The result of 1.5 years of eating 15+ eggs a week? Optimum Cholesterol Levels!!!
Posted Dec 20 2011 3:36am
While at work, a co-worker and fellow sports fan casually mentioned that ex-NBA ball player Armen Gilliam, dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a game of ball. Being around the same age as Gilliam, pushing 50, I asked myself, with all the eggs I eat, could I possibly be vulnerable to something like that happening to me so suddenly and unexpectedly?
Although I am still a poultry and fish eater, for personal reasons I am gradually decreasing (not eliminating) my intake of chicken. I will probably always eat some chicken but my system tells me eggs are a better way to go on a daily basis for me.
That makes sense, considering that it is well known that eggs are probably the most easily assimilated form of animal protein, that is, it is easiest to digest and much more of it is effectively absorbed and converted into the protein needs for the body. However, as I always say, I am not a doctor or a scientist, but I realize I am responsible for what I put in my body. I suppose there could be two dozen other reasons one could have a heart attack, i.e. heart disease, undetected birth defect, stress, fright, being forced to listen to a LaToya Jackson album, or I suppose about anything else. However, even the novice in health is aware that there does seem to be some relationship between high cholesterol and diseases of the heart. I remember someone once saying if your Cholesterol is above 300, you are a walking heart attack. So, be it right or wrong, a waste of time or not, I started thinking hard about all the eggs I was eating and my cholesterol level.
Simply put, I love eggs. Mostly scrambled, sometimes hard boiled. a very quick meal to cook. Once I got into organic, cage free eggs, it seemed like the taste quality took my love of eggs to a new level. Eggs and oatmeal, eggs and grits, I don't eat a lot of bread anymore, but eggs sandwiches are also a hit. Sometime with cheese, although I am ratcheting down my dairy intake as a personal choice. Also, I found this very healthy, gluten free, millet bread (I don't have to do gluten free just mentioning it). Millet is a grain that rich in the supposedly cancer preventing nutrient vitamin B17 (also called nitrilocides, or laetrile), but we'll save that for another article. I normally scramble them in organic Coconut Oil, which I will cover in another article because of the heated debate on the high level saturated fats in Coconut Oil. I will say that I believe the saturated fat is nothing for me to worry about, as I was soon to find out with my cholesterol scores. Another quick note is that I buy almost exclusively Free Range and/or Cage Free Organic eggs from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. This is perhaps one level down from the real eggs that would be laid by birds that eat totally natural, i.e. bugs and such. I consider my eggs the "top of the line" that you can get from a Whole Foods or similar store. They probably are not the best of the best, since often their organic feed is organic corn or organic soybeans, neither of which I am a big fan of. However, it's as close as I can get to the real thing, unless I am at a farmer's market or something like that.
Anyhoo, the problem is that the last time I took a physical back in Chicago, at Northwestern Memorial hospital, they do as they always do, their poking and prodding, take my blood, run my insurance and send me on my way. A week later, after no expected phone call, I called and asked why I didn't get a call to discuss the results of the Cholesterol test an other blood work. I was told they don't make those calls anymore, they would have called me if something came back "abnormal", but I can look at the results on the web if I want. So much for doctor/patient relationship in this day and age. Marcus Welby would be so disappointed. If you don't know who Marcus Welby is, don't worry, that was before your time.
Here in Portland I currently don't have a doctor, but they have a place called Any Lab Test, where you can go in and get blood work for anything; HIV, Cholesterol, Testosterone levels, prostate PSA, any of the tests you can get a the to doctor. I went over, told them I just wanted to check my cholesterol cause I'm eating 15 to 20 eggs a week, every week. So they took my blood and the next day I got my results. I wasn't too worried because I was sure I was in great health so far as that is concerned, but just wanted to make sure.
My test results simply astonished me. No only were they good they were considered OPTIMAL. Now I am not totally attributing this to eating eggs, but I proved to myself that eating all those eggs was not a detriment to my cholesterol levels.
Here is a basic break down of a couple of those cholesterol test numbers that we all are probably familiar with.
LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries and increase your chances of getting heart disease. That is why LDL cholesterol is referred to as "bad" cholesterol.
(The lower your LDL cholesterol number, the lower your risk)
Less than 100(Optimal), 100-129(Good), 130-159(Borderline High), 160-189(High-Caution), 190 and above(Very High-Danger) My LDL score 79 !!!!!!!!!! WOW
HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease by taking the "bad" cholesterol out of your blood and keeping it from building up in your arteries. The line below explains what the numbers mean.
(The higher the number, the lower your risk.)
60 and above (Optimal, low risk), <40/men, <50/women (too low, higher risk) My HDL score 80 !!!!!!!!!! WOW (I was told HDL is very rare to be that high)
Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food and the body. A high triglyceride level has been linked to higher risk of coronary artery disease.
(The lower the number, the lower your risk.)
30-150(Optimal), 150-199(Mildly High), 200-499(High), 500 and above(Very High-Danger) My Triglyceride score 31 !!!!!!!!!! Triple WOW
Your total blood cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and other lipid components. Doctors recommend total cholesterol levels below 200. My Total Cholesterol score 175, I'm all up in the zone. Although, my understanding is below 200 is optimum for the "American Diet" other low risk cultures can have optimal standards of 150 or lower
Since the doctor never conferred with me on that last cholesterol test a few years back, I don't know what those scores were at that time, and I cannot prove that free range organic eggs is the sole thing that gave me an optimal set of scores, but I have at least proven to myself that eggs in no way cause any issues with my cholesterol scores. With a LDL of 79 and HDL of 80 it seems that I am pretty well balanced in the two types of cholesterol, and I surely believe that proper diet gets me to that balance. I must also stress that I have never had any weight issues or any hereditary cholesterol or heart issues in the family, so I couldn't possibly recommend to anyone to run out and eat all the eggs you can. Common sense would dictate to see your doctor or Naturopath before any drastic changes in diet or nutrition. But for me, I have proven to myself that the cholesterol in eggs myth is trully a myth for me, and from other research of mine, cholesterol is necessary for the body's normal functioning. I am ratcheting down my intake of eggs simply because my 5 egg omlettes on the weekend kinds of over-stuffs me, it's just that they are so delicious. However now I can enjoy them without that cholesterol worry in the back of my head, the one that we all seem to have falsely ingrained in us, from who knows where, perhaps it was something Marcus Welby once said……..
……special note that this is my first article being submitted to a really great bloggist who has a really great concept called "Fight Back Fridays" where conscious foodists such as myself can link up with others and share ideas, recipes and other information pertaining to taking control of our wellness through food and other relevant topics. The "Fight Back Fridays" back link for Jan 13, 2012 can be found here. Good work Food Renagade!!!!! ~dw~