When faced with high cholesterol levels, Lennis focused on finding ways to bring her cholesterol down without the need for medication.
Health isn’t always kale smoothies and quinoa salads. For some of us, the journey to good health has been long and tiresome and paved with allergies, weight fluctuations, mental health struggles, chronic illness and disease and disordered eating. It can also be paved with new passions discovered – cooking, veganism, crossfit or just walking our dog every day. Everyone is different. And I believe everyone has a story to tell.
It’s these stories that I’ll be highlighting in my new series – My Health Journey.
Today we kick off the series with an interview from Lennis, who has suffered from high cholesterol for the majority of her adult life, and has been working to reduce her high cholesterol without medication.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi, I’m Lennis, I live in the US but I’m originally from Venezuela. I started my journey as a food & wellness coach after realizing the need for someone to help women take control of their health and well-being through food and mindfulness. I wish I had someone besides my doctors when I was going through my food-related health issues to give me the practical tools to apply and help me get through everything a bit faster.
2. When did you first find out you suffered from high cholesterol?
I first found out I was suffering from high cholesterol when I was 18 after I started my first semester in college.
3. What are the main causes of high cholesterol?
I think it is important to first understand what cholesterol means, and then dive into the details of causation of high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a substance that is found in your blood. Your body actually needs and produces cholesterol mostly in the liver. The body needs it because it helps produce hormones and absorb fats.
There are two main causes of high cholesterol: genetics and food. My body is prone to high cholesterol because of genetics – any fat I consume (even good fats) are not processed efficiently by my body and leads to high cholesterol levels, especially LDL which is known to be “bad-cholesterol”. Food is the other cause of high cholesterol, more specifically animal protein, dairy, and processed foods which typically contain high saturated fats or trans-fats. These contribute to high cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol levels, especially LDL-cholesterol in your body is an indication of higher risk for heart disease.
4. What changes have you made to lower your cholesterol levels?
I made two big shifts in my life in order to lower my total cholesterol from 204 to 108, especially my LDL-cholesterol from 119 to 43! I switched to a whole-foods plant-based diet, and I eliminated all fats from my diet, even good fats. This means no oil for salads or when cooking meals, and no nuts or avocados. Making those two changes helped me succeed in reversing my high-cholesterol and my risk of heart disease.
5. You also suffer from H. Pylori – can you tell us a bit about that?
When I was 19, after having some serious stomach problems, I was diagnosed with H. Pylori. H. Pylori is a bacteria that affects your stomach and is known for causing stomach ulcers and could potentially lead to cancer if left unattended. Once you get this bacteria, there is no real cure for it. It is a bacteria that simply goes dormant when you eat all the right foods for your body.
6. What advice would you give to others suffering from high cholesterol?
Ask your family about their history with high-cholesterol and heart disease. This will help you identify if your genetics are influencing your cholesterol number. Also, be aware of your food and daily fat intake. Nowadays fats are added to almost everything, and if you cook with oils, this will certainly have an impact on your cholesterol. Avoid red meats like a plague, and reduce or eliminate the consumption of dairy as these are two foods that will definitely increase your cholesterol. Also, adding more physical activity will also help your body process the excess fat you may be consuming in your foods.
You can find out more about Lennis at her website Cook Dance Love Live. Cook Dance Love Live is focused on food and wellness. Lennis shares tasty recipes that are actually good for your body as well as health tips to help women improve their well-being through food, cooking, awareness, and mindfulness.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Lennis!
Do you have any questions you want to ask Lennis? Pop your question in a comment below!