My father is a vegetarian for religious reasons that I can't reasonably expect him to change. I'm hoping for the advice of other paleo dieters on how to fix his problems. He's tentatively started statins, but is very keen on coming off of them if lifestyle changes can improve his bloodwork. I myself have recently started eating eggs and fish, to make a paleo diet realistic for me.
He is 60 years old, and somewhat overweight... a large potbelly of sorts, on a surprisingly thin frame. He jogs 20-30 minutes every morning, but does work a lot at the computer at other times.
He's a fairly strict lacto-vegetarian, though he'll eat eggs if they're an ingredient in baked goods or restaurant meals. His vegetable intake is insanely high, and he depends on extremely well cooked legumes (lentils and chickpeas mostly) for most of his protein. Being Indian, his intake of beneficial spices is also very high. He drinks milk, but rarely - and always skim. Several servings of fat free yogurt 3 or 4 times a week. His biggest problem in my view is his carbohydrate intake... having grown up in India, he is entrenched in the idea of of needing to eat large amounts of white rice, cream of wheat, whole-wheat flatbread, or fermented rice/lentil products at every meal. I forced him to stop eating rice - he's moved toward oats instead. I'm not really sure if that was the right thing to encourage or not :(
Trying to get him to slash his portions has been difficult, though its at least moved towards half carb staple, half veggies. Still, he just eats SO much, often in just one or two meals a day. He insists that eating any less will leave him unbearably hungry, and he can't tolerate that (a sentiment I've never been able to empathize with, but I do believe him).
He uses canola for high heat cooking, and olive oil for low heat cooking, in small amounts in either case.
His total cholesterol = 243, triglycerides = 243, LDL = 142, HDL = 52 He isn't deficient in any of the common nutrients that cause problems for vegetarians - great hemoglobin, very high B12 (likely from the supplements I force him to eat, or the first 40 years of his life eating meat), and other routine assays are normal. The cardiologist wasn't concerned with anything after vascular tests, except that his cardiovascular system was too weak/unfit and that he needed to get aerobic exercise.
He believes the recent unfavorable lipid panel is a result of putting sugar in several cups of coffee throughout the work day, a completely new development. He's completely cut the sugar, and reduced the coffee to one cup, no creamer (I wish more people knew it was trans fat).
I've started him on daily B12 (though he doesn't seem to need it) and 450 grams of Algal DHA, as well as 5000 IU of vitamin D3.
If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. I'm a little worried because neither of my parents have ever had serious health problems, and this recent development is unnerving. The paleo community is so knowledgeable, I couldn't help but ask.
asked byJayan (787)
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on January 18, 2011
at 07:34 PM
This is a tough situation. Having an Indian father with severe type II diabetes that has lead to many health complications, I understanding how frustrating it can be.
Some tricks I picked up:
- Rice cooked in an open pot has a lower glycemic index and can have fewer carbs than the instant kind or that from a pressure cooker.
- How much does he like paneer? For example, saag paneer is quite paleo.
Once my dad was hospitalized for his 3rd heart attack he began to see that he needed to change his diet. Nothing I said before that did anything. So, following PaleoGran, sometimes we must just make incremental changes and love our relatives until the right 'teachable moment' happens.
All the best of luck, Mike
Does he ever fast before holidays? If not, perhaps you could encourage that.
on January 19, 2011
at 12:59 AM
LOL@this Culp guy acting like he is in a better position to comment on the guy's situation than the guy's own cardiologist. Typical keyboard medical advice.
Jay, do NOT put too much stock into advice like Culp's. Please.
Although most of the paleo community are helpful and wise, sometimes we overreach. Best of luck and let us know how it all progresses
on January 18, 2011
at 07:18 PM
Jay, that's a challenge, I agree. I only have a few possibilities to suggest. Hope they can help a little.
Would he use stevia instead of sugar?
Ghee and Coconut oil rather than canola?
Tapioca and rice flours, instead of wheat?
Root vegetables rather than grains and legumes?
Oats have more phytates than rice. Rice is on the safe list for celiacs, and oats can be problematic.
Can you get pastured butter to make ghee?
Which portions of what do you wish him to make smaller? I'm sorry, I didn't follow that. A diet consisting of mostly carbohydrates, if calorie-restricted, will indeed leave the person hungry. It is due to the fluctuations of blood sugar and insulin.
Any chance of him eating eggs?
We may not be able to give those we love much in the way of a healthier diet, but I do think that loving them as much as we possibly can helps their health.
Perhaps someone more familiar with the cuisine might be able to suggest further ways of increasing the nourishment.
All the best to you and your family.
on July 06, 2012
at 06:55 PM
too much oil and milk will cause cholesterol numbers to spike. i was a vegetarian and my cholesterol was 220, LDL 120. Switched to a vegan diet with no oil/avocadoes and my cholesterol is now 121, LDL 65.
Yes, it's that simple. now i take B12 supplements but that's it.
on January 18, 2011
at 08:11 PM
A diet consisting primarily of sweet potato, green leafies, pastured eggs and pasture butter would fix him right up. He needs to man up and start eating more eggs if he wants to not die. He could also add some dark chocolate to boost HDL a bit more. The D3 is a great idea. I would add either natto or a k2 supplement to mitigate the increase in blood calcium due to the D3.
Also, he should find a new cardiologist, because that's irresponsible to put someone on statins with that profile without (presumably) even evaluating his LDL particle size via something like a VAP test.