The following is the first blog post that I entered after uploading my book, Canary in the Coalmine, (and probably crashing a server somewhere with all 43K words, hehe. *ahem* I mean, sorry WP admin… humble apologies…).

Anyways… with the ever-flowing WP reader and the speeding current of the internet, sometimes, maybe, it’s nice to return to the beginning?

I have decided to re-edit it… because, face it… I already am, as soon as I clicked on the link! lol. (yea, I still do that with the hand-written stuff too! ugh!)


MY FIRST BLOG AS THE CANARY (Redux):

(First Posted, June 4, 2016:) (And yes, I thought it was hilarious that I could like my own post… lmao. Eh… it was early in the process, and it was ironic. I have a weakness for irony, it seems… please don’t judge.)


How I used the FDA and USDA recommendations to control and alter FH diagnosed cholesterol.

At the age of 34, my husband had triple bypass surgery.

The surgeon said he hadn’t seen that much damage on someone twice his age who was alcoholic and lived on cheeseburgers. The surgeon gave my husband a week, max. If he hadn’t come to the doctor that day? Well, this would be an imaginary conversation.

The surgeon said it was genetic. I honestly thought he was full of sh*t.

The resident, general practice, cardiologist diagnosed my husband later (possibly improperly) with Hyperlipidemia Type IV.

Guess what… the surgeon was right. It WAS genetic… because…

Both of our daughters, at the young ages of 7 and 11 were diagnosed with what was then being referred to as Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH).

What ensued was a journey into research and politics, insurance companies and medical societies… and a view of how they all intertwined. And… all of the doctors and medical professionals said that changing the diet would NOT affect their cholesterol levels.

Establishment after business, after corporation, after pharmaceutical popped up to answer the call of this ‘crisis’ purportedly caused by a longer life span. I had to sort and sift through them all.

At the bottom of the beneficiary list?

The patient.


Here’s why (and yes, this is based on all the current ‘research’ data):

FH is a genetic condition that affects the body’s ability to filter cholesterol and/or control the making of and elimination of cholesterol.

Depending on who you ask, it has to do with an enzyme in the liver that is lacking (for geneticists it is an omitted or ‘turned off’ gene) or an enzyme that is malfunctioning.

The result: The Liver Produces Too Much LDL (low-density-lipoprotein) cholesterol or what is more commonly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Here’s a review of the cholesterol breakdown, if you are interested. {CLICK}

I have, admittedly, lost faith in the research and medical sectors… because, if you listen carefully, you will see that no one seems to know anything conclusive except that high cholesterol tends to run in families.

But then so does diet, lifestyle, personal habits, and attitudes regarding health and wellness.

The sad truth is… as long as pharma and the insurance companies leads the charge? I don’t think we will find out what is really going on. And we will be more and more dependent upon medicine to live… (who does that benefit?).

Here is a short list of what we know about FH and about cholesterol:

  • FH is a genetic condition.
  • Yet, researchers do not/have not narrowed down specific genes related to it. (But according to the geneticists, they have…)
  • HDL is the ‘good cholesterol’ and carries LDL back to the liver for disposal (per all the literature).
  • Yet, raising HDL does not lower LDL.
  • We know lots of things about FH, since the 1970’s there has been a struggle to raise awareness.
  • Yet, 40 years later, we know nothing definitive about cholesterol production and elimination in the body.
  • Triglycerides are an unknown variable and may or may not have something to do with overall CVD and heart disease risk.
  • We can’t raise HDL. (Because we’ve never really tried)

FOR THOSE THAT KNOW WHAT CHOLESTEROL NUMBERS MEAN:

My daughters’ highest cholesterol readings were 360 and 270. My younger daughter’s highest LDL was 302. Her older sister’s was 190.

Now, 2 years later, by managing diet alone… my younger daughter’s cholesterol was 212. Her LDL 160. My older daughter’s was 223. Her LDL 123. Both have had echocardiograms. Neither have arterial damage. Their inflammatory responses (CRP, fibrinogen, levels) are normal.

No one seems to be interested in their HDL or triglycerides.

Although, my older daughter’s triglycerides, on the diet have never been over 60.

Yet, her sister, if I let her loose with honey and other sweet toppings, has triglycerides that go triple digit (and so does her dad). Meanwhile, big sis has never had HDL below 46 (now it is 50). And her little sister has only twice had her HDL above 40. Now, it cannot be coaxed past 38.

So the ‘fix’ for my younger daughter’s borderline, 160, LDL is a statin drug.

160 is the cut-off.

159 and drugs are off the docket.

SO MY YOUNGEST IS BORDERLINE HIGH CHOLESTEROL?

What to do?

Well, I stuck with the diet plan I created… and found another that complemented it. A carb-protein balance plan that… guess what… brought her ‘bad’ cholesterol down below the line… the result? She no longer needs meds.

AND ALL I DID WAS CHANGE OUR DIET? But… they TOLD me that wouldn’t work?!

The diet I created was not imaginary. It was based on known research data regarding cholesterol ‘elimination’ in the body. And of the vitamins and minerals that support cell structure and thus arterial walls.

The diet plan I created was copied, almost word for word, straight over from the USDA and FDA requirements per a 2000 calorie a day diet.

Here’s the unofficial breakdown of our ‘heart-healthy’ semi-vegetarian diet [1]:

  • Minimum 25 grams of fiber a day, from natural sources (beans, legumes, whole grains). Not to exceed 40[2].
  • 6-8 8 ounce glasses of WATER daily (you need this to process the fiber)
  • Maximum 40 grams of sugar (natural and added)
  • Maximum 25 grams of added sugar (in addition to the 15 natural)
  • 9 inch MyPlate portions: 2 vegetables, starch, and a meat (or meat or protein alternative)
  • Meat portion is 2-3 ounces per serving
  • Starch portion is ½ to 1 cup (no more than half the meal)
  • Non or low-starch veggies are ½ the plate (funny that my dad was adamant about the same thing back in 1976)

Beyond that….

  • Fish is 1-2 times per week
  • Chicken or turkey is once per week
  • 2 eggs allowance per week (occasionally 3)
  • Low fat cheese once a week (or vegan/veggie cheese 2 times)
  • 1% milk – 8 ounces per day
  • Unsweetened, vanilla, almond milk – 8 ounces per day
  • Potato or corn – 1-2 times per week
  • Apples – daily, minimum 5 days/week
  • Bananas, melons, or other high fructose/starchy fruits are 2-3 times per month
  • 100% juice – 4-6 ounces per day max

Of importance, is this is not a complete list.

I am sure that I have forgotten some small caveat to the diet.

However, these lists gives you an idea of what goes through my head on a daily basis as I tally up what my family has eaten and will eat in the next day, week, or month.

Honestly, 4 years into this ordeal, and I have to say that it is pretty easy.

What isn’t easy is dealing with the social repercussions of the diet.

My daughters, in public school, are subjected daily to the excesses of the inane food culture that defines itself as ‘American’. Hell, let’s just call it ‘white’ American… although, other ethnicities are absorbing it now too…

Food bullying is a daily, weekly occurrence.

I have to deal with a weepy teen and pre-teen on a regular basis. It never fails that some kid waved a national food chain pizza slice in their face, or teased them because their hummus looked like ‘poop’.

In my usual mode… I am just thankful that my girls will tell me when other kids are being complete %#*%#*s.

When that mode fails and I want to scream to the four corners… this is what I would say:

Please, for the love of God and all that is good in this world… tell your kids to eat their vegetables. Tell them to not tease other kids for eating theirs… stop the merry-go-round.

What would you do if you were told that stopping your kids from eating cupcakes and pizza would help them live past the age of 28?

If you want to put it in perspective… for those that don’t have children with any diet related genetic predispositions; do you want your kids to live past the age of 60?

I will leave you to ponder the options.

For now… I have to plan out next week’s meals. Because I have already made my decision.


[1] Yes. I am a little upset right now. Apologies later. For now… deal.

[2] If you want to know why… please, by all means, exceed 40. But learn from it. Going over 40 reduces vitamin absorption to dangerous levels and has other… um… undesirous consequences. (Drink plenty of water that day.)