She quickly decided that, clearly, I needed to be on medication. Stat. And so, at the tender age of twenty, I was put on cholesterol drugs.
However, I was unsure myself whether or not this was really the right course of action. Starting cholesterol medication at twenty meant I could be taking these drugs for sixty plus years. Many of these drugs simply haven't been around that long. In addition, I knew I couldn't be on the drugs when I was pregnant or breast feeding. So, to me, it seemed like I should at least try to see if I could lower my cholesterol without drugs. (I should note at this time that I am talking about the right course of action for MYSELF. I would personally rather not take the drugs, but I'm not saying that others should not or that it may not be the right choice for someone else.)
And I found that by changing my diet, I was, in fact, able to lower my cholesterol levels. By eating healthier, I got my cholesterol down to a manageable level.
No drugs needed.
But while I was in graduate school, I really let go of many of my good eating habits. And though I've gotten better about my eating while un(der)employed, and though I've started running more regularly, I'm really nervous that my cholesterol has spiked and that my doctor is going to recommend the drugs again.
In fact, I have a physical scheduled in a couple weeks, and whenever I think about it, I get a little freaked out. What if, what if, what if, what if?
The thing is, I know better. I *really* know better. I know that if I followed our friend Michael Pollan's food rules I could not only reduce my environmental impact, but I could also keep my cholesterol under control.
I'm hoping desperately that my cholesterol levels are not out of control. But if they are on the high side, I hope I use that knowledge as a wake-up call. Hell, even if they are on the lower side, I could still use a wake-up call.
Because I know that it is not inevitable that I suffer from heart disease. And by eating healthier, I can both help the planet and myself.