about a cup of frozen fruit, and a cup and a half of low fat milk. If I am feeling particularly frisky, I will add about a tablespoon of honey to sweeten it up. I really, really like honey.
To that shake, I am now adding the following: 1/2 cup of cold-milled flax seed, 1/2 of Steel Cut McCann’s Irish Oats, and 2 Tbs. of chia seeds. It sounds like I could grow a serious garden in my gut with all the seeds I am consuming. You can get all of those items at your local health food store, but I got most of it on Amazon.com. The oats are interesting — it feels like you are a horse eating its morning meal. Because the oats are not cooked, they are still hard and you have to chew them before you swallow them. But really, it is something you get used to. The flax is a little much, but as an endurance athlete, I do love how it clears your gut every day.
On top of this, I take some supplements. Every morning I take 1,000 mg of cold pressed fish oil, 1,000 mg of flax seed oil, and 1,200 mg of red yeast rice. There are a couple of other supplements I am taking right now, but none are related to reducing cholesterol. I did not make a ton of dietary changes — just those that I would during this time of the year for weight reduction. Now my diet is fairly clean, but I am not a vegetarian or anything. I do eat all kinds of meat, but I have reduced my portion sizes down to about half the size of your fist. That means when I eat a hamburger, it is only a single. I still haven’t tried the Wendy’s Baconator. mmm…bacon. I really would love one of those 970 calorie gut bombs with 63 g of fat.
What is the takeaway from my experience? If you focus on lowering your cholesterol, I think it is possible to lower it. It took some experimentation on my part and I wish I would have tested my levels after adding each piece of the puzzle so I knew what actually lowered it. But, I was not as measured and careful as I probably should have been. Regardless, the combination of what I am doing is working, so I am not going to change it anytime soon. I am happy to report I am not on any other medication, prescription or over the counter for cholesterol reduction.
I hope my experience can help you out. Here is another one of my great motivational images that I shamelessly post on Pinterest.