Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Let's Talk Cholesterol


Okay, we all know that too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol is bad for our health. Got it.

But, have you really looked at where cholesterol comes from, what is does to you and how much is okay?

The other day, a guy at Jason's work was about to throw out a pamphlet written by the Harvard Medical School called "Understanding Cholesterol." Jason, the hunter-gather reader he is, grabbed the brochure and brought home some seriously eye-opening information.

For example, did you know that the yolk of ONE EGG is equal to one whole day's recommended amount of cholesterol? I'll get into this a little later.

First, the basics -

Cholesterol hardens the arteries and causes angina, heart attacks, strokes, peripheral artery disease and many other health issues.

Two types of cholesterol:
  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) -- carries cholesterol into the wall of your arteries, where it can build up and block blood flow. Also called "bad cholesterol."
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL) -- snatches cholesterol away from the artery wall, then carries it to the liver where it is then dumped into the intestines and passed out of your body. Also called "good cholesterol."


Total Daily Cholesterol (in mg) -- healthy goals for adults:




Ways to reduce cholesterol:
Reduce intake of saturated fats
Reduce consumption of trans fats
Manage your weight
Eat lots of fish (especially fatty fish like trout)
Limit simple sugars and rapidly absorbed carbs in your diet
Limit dietary cholesterol

Okay, the last one is what grabbed my attention. In the brochure, they use an egg as an example of a high "bad" cholesterol food. The yolk of a single egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol! Now look back at the chart above and see that  200mg or more is considered borderline high/high for one day!

That means after you eat your two eggs in the morning, you've already DOUBLED what your daily intake of cholesterol should be. I find this astonishing. And disgusting.

Also, did you know that cholesterol is found ONLY in animal products? It really makes me think about what is in meat and dairy that is so bad for us. Also, now that Jason and I are about 90% vegetarian and the other 10% is fish or dairy (a little pork sausage in the stew on occasion), I can really tell the difference in how my body processes this awful animal by-product - not well, that's how! I can honestly say that eating a steak or even a hamburger right now would cause some serious gastric situations! It literally feels like I'm processing a dead animal through my bowels. It's fucking disgusting. My skin stinks, my farts could peel paint, and my guts wretch.

Back to the egg. I can't get over it. 200 mg in one egg yolk! Let's think about this compared to other foods we think are "bad" or high in cholesterol. The worst thing in my refrigerator right now is Aidells Cajun Style Andouille sausage. I compared the cholesterol in the sausages to an egg. And guess what I discovered?

I CAN EAT THE WHOLE PACKAGE OF SAUSAGES AND STILL NOT EQUAL THE CHOLESTEROL OF ONE EGG YOLK!!!

This is SICK to me. I've spent many days since I discovered this, thinking, "What the fuck is in that egg?!!?!?"

I think I've figured it out. It came to me during meditation. I'm convinced it is the fact that an egg yolk has all the properties (DNA, etc.) to potentially create an entire animal. A whole chicken lies in that yolk. When do we ever eat a whole animal at one time, or even worse, in one bite? I'm talking tail to snout (or beak to chicken feet in the case of the egg).  Most likely never.

So, now when I look at an egg, all I can think of is how sick it would be to eat an entire chicken from top to bottom. Guts, beak, feathers, feet -- the whole thing!

Lucky for me, I've never really liked eggs so it's very easy for me to walk away and never have one again - which is my plan. I've got two in the fridge now and those might be the last two I ever buy.

All this gets me thinking, what else is out there that I knew was bad, but didn't know HOW bad?

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