A little background: my brother (often called by his childhood nickname: Schrid. Don’t ask.) visited his doctor in February 2007. At that time, his cholesterol was charted: LDL (bad) cholesterol at 187 and HDL (good) cholesterol was 47. This was high enough — combined with the fact that my parents had high cholesterol and that Schrid is near Fifty — that his doctor wanted to put him on Lipitor immediately. (Confused about what’s normal and what’s not? Here’s a good quick article.) Basically, your total cholesterol is your good cholesterol plus your bad cholesterol number. And it’s important what the ratio is. Obviously, you want the good to outweigh the bad. Or at least be a healthy balance.
Anyway, Schrid’s always been a do-it-yourself kind of guy and doesn’t like overdoing medication. So he asked if he could try to get his cholesterol down on his own. The doctor said he had three months and, if it wasn’t down significantly, onto Lipitor he would go.
Schrid read and Googled everything he could and devised The Schrid Cure. It worked. I mean, it REALLY worked.
His total cholesterol went down BY THIRTY FOUR POINTS in less than three months.
Here’s how he did it:
1. NO FAST FOOD. None. Nada. Not even the so-called healthy salads. By the way, Steve’s work takes him on the road every day, so if he could avoid this one, anyone can.
2. No meat on Wednesday and Friday. On these days, his dinners of choice included pasta with vegetables or Atlantic haddock or salmon.
3. Every other NIGHT (I guess this is a snack) a big bowl of cereal with roasted wheat germ and about two tablespoons ground flax seeds. (He gets organic flax seeds and grinds them in a coffee grinder.)
4. No eggs. Egg beaters were used in recipes that would be ruined without eggs.
5. Organic skim milk.
6. Niacin. As much as you can handle, up to 500mg per day. Steve’s doctor recommended this, but be aware that some people are sensitive. Steve had pins and needles and dizziness, so he substituted a B-complex vitamin with fewer mg of the niacin.
7. Fish oil tablets once a day. The trick is to find oil from fish that is low on the food chain and from cold waters like Norway or Iceland.
8. Green tea. Schrid started drinking green tea lattes with non-fat milk to replace morning coffee. Note that with hot green tea, don’t pour boiling water on it. You’ll kill the good stuff. Just steep it in boiled water that has cooled for about five minutes.
9. Wheat grass once a week. If you live in San Francisco, you can buy shots of this on most any commercial strip. Steven lives in a Boston suburb without such California-y things, so he got the powder and mixed a tablespoon in a glass of water. Yeah. It’s like drinking grass, but just pretend you are a cow. So if you can, drink it even more than once a day.
10. No butter. Substitute Olivio for spread and olive oil for every other instance where you’d use butter or shortening.
11. Lots of whole grains. Most of Steve’s breakfasts were Rainforest Granola and real oatmeal. (Just check the ingredient panels. There are a lot of pretenders.)
12. Try to eat non-processed foods wherever possible. (Say an apple instead of a fruit leather.) But check labels religiously for saturated fat, salt, cholesterol and sugar.
That’s it. Pretty simple. Especially when you realize that my brother did this without huge outlays of cash and as a working stiff. (In other words, no spa visits, busy work days, lots of time on Massachusetts turnpikes.) If he could fit this into his lifestyle, so could you. And he doesn’t have all the access to the year-round organic produce that we do in California.
His Cholesterol Continues to Plummet
Less than two years later, new numbers are in on his latest cholesterol check up. Remember, in Feb 2007 his LDL (bad) cholesterol was 187 and HDL (good) was 47. Now in Nov 2008 his LDL 125 and HDL 58.
He’s done it mostly with his regimen that gave the first dramatic results, although he’s relaxed it a little bit.
He still eats mostly mostly organic food and still works the flax seed. He’s added eggs and bacon (organic of course) back in for sometime weekend treats. He tends to avoid pork because he can’t find lean, organic pork very easily.
He’s still finding that lunch is one of the hardest meals to get right. He tries to brown bag with organic as much as possible.
He’s spending a little more on food these days but quality has replaced quantity, so he’s not feeling deprived. His real caution is to read labels very very carefully on anything packaged. Even the so-called healthy granola can be full of stuff you can’t pronounce that you know isn’t good for you.
For quick morning get-aways, he’s perfected the Schrid Fruit Smoothie:
1 cup yogurt
1 cup orange juice
2 cups various fruit
2 cups crushed ice (experiment with your favorite fruits)
Blend untill smooth
Now here’s the really amazing part: Steven smokes. Yeah, he tries to hide it from the family. But he smokes a lot. And he still got these amazing results. Imagine what the program could do for you without that giant risk factor.
Try the Schrid Plan! And let me know your results.
And Steven, STOP SMOKING!