Better Bods Better Health, PO Box 4054, Timaru Tel: 0800 Whoo Hoo (9466 466) [email protected]

                 WHOO HOO, My Cholesterol is 6.1
Some will wonder why I celebrate a high cholesterol reading.  Should I not worry that my passionately endorsed diet, with saturated fats and no chemicals, is obviously not working? After all, the latest research shows that, for optimum health, it needs to be below 4.0 mmol to help prevent heart disease and obesity.  It is kind of strange that, before I changed my whole way of eating (I am doing the complete opposite to what I once did) I had total cholesterol readings well under 4.0 mmol but I was often sick: suffering from severe vertigo, constipation, bad skin, fluctuating weight, frequent urinary tract infections, body odour, mood swings and often had the flu, had many colds and needed frequent nanna naps (before I had any children).

Now I definitely do not suffer from any of these problems and at 38 years of age, feel younger and stronger than I did when I was in my twenties.  It seems my grandparents did not fear saturated fats too much in their younger days, as they had dripping or lard sandwiches, puddings with creams, porridge with cream, milk straight from the cow, roasts cooked in dripping and all skin kept on meats.  I know they far too easily became pregnant, even in their forties but today many couples rely on 'technology' to have even one child.
In 1920, our average annual consumption for animal fat was 11.8 kg (26 lbs) and for vegetable fat it was 5 kg (11 lbs). Heart disease was not a serious nationwide problem until the 1980s.  Annually, animal fat consumption had then fallen to 4.8 kg (10.5 lbs) and vegetable fat had risen to 22.9 kg (50.4 lbs). You can look in the supermarket aisles to see what is commonly bought. 

The designer of the low fat 'Pritiken' diet successfully lowered his cholesterol to a so called healthy level but he developed leukaemia and later committed suicide.  His low fat diet did not work.  More studies have shown that the lower the cholesterol level, especially in men, the higher the suicide or violent death rate. Further, studies have shown that cholesterol has an anti-cancer effect, acting as a defence system against the disease. Dr Bakey, an international renowned heart specialist, has pointed out that only 30% to 40% of people with blocked arteries and heart disease have elevated blood cholesterol. Even when I was nursing, there were many people who died of heart disease and yet had low blood cholesterol levels. It does not add up.  It seems cholesterol levels vary among individuals and may not be a good predictor of either heart disease or health!  The only reason I had my cholesterol levels checked in the first place was because I had studied another test that appears more accurate as a predictor of the plaque build up in the arteries that can lead to heart disease and I wanted to compare the two tests, to show you what, I believe, is the TRUTH.
I had not heard of this test whilst nursing but it was discovered back in the 1930s.  It is not a test routinely done. It is called, The Homocysteine Test. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with heart disease, stroke, blindness or other eye problems, blood clots, osteoporosis, mental illness, erectile dysfunction, depression and anger. Some medical guidelines to reduce homocysteine levels say to eat less red meat, use stress reduction techniques and often recommend B vitamins, including folate. The same medical notes say that homocysteine is a naturally occurring bi-product of methionine (amino acid) metabolism of the body. This amino acid is found naturally in meats especially liver, eggs, dairy products, fish, chicken, seeds, nuts and some vegetables. Funnily enough this is the B vitamin group of nutrients often prescribed in tablet form. The lack of these vitamins can cause cell damage and the onset of major disease may occur. Homocysteine appears to be associated with the hormone serotonin (happy hormones......WHOO HOO!!), melatonin (a sleep and mood improving hormone), dopamine (euphoria hormone) and adrenaline (the fight and flight hormone). A check list for what may indicate raised levels of homocysteine, is general tiredness, unstable weight, odd pains such as cramp, arthritis, migraines, frequent colds and flu, deteriorating eyesight, sleep problems, declining memory, depression, an underactive thyroid, and STRICT VEGETARIANISM. I find this last one, in particular, quite contradictory because it says VEGETARIANS are at a greater risk but at the same time the director of Pathology, Sydney, Australia, recently advised a reduction in red meat. This just does not make sense, as vegetarians do this in the first place?  I knew my test results were good, as I fit this next category, provided by the same medical information: I have boundless energy, have a sharp mind and a positive outlook, I am full of life, physically fit, rarely ill, content and happy.

Normal homocysteine levels (via a blood test) are between 5.0 to 15.0 umol. My reading and I am breastfeeding (this can give a higher figure) is 11.1. Most guidelines are that 5 to 15 is normal, 15 to 30 is a moderate risk, 31 to 100 is an intermediate risk and greater than 100 is a severe risk.  I know personally that I feel great and I say BRING BACK REAL BUTTER!!
Rachel Tomkinson.........WHOO HOO!

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