Bloodwork, genes and lifestyle
Brittney and I are on the eve of welcoming our second son into the world, so naturally one of the big things on our mind is adjusting our life insurance. I'm only half joking about the importance, but now that a company like HealthIQ looks out for people who laugh in the face of the stronghold family history once placed on rates, we figured we should rethink our policies.
I fall into the category of those people who most likely have some sort of variation of the "thrifty gene" (I come from Polish peasants, holocaust survivors and depression-ized Brooklynites). It's only a hypothesis, and a shaky one at that, but I refuse to label myself with something like this - The Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation. Their nutrition tips are insulting to all of the amazing Doctors and researchers out there saving lives. I'm sure they've helped some people but organizations like that can sometime make me a strange combination of sad, angry and conceded; conceded to think I know better. They are pill pushers, sponsored by pill pushers. Of course they mention lifestyle, but pills are easier, and more lucrative.
Eight years ago when I was 25, I carried an extra 40lbs, my total cholesterol was 300, my triglycerides 450 and I was borderline diabetic. At 25 and 175lbs, not 40 and 300lbs. I thought that was a bit odd, even though I was sedentary and ate the standard american diet. Something was up and my doctor agreed. My grandfather suffered a heart attack at 45, my other grandfather died from Alzheimer's (more and more believed to be a vascular lifestyle disease), my dad had just a triple bipass at 60 after discovered his arteries 99% blocked (the "widowmaker"). He also survived prostate cancer in his 40's, partially by adopting a macrobiotic diet temporarily. His "cardiac event" was the reason I got tested. The doctor told me to go on statins. I refused.
I studied nutrition, I ran marathons, and, most importantly, I went low-fat whole food plant based. Fast forward to today. I'm 33, 135lbs, 9% body fat, run ultramarathons and I just got my bloodwork back from the life insurance tester. The total cholesterol is still on the higher side (154) for someone with my lifestyle, but that probably even goes to show that I do fall into the "FH genetic" group. Of course I have more work to do. Living fully is work. Health is my dharma. I've only been at this five years (vs. the 28 I had been putting crap into my body). But I'm posting the full lab results just in case anyone out there thinks they have to be relegated to a bunch of side effect causing pills for everything from high cholesterol to ED to blood pressure to Alzheimer's/cancer/etc.
My story is anything but unique. This story is just the tip of the iceberg of the work I do to life healthfully to be there for my family. I hope to tell more of it through this blog.