You are here

low fat diet?

So, I've was told by my doctor a few weeks ago that my cholesterol is boderline high and that I should go on a low fat diet and exercise at least half an hour everday.

I torn on how I feel about this.

Thing is, I went vegan the first of March 07. At the same time, I started walking 40 minutes to an hour each day (depending on my work schedule). I quit eating fried foods. I quit eating fast food. I only drink water and sometimes juices (but I've been doing that for years anyway).

When my Dr called with the cholesterol news, I definitely cried. All I could think was, "how the hell do I have high cholesterol when I've only been eating plants for the past 5 months?"

My mom reminded me it could be heridtary and I'll never know. (I'm the product of a closed adoption). She also told me to consider what my cholesterol could have been 5 months ago because this is the first time I've had it checked.

Anyway, I'm actually looking for any tips on a more strict low-fat vegan diet? Can anybody offer up anything?

I have the same problem- high cholesterol despite a vegan diet and tons of exercise.  I'm on 10 mg of Zocor, the lowest dosage, and it gave me great numbers.  Although I don't like taking medicine, there isn't much else I can do...

0 likes

I'd say your mom is right.  It could be hereditary, and it probably is lower than it would have been had you checked pre-vegan.  That said, I don't know a whole lot about cholesterol tests, but I think it may take quite a while for your diet change to show a significant difference in your cholesterol levels.  

Also, what did your doctor mean by "borderline high" (if you don't mind posting the number)?  

Since you've become vegan, what kinds of fats are you eating?  

Congratulations on becoming vegan (I'm not quite there myself) :)!  

0 likes

yes, congrats on the vegan switch. (oops, i hit "save" and i wasn't finished... stupid fingers"). even if your numbers stay high, you're body will appreciate it. have you seen any positive changes since going vegan?

i don't know how long it takes to see the numbers come down once cutting out animal products. Seven months seems like it should show something. HUMM. i'm with lotus, what kinds of vegan foods are you eating on a daily basis? if you don't mind posting, maybe we can help you think of some ways to improve things!

is your good cholesterol level high? as CYETS noted, sometimes you just get bad number regardless of what you're doing. i wouldn't worry about a low fat diet now that you're eating vegan-- try to get more good, raw fats in your diet. raw nuts, cold pressed olive oil, avocados-- these are all good for your body and help good cholesterol levels. 

0 likes

Saturated fats play a role in raising cholesterol levels, but you aren't doing any of those, at least not obvious ones.  There is some thought that simple "white" carbohydrates can raise triglyceride and cholesterol levels too. 

It becomes tedious to read every single label AND to start rethinking everything you do.  I am in this boat with being new to gluten free (celiac).  Less obvious fats are things like salad dressings which I am afraid I use with wild abandon when I have the odd green salad.  I should make more of my own and I should use less. Do you use it liberally too?  I suspect you have switched to Earth Balance in the tub, stick margarines have more saturated fats in them.  EB has no transfats either.  You can switch to lowered fat soymilk.  You can buy lowered fat tofu too. 

Cholesterol levels work in combination with other metabolic processes.  High cholesterol, high blood pressure and glutose intolerance are 3 things that like to travel together.  So, if your blood sugar tends to be on the high side, not necessarily diabetic, but on the higher side of normal, your blood pressure and cholesterol too, this is what is sometimes called "metabolic syndrome" and it not peculiar to meateaters, we can all have it. 

The fact that you exercise and eat vegan is wonderful and I think you on an excellent path to better health.  Make sure you are not getting too hungry and that your protein is adequate.  Add in legumes which stabilize blood sugar.  I firmly believe from observation of others and from doing it myself, when you get to keeping your blood sugar as even as you can, i.e. do not go too long without eating, don't eat loads at a time, avoid "white" carbs in favor of whole grain, etc. I think it might help.

Having said all of this, if you have to go on medication it is not the end of the world.  Women tend to forget that they ARE at risk for heart attacks for the same reasons men are.  Heart attacks, the thing you associate with high(ish) cholesterol, are more than 2 times more likely to cause death in a woman than a man.  Women have asymptomatic heart attacks quite often too.  Add to this that even ER doctors don't take women seriously when it comes their hearts or chest pain, it is best to do as much as you can to prevent heart attacks when one is female. 

0 likes

LadyD brought up a good point watch your trans fats. These are even more dangerous than saturated fats and found in many common vegan foods. Sorry I can't type more now but will try to jump back in later. I too went veg for health reasons 13 years ago and have had wonderful affects on my life. I lost 100lbs and feel great my immune system is much improved. Don't let this little number thing scare you too bad right now. ;)

0 likes

Hi Photovegan!!! Welcome to our community! I agree with everyone else--you're numbers may well have been a lot higher pre-vegan and you wouldn't know it--and it totally could be in your gene's. Under the recipes link there is a lot of low fat recipes--I'm sure you will find lots of yummy stuff there!

Good luck and we are all here to support you so don't hesitate jumping in any time!!!!

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u314/mdewen/i72966594_23862.gif

0 likes

LadyD brought up a good point watch your trans fats. These are even more dangerous than saturated fats and found in many common vegan foods. Sorry I can't type more now but will try to jump back in later. I too went veg for health reasons 13 years ago and have had wonderful affects on my life. I lost 100lbs and feel great my immune system is much improved. Don't let this little number thing scare you too bad right now. ;)

trans fats in vegan food? fo sho???
name some please.

0 likes

LadyD brought up a good point watch your trans fats. These are even more dangerous than saturated fats and found in many common vegan foods. Sorry I can't type more now but will try to jump back in later. I too went veg for health reasons 13 years ago and have had wonderful affects on my life. I lost 100lbs and feel great my immune system is much improved. Don't let this little number thing scare you too bad right now. ;)

trans fats in vegan food? fo sho???
name some please.

Just a few that I've found....

Some types of Rice Cakes :o
Some brands of pretzels (usually the really cheap ones, not Rold Gold or Snyders)
Tofutti Cream Cheese (in the white container, i think the yellow one is tf free)

I can't think of anymore off the top of my head.  Just remember, you have to read the ingredients!  It can say 0g transfat if there is .5 g or less.  If the ingredients include "partially hydrogenated" anything, then it has transfat. 

0 likes

LadyD brought up a good point watch your trans fats. These are even more dangerous than saturated fats and found in many common vegan foods. Sorry I can't type more now but will try to jump back in later. I too went veg for health reasons 13 years ago and have had wonderful affects on my life. I lost 100lbs and feel great my immune system is much improved. Don't let this little number thing scare you too bad right now. ;)

trans fats in vegan food? fo sho???
name some please.

Just a few that I've found....

Some types of Rice Cakes :o
Some brands of pretzels (usually the really cheap ones, not Rold Gold or Snyders)
Tofutti Cream Cheese (in the white container, i think the yellow one is tf free)

I can't think of anymore off the top of my head.  Just remember, you have to read the ingredients!  It can say 0g transfat if there is .5 g or less.  If the ingredients include "partially hydrogenated" anything, then it has transfat. 

also many carob chips are made with hydrogenated oils.

0 likes

First of all photovegan- congrats on your lifestyle choices and the benefits that you  have noticed already!! You did fast before your blood test right? I am sort of in the same boat as you- high cholesterol runs in both sides of my family and I am at the high end of normal which my gp and naturopath think is odd due to my diet and lifestyle. I'm in my twenties, am a runner, and have a low BMI ( I think I'm even considered to be slightly underweight according to the standard). Anyhow, don't be discouraged by this- your body might still be adjusting to your new lifestyle and your cholesterol ,may still decrease.. If you're vegan or vegetarian that's already a step in the right direction as animal fats have cholesterol (including dairy and eggs). Certain foods that are great in lowering your cholesterol are oats and other wholegrains, soy, colourful veggies, beans, flaxseeds, fish oil, almonds and walnuts, and garlic (good thing for me since I love garlic! Not so nice for my boyfriend though!!) Oh- and high fiber fruits like berries and apples and pears. Good luck with it all!!

0 likes

Welcome!  Here's a sweet site with great recipes:

http://www.fatfreevegan.com/

Check out the blog on there too!

0 likes

Welcome!  Here's a sweet site with great recipes:

http://www.fatfreevegan.com/

Check out the blog on there too!

I get more of my recipes from Fat Free vegan than anywhere else.  I follow Weight Watchers Winning Points.  (I do occassionally cheat and have a slice of vegan cake or something, but 95% of the time...)

Have you considered doing more heart-pounding exercises?  Spinning, aerobics, basketball?  It is hard to get a good cardio workout from leisurely walking on a flat surface.  (Not sure if that is what you are doing or not, if you're powerwalking uphill or on hiking trails, totally different story.)

Almost any recipe that starts with saute such and such in 3 tablespoons of oil can be baked or sauteed in veggie broth.  I do fat free / sugar free baking all the time and it still tastes good.

Many people say that you HAVE TO have some fat in your diet, which is true, but for the most part, a tablespoon of ground flax seeds on your morning oatmeal or some hemp milk is PLENTY of fat (and the right kind!) for the day.

0 likes

Perhaps you need a little more time. 

Remember vegan does not necessarily equate with a healthy diet in some cases.  Many vegans eat processed foods (guilty as charged) refined carbs (ramen noodles anyone?).  Many people want their junk and seek out fat free vegan alternatives to junk food and still call themselves eating better.

I would concentrate on vegan foods that are known to help lower cholesterol, and this includes healthy fats like olive oil, flax oil and flax seeds (the seeds are very helpful at lowering cholesterol, add some to your cereal)  and avacado.  I'm not an advocate of ultra-low fat myself.  Not that I'm advising you do go against your md's wishes for low fat, but please include some healthy vegan fat including some nuts.

Avoid the processed foods concentrating on whole, close to nature fruits and veggies (frozen is good too).  Other foods known to lower cholesterol are oat meal (we're not taking the processed kind in those little packets full of sugar but the slower cooking ones), whole grains, and beans.  Beans have the soluable fiber that helps to rid the body of cholesterol.  I'll reiterate whole grains, such as whole grain breads, brown rice and pasta. 

Give it some more time.  Fine tune your diet, exercise, lose weight if you need to,  and see what happens.  As mom says it might definately be hereditary. 

0 likes

Many people say that you HAVE TO have some fat in your diet, which is true, but for the most part, a tablespoon of ground flax seeds on your morning oatmeal or some hemp milk is PLENTY of fat (and the right kind!) for the day.

It's not just many people, but experts in nutrition advocate for healthy fat in the diet.  We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.  A tablespoon of flax seeds (1/2 a serving) is only 3 grams of fat, which is completely inadequate and dangerous for some of us.

There is no one diet fits all, as humans we each are unique.   My skin, my hair,  my mood and my fatigue all improved when I started adding healthy fats from my ultra-low fat diet (which is what you eat). 

So to each his/her own, but want to just offer another opinion. 

0 likes

You're right.  That was a generalization.  I just don't think you need to saute everything in oil, use it in salad dressings, and baked goods.  I sure as heck don't put margarine on mashed potatoes, or that sort of thing either!    I eat nuts, avocados, and flax seeds.  I drink omega enriched soy milk or hemp milk.  But, you can't eat a serving of all of these things every day and not gain weight.  (Unless you're my DH, who eats whatever he wants, no consequences.) Careful planning (and lots of high-intensity aerobics plus weight training) has helped me drop about 35 pounds.

Best advice...go see a nutritionist who is cool with veg*ism!

0 likes

You're right.  That was a generalization.  I just don't think you need to saute everything in oil, use it in salad dressings, and baked goods.  I sure as heck don't put margarine on mashed potatoes, or that sort of thing either!    I eat nuts, avocados, and flax seeds.  I drink omega enriched soy milk or hemp milk.  But, you can't eat a serving of all of these things every day and not gain weight.  (Unless you're my DH, who eats whatever he wants, no consequences.) Careful planning (and lots of high-intensity aerobics plus weight training) has helped me drop about 35 pounds.

Best advice...go see a nutritionist who is cool with veg*ism!

I'm glad you clarified.  One certainly can include healthy fats and lose weight.  I lost 15 pounds on a diet that was 30% healthy fat.  That's a bit much for a lot of people to stomach, but it really is not a lot of food as fat is calorie dense. Fat for me, and this is just for me, is a great appetite killer.  I actually eat less when my meal has some healthy fat....in moderation of course.

My concern is that someone reading your post, espeically one with an eating disorder (and there unfortunately are many vegans with eating disorders), will take the advice that one needs only a spoonful of flax seeds a day and can eat fat free from there. 

I guess it's the Registered Nurse in me, but I get very concerned sometimes with what I read on this board and Veggiboards.  I have to sit on my hands sometimes.  I'm itching to say something to the poster who just posted they only eat a bannana for breakfrast followed by an apple for lunch....cringe.  LOL

0 likes

I'm not sure if someone mentioned this already, so sorry if I'm repeating.  My mom had cholesterol problems earlier and her doctor recommended Red Rice Yeast tablets.  I'm not sure exactly what they are or what's in them.  But she's been taking them (along with diet and exercise and fish oil, not vegan I know) and there has a considerable difference.  Plus you mentioned you lost a good bit of weight since going vegan, maybe your body is just needs more time.  I bet this time next year your numbers will be great. 

0 likes

Welcome!  Here's a sweet site with great recipes:

http://www.fatfreevegan.com/

Check out the blog on there too!

ERRR! She beat me to it! Your mean Ashley Kimball  :P okay...just kidding.

I love this site!

0 likes

Man, I'm way late in getting back to this.

Thanks to everyone who has posted. I really appreciate your input.

To answer some questions:

My cholesterol numbers were actually 197 with 140 ldl and 38 hdl.
As far as exercise, I use my gazelle at a fairly intense pace in my apartment more than getting outside and walking/jogging/running. It's easier on my ankles and knees than concrete right now. Plus, it's generally dark by the time I can get home and exercise.
I've lost almost 30 pounds since going vegan and starting to exercise regularly.
fatfreevegan.com has landed in my bookmarks list. Thanks!

0 likes

It's probably you eat something that's been made on equipment that uses  eggs and milk that's my guess. I think that's where you got it from.

0 likes

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

More Posts Like This