2

votes

worried about my vegetarian father's lipid panel

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 18, 2011 at 6:50 PM

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.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 22, 2011
at 09:59 AM

Jay, I'm so glad your ghee turned out well. I, too, find that taking things to people, already made, and ready to use, makes the better choices accessible. I hope there are some other traditional things, which would have their respect, which you can re-introduce into their lives. Homemade ghee is a lovely present. Thanks very much for posting about it. I'm sending you lots of good thoughts.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 22, 2011
at 04:07 AM

Thank you for the K2 suggestion.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 22, 2011
at 04:02 AM

I made ghee today from pastured butter, and it is absolutely delicious. I told both my parents to start using it instead of Canola, and made it obviously accessible...but they looked a little incredulous. Its hard to argue because I'm not extremely solid in my sense of exactly how overstated the lipid theory is/has been. Regardless, moderate exercise is always beneficial - at least I can depend on that. Thanks again for your kindness/concern.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 22, 2011
at 03:58 AM

Lol, you know - when I've suggested he get a membership and come to the gym with me, he's said yes in somewhat dismissive/joking way. If I really was serious about it though, I could get him to do it. That's more about the effort that it'll take from me... before it didn't seem realistic or worth it (and I was being lazy), but now I'm ready to do a lot more.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 22, 2011
at 03:55 AM

that's a good point. I'm waffling between making him make a sudden, big change, or introducing it gradually. He's normally a very rational guy, so we'll see what happens. Thanks for the advice!

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 06:05 PM

@Jay: I forgot to put it in my response but would your dad consider lifting weights, even say a circuit? Circuit training will increase insulin sensitivity thus buying you time by preserving pancreatic function. It may also make him feel better. And, I think his cardiologist would approve.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 06:02 PM

@Travis Culp: Can we stick to responding to this guys question? What do you gain from maligning "pharmaceutically co-opted western medicine". A polemic on modern medicine's flaws won't help this situation.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 06:00 PM

@Travis: ".. no reason for her father to be a martyr as a result of backward religious beliefs" Please have some respect for someone else's decisions. They are not backward because they don't agree with you. For some, there are more important things to life than proper nutrition. Without mutual respect few meaningful discussions will progress anywhere.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 12:24 PM

@Jay, just make sure he doesn't dump a ton of rice to pick up the sauce!

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 12:24 PM

@Jay: I understand your reluctance to up his calories. However, perhaps it would be easier to wean him off grains if he was eating something else that is rich traditional food. That is I would worry less about calories than about bettering his hormonal environment by controlling his insulin. I advocate this because obesity is not the only problem associated with diabetes and perhaps the others, like bad serum lipids, are easier changed first. If they go down, perhaps this new approach will gain more credence and then you can cut calories by decreasing carbs.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 12:20 PM

@PaleoGran Paneer is somewhat mislabeled as cheese. You make it by heating whole milk and curdling it by adding some acid like lemon or lime juice. Because cream can curdle, I would expect you could. I have some heavy cream left over from baking a cake. (Rosewater and pistachio with a chocolate ganache for gf's bday). I'll try it today and report back.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 02:42 AM

Travis, I wasn't saying you were wrong, I was just saying your wording was insensitive.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:44 AM

I'll state his credentials instead: heartscanblog.blogspot.com Sherpa: there is no reason for her father to be a martyr as a result of backward religious beliefs. The bottom line is that his diet is negatively impacting his health and a magic pill is not going to fix that. He already eats eggs in some amount, so he should just make it his primary protein source. It's actually pretty much the best protein source there is in addition to being packed with other nutrients. I don't care if my post is too jarring for the delicate sensibilities of you "cavemen."

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:43 AM

I'll state his credentials instead: http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/ Sherpa: there is no reason for her father to be a martyr as a result of backward religious beliefs. The bottom line is that his diet is negatively impacting his health and a magic pill is not going to fix that. He already eats eggs in some amount, so he should just make it his primary protein source. It's actually pretty much the best protein source there in addition to being packed with other nutrients. I don't care if my post is too jarring for the delicate sensibilities of you "cavemen."

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:40 AM

The fact that we're talking about someone's life is principally why I posted what I did. Few things are as irresponsible as pharmaceutically co-opted western medicine. Your position arises primarily as the result of faith and willful ignorance. There is no excuse for either.

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:16 AM

Feel free to state your credentials to support your post, Travis Culp. I suspect, strongly, that you have none whatsoever and simply sit online acting like you occupy a position of importance that you clearly don't.

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:14 AM

SherpaMelissa is correct. This is TERRIBLE advice.

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:14 AM

You're in no position to comment on this guy's cardiologist. Just because you post to a blog that no one reads means absolutely nothing in real life. Please remember that we're talking about someone's life here. This may seem remote due to it being online and all, but it really does matter. Act responsibly.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:09 AM

Nothing quite like a faith-based approach to one's health. I wish you the best of luck with that. Magic pill syndrome has grown deep roots, it would seem.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:08 AM

This statement "He needs to man up and start eating more eggs if he wants to not die." is kind of insensitive when you are talking to someone about their father's health. This is not his buddy that is being an ass and needs to "man up". This is his father, with a religious issues and a lifelong belief that doctor's know best.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:04 AM

Nothing quite like a faith-based approach to one's health. I wish you the best of luck with that.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 18, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Mac, thanks very much for your post. That is useful to know about cooking rice. Could paneer be made from cream?

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 18, 2011
at 08:04 PM

Jay, I could tell how much you care about him, and I know how very set in their ways older folks are. I know pastured butter is expensive, but it would give him some sorely needed nourishment. I am sending you all the best thoughts I can. Is there anything else in the traditional diet, maybe from generations and generations ago, that might be appealing to him?

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:55 PM

Thanks for those tips! Some part of me is still hesitant to feed him paneer because of the calories.. it only makes sense if he cuts his carb intake at the same time. But it's a great idea. Hope things get better for your father soon.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:31 PM

Thanks so much for reading such an awfully long post! I was trying to get him to cut his carb intake, and increase the vegetable intake (to fill him up). Tapioca and other root vegetables is what I was leaning towards. They're part of the cuisine and he likes them. I have considered making ghee from pasture butter...it is expensive, but I think it may be worth it if others don't think it's crazy. Convincing him to go back to coconut oil (the traditional cooking oil of Kerala) after moving to canola for "health" is going to be interesting... Thanks again!

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5 Answers

3
4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:34 PM

Hi Jay,

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 18, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Mac, thanks very much for your post. That is useful to know about cooking rice. Could paneer be made from cream?

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:55 PM

Thanks for those tips! Some part of me is still hesitant to feed him paneer because of the calories.. it only makes sense if he cuts his carb intake at the same time. But it's a great idea. Hope things get better for your father soon.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 12:24 PM

@Jay: I understand your reluctance to up his calories. However, perhaps it would be easier to wean him off grains if he was eating something else that is rich traditional food. That is I would worry less about calories than about bettering his hormonal environment by controlling his insulin. I advocate this because obesity is not the only problem associated with diabetes and perhaps the others, like bad serum lipids, are easier changed first. If they go down, perhaps this new approach will gain more credence and then you can cut calories by decreasing carbs.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 12:24 PM

@Jay, just make sure he doesn't dump a ton of rice to pick up the sauce!

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 12:20 PM

@PaleoGran Paneer is somewhat mislabeled as cheese. You make it by heating whole milk and curdling it by adding some acid like lemon or lime juice. Because cream can curdle, I would expect you could. I have some heavy cream left over from baking a cake. (Rosewater and pistachio with a chocolate ganache for gf's bday). I'll try it today and report back.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 22, 2011
at 03:55 AM

that's a good point. I'm waffling between making him make a sudden, big change, or introducing it gradually. He's normally a very rational guy, so we'll see what happens. Thanks for the advice!

2
5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

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

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:40 AM

The fact that we're talking about someone's life is principally why I posted what I did. Few things are as irresponsible as pharmaceutically co-opted western medicine. Your position arises primarily as the result of faith and willful ignorance. There is no excuse for either.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:09 AM

Nothing quite like a faith-based approach to one's health. I wish you the best of luck with that. Magic pill syndrome has grown deep roots, it would seem.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:04 AM

Nothing quite like a faith-based approach to one's health. I wish you the best of luck with that.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 06:02 PM

@Travis Culp: Can we stick to responding to this guys question? What do you gain from maligning "pharmaceutically co-opted western medicine". A polemic on modern medicine's flaws won't help this situation.

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:14 AM

You're in no position to comment on this guy's cardiologist. Just because you post to a blog that no one reads means absolutely nothing in real life. Please remember that we're talking about someone's life here. This may seem remote due to it being online and all, but it really does matter. Act responsibly.

2
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

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.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:31 PM

Thanks so much for reading such an awfully long post! I was trying to get him to cut his carb intake, and increase the vegetable intake (to fill him up). Tapioca and other root vegetables is what I was leaning towards. They're part of the cuisine and he likes them. I have considered making ghee from pasture butter...it is expensive, but I think it may be worth it if others don't think it's crazy. Convincing him to go back to coconut oil (the traditional cooking oil of Kerala) after moving to canola for "health" is going to be interesting... Thanks again!

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 18, 2011
at 08:04 PM

Jay, I could tell how much you care about him, and I know how very set in their ways older folks are. I know pastured butter is expensive, but it would give him some sorely needed nourishment. I am sending you all the best thoughts I can. Is there anything else in the traditional diet, maybe from generations and generations ago, that might be appealing to him?

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 22, 2011
at 09:59 AM

Jay, I'm so glad your ghee turned out well. I, too, find that taking things to people, already made, and ready to use, makes the better choices accessible. I hope there are some other traditional things, which would have their respect, which you can re-introduce into their lives. Homemade ghee is a lovely present. Thanks very much for posting about it. I'm sending you lots of good thoughts.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 22, 2011
at 04:02 AM

I made ghee today from pastured butter, and it is absolutely delicious. I told both my parents to start using it instead of Canola, and made it obviously accessible...but they looked a little incredulous. Its hard to argue because I'm not extremely solid in my sense of exactly how overstated the lipid theory is/has been. Regardless, moderate exercise is always beneficial - at least I can depend on that. Thanks again for your kindness/concern.

-1
A009c58a02948486f8958430f43a8102

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.

-1
Medium avatar

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.

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:14 AM

SherpaMelissa is correct. This is TERRIBLE advice.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on January 22, 2011
at 04:07 AM

Thank you for the K2 suggestion.

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:16 AM

Feel free to state your credentials to support your post, Travis Culp. I suspect, strongly, that you have none whatsoever and simply sit online acting like you occupy a position of importance that you clearly don't.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 19, 2011
at 06:00 PM

@Travis: ".. no reason for her father to be a martyr as a result of backward religious beliefs" Please have some respect for someone else's decisions. They are not backward because they don't agree with you. For some, there are more important things to life than proper nutrition. Without mutual respect few meaningful discussions will progress anywhere.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:08 AM

This statement "He needs to man up and start eating more eggs if he wants to not die." is kind of insensitive when you are talking to someone about their father's health. This is not his buddy that is being an ass and needs to "man up". This is his father, with a religious issues and a lifelong belief that doctor's know best.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:44 AM

I'll state his credentials instead: heartscanblog.blogspot.com Sherpa: there is no reason for her father to be a martyr as a result of backward religious beliefs. The bottom line is that his diet is negatively impacting his health and a magic pill is not going to fix that. He already eats eggs in some amount, so he should just make it his primary protein source. It's actually pretty much the best protein source there is in addition to being packed with other nutrients. I don't care if my post is too jarring for the delicate sensibilities of you "cavemen."

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 02:42 AM

Travis, I wasn't saying you were wrong, I was just saying your wording was insensitive.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:43 AM

I'll state his credentials instead: http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/ Sherpa: there is no reason for her father to be a martyr as a result of backward religious beliefs. The bottom line is that his diet is negatively impacting his health and a magic pill is not going to fix that. He already eats eggs in some amount, so he should just make it his primary protein source. It's actually pretty much the best protein source there in addition to being packed with other nutrients. I don't care if my post is too jarring for the delicate sensibilities of you "cavemen."

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