Saturday, August 18, 2012

Living Without Drugs

Last year's annual physical was described at Body Maintenance.

Been seeing this same doctor for over twenty years. On this visit I weighed in at 144 lbs. That is what he recorded as my weight in 1992. Over those 20 years, my weight had a high of 165 before returning to the current 144.

I was actually looking forward to this visit. Why you ask. The curiosity was about the blood tests. The overall cholesterol number last year was 285. This year it was 235. With the exception of LDL, the other detailed cholesterol and blood measurements are within a point or couple of points of last year's numbers. The good cholesterol (HDL) has always been about 70 for the past ten years.

What was different was the drop of total cholesterol to 235. Result of changes in my diet. A year ago I was still eating grain products and the sugars that are invariably included in the manufacturing process (breads, cookies, pastries). Beginning early this year, grains had been removed from the diet and my diet essentially consists of meats, fish, vegetables, and fruits. Called a paleo diet. (Paleolithic diet at Wikipedia) My weaning from the "common wisdom diet" was described at Breaking a Habit and Breaking A Habit -- A Follow Up.

Breakfast will vary from day to day. Some days it is a blueberry and yogurt shake. Some mornings it is eggs and bacon or ham. Some days it was leftovers from the previous evenings meal. Lunches are huge salads. Dinners are some meat/chicken/fish with a vegetable side or an original meat dish/concoction that resembles a stew.

Dropping grains and most sugars from the diet dropped the LDL by 50 points. If I were to cut back on the amount of fruits I consume, I have no doubt the LDL number would be lower.

The doctor was pleased with the results although concerned with the high LDL number. Since the other cholesterol numbers were so positive, he was not as concerned about the LDL. However, a heart scan that I had about 15 years ago showed some calcification in some of the heart arteries. Assuming that is still there, he is still concerned about the possibility of stroke or heart attack.

It might be interesting to see what the heart scan looks like 15 years later. However, I have to ask myself would I do anything different. Would I take the statins which he recommends at each annual visit including this one. He wasn't as strident about the statins this time with the blood data that he saw. However, that heart scan remained a concern. He suggested statins. Again. Also suggested taking baby aspirin. Again. Not going to take either ones. (For my search about statin drugs a year ago, check out my post Just Say No.)

No drug comes without side effects. I would rather eat good foods that the chemistry of my body can handle rather than some drugs that the human body has not evolved to handle.

I will take my chances with living. What is life without a little excitement. And if I die of a heart attack, I won't even know it. I will be dead. A stroke is another issue. It certainly will affect living. Will the statins actually eliminate the stroke -- or heart attack. Nope. Not a sure thing.

No "better living through chemistry" for me. I will take my chances living without taking drugs.

An excellent graphic of the paleo diet without too many words.


  1. Congratulations - well done!

    I started eating the Paleo way at the beginning of this year, and although I've not had blood work done, I can report weight loss of about 40 pounds. I'm down from 225 to 185, and shooting for 170.

    At age 54, I can honestly say, I haven't felt this good in YEARS!

    Good to hear of your success!

  2. If you are still concerned about you LDL and the Calcification in the arteries try adding Garlic and Grapefruit to your diet. The garlic can be used as a seasoning to your food dishes and mosquitoes land and leave. The grapefruit will do the same thing as the Statens.

    My numbers were high years ago and today even with a higher weight my numbers are remarkably lower.

    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. Good for you. I agree completely. Although I don't think I could change my diet that much. I might try the garlic and grapefruit in Rick and Kathy's comment. I could do that.

  4. I agree with you 100%. I also dramatically improved my health by eating paleo. One does not even have to be "perfect." But when I opt for a treat (usually wheat-free, sometimes a scoop of REAL ice cream), I enjoy then get back to my real food. At 65 yo, I feel better than at 45!

    Also a FT RVer for the last 5 years, last permanent resident in the Denver area, I have followed your blog since I was still working & longing to hit the road!

    Safe travels!


  5. Considering the change in these past seven months, there are times I am amazed that I lived to the age of 71. Guess it says something about the body's ability to handle all the mistreatment it receives.

    I believe in mixing it up with lots of varieties from the grocery produce section. No concentration on any particular item. Works for me.

    It has been a great change. I feel better. I sleep better. No problem with keeping the weight stable. Never feel stuffed when I eat.

  6. In addition to the diet, keeping blood pressure down and blood sugar normal will probably get you to 100! -b-

  7. Blood pressure is always normal -- at home or at the doc's office. Blood sugar is always right in the middle of the optimal range -- regardless of my diet. Has been for years.

  8. What a great post Lloyd. I am a paleo eater as well. I began with MDA (where I first read your post). I have been paleo for almost 2 years at this point and have never felt better at 58. Although it sounds complicated if you have not tried it, I find paleo eating to be a cinch. I am over 50 pounds lighter, almost what I weighed in HS, with energy to spare. I have never had to take any kind of drugs and I don't plan on starting now. Knock on wood. :D


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