My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby and why

Prevention No Bloat Diet cookbook with low FODMAP foods

I’m pretty diligent when it comes to Dr. visits. If something is due, I just go in. Then it’s done!

But there were a series of tests I put off for years. High cholesterol runs in my family so I had suggested to be tested for this a number of years ago… that I never did do. Reason? I was to fast prior. I just could not fathom going into town without my AM coffee! Sad but true. Coffeeaholics unite…

Recap:

But after my most recent trip to Hawaii I shared in THIS POST, attention to my health rose to the very top of the list. Highlighted in neon.

During that visit, I was tested for high cholesterol and a bunch of other weird stuff, and was promised a call IF anything was amiss.

Well… guess what.

I got ‘the call’. Gulp.

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I was to report back to the Dr’s office to get all the results. She said it wasn’t a panic but to eat well. Hmmm…. that would mean high cholesterol indeed… but I had no idea how bad. Great.

The first thing I did was put out a request for high cholesterol advice on my Facebook profile page, because I needed helpful advice on what worked for others NOW, not in a week from now after talking to the Dr. I was eventually gifted with over 130 comments! I quickly did some online search based on the references, chose the ones that seemed to fit well for me and went grocery shopping. While my basic eating really wasn’t that bad, I did cheat at night on junk, so that was put to a halt immediately.

I tried a few of the new groceries, but havoc started to wreak with my sensitive stomach. I just felt crappy. Could have been detox from bad foods, but more-so, I haven’t dealt well with grain intake since taking a long round of antibiotics a couple years back, so my stomach was beginning to get very unhappy with me. I was obviously going overboard on something without enough knowledge.

But I’m glad I did some homework. Because once I was in the Dr’s office, I immediately knew what she was talking about. All these fancy medical terms and what even FODMAP foods meant. So armed with paper and pen, I asked and asked and asked until she SENT me on my way. 😉

Results and Recommendations

Medication was NOT suggested for me. YES YES YESSSS!

I’m still unsure if I would have taken any or not, but I was going to try without if possible. Glad I didn’t have to go down that scary route.

My (Canadian) cholesterol numbers were:

9.45 total (was told 5.7 is ideal)
7.41 LDL (bad! – should be 2 or under)
1.61 HDL (good! – should stay over 1.2)

Now this is cool! I was also given an online link for a Risk Calculator where once you enter your info, it gives you risk factors within a 10 year timeframe. You will need to know your cholesterol numbers,  blood pressure and a few other things before using it…

CLICK FOR THE RISK CALCULATOR HERE

My risk factor as-is was at 11.7% of something major happening within 10 years. If it’s a hereditary issue, your % goes up, which was the case with me.

She also recommended following a Mediterranean diet and to shy away from FODMAP friendly foods, and moderate exercise. And to get retested for high cholesterol in another 3 months to check the new and hopefully improved numbers.

So here’s a little more on what all those fancy terms and diet even mean…

A Mediterranean diet

A Mediterranean diet is a healthy longterm lifestyle eating style based on:

  • daily consumption of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy fat
  • weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs
  • Moderate portions of dairy products

What is not allowed:

  • limited red meat
  • sugar
  • refined grains
  • unhealthy carbs
  • unhealthy processed food
  • deep fried food

I was relieved that it didn’t sound too restrictive! I’m not currently a vegetarian however I’d like to incorporate more plant foods into my diet, so a combo of both sounded do-able.

Many of their suggestions would give me issues though, so I’ll be substituting some things for…

Avoiding FODMAP foods

FODMAP foods are basically anything you eat that makes you bloat. Certain foods like broccoli for example.

This is a real thing. If you are gluten-sensitive or just have a fussy stomach, I encourage you to search what this is pronto if you don’t yet know. I’ve linked to a really good book on this below.

Some of the recommended FODMAP-safe foods are not good for high cholesterol though, so I’ll be referring to some leaner substitutes.

This is where it pays to fully investigate your needs, and custom-create a plan that works best for you.

Exercise

Exercising daily for at least 30 minutes was also recommended. I bike in good weather but honestly don’t in bad, so I’ll have to come up with a plan. I suppose I won’t melt if I walk in the rain, right?!

Moving decreases stress AND keeps your body functions moving in the right direction so sitting around is not an option. Movement of some kind is a MUST.

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Honestly? While no one wants to hear something is wrong, this news was SUCH a kick in a direction, period! You know when something is off but you have no idea why? This offered a road map that I was capable of following.

I may go to a natural path at some point if I can’t get it right on my own, however I first needed more education, so a stop at a bookstore was next.

Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

Cookbook Shopping

Several cook books were recommended as being total winners where high cholesterol came into play. I basically sat on the book store floor and leafed through many of them.

Here’s what I ended up bringing home and why…


Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

Forks over Knives – on Amazon HERE

This book came VERY highly recommended by friends. It’s a recipe book on a healthy, whole-foods, plant-based way of eating. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, tubers and legumes are the foundation. 

After leafing through it, it immediately felt a little over my head. Most everything suggested is homemade, so a recipe may call for several other homemade things you’ve yet to make!

However the recipes sounded easy and positively delicious. The book was quite frankly recommended too many times not to try it. And it helps you with bulk shopping lists so you have what you need on hand.

Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

No Boat Diet / Prevention – on Amazon HERE

This was my find and I’m over the MOON about it!

The No Bloat Diet cookbook is based on selecting foods that don’t cause bloating issues, called high FODMAP foods. My own issue came about from being on antibiotics for too long of a period, and I’ve had gluten and bloating issues ever since.

I found the good vs. bad food lists super helpful and other beginner education so you can even understand what this all means. They also explain how to choose a proper probiotic for your needs, which was super cool. 

Most recipes pictures as well as intake amounts (carbs, etc) which I find helpful.

This is an exceptional book, for information alone. I’ve dropped some problematic food it listed and have noticed positive results already. I’ve yet to try the recipes though.

Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

Learn how I'm beating high cholesterol with these healthy cook books Forks over Knives, No Bloat Diet, Vegan Reset, part of My new low FODMAP Mediterranean diet hobby.

Vegan Reset – on Amazon HERE

If you love pretty recipe books, this is the one. PLUS.

The Vegan Reset cookbook is a plant-based recipe book with gorgeous pictures beside very recipe. I am a visual learner so this ranked very high for me.

But what was even cooler was how the book laid out full day meals vs just single meals.  Feeling lazy or overwhelmed? Open one page, and do THAT. THE END. I loved that!

Plus, I mean, those photos… this is probably the most gorgeous recipe book I’ve ever laid eyes on. I will have no issue being a vegetarian with this one!

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So!  I appear to have a new healthy-foodie hobby that I didn’t intend to have. Food preparation has not been a passion of mine for some time, but perhaps through new recipes and finding more food I CAN eat, that may be reactivated.

All I know is, changing my diet is totally do-able. And while some of my favourite things are off the food map at least for a spell, it doesn’t mean I have to be deprived. It just needs to be different. There are so many good replacements out there and it’s flat out up to us to stock it so we grab that instead.

As an empty-nester, I have the time to make this journey everything it ought to be. So now it’s my turn.

It feels so different putting me first. But I suppose that is the gift we are given later in life.

Right when we appear to need it too, huh?

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Do you have any tips on lowering cholesterol? I’d love to hear what works for you!

Learn how to make soothing, healthy fresh ginger tea!

Visit Part 1 – My Dr’s Advice for menopausal women HERE

Visit more health posts HERE

And some of my favorite recipes HERE

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  1. Good luck on your healthy journey Donna. I, unfortunately, had kicked the bucket and am now on meds for my cholesterol. It also runs in my family plus my idea of a Mediterranean diet includes french fries and souvlaki. Haha!

  2. I could have written this post Donna, it’s all too familiar. Two years ago I was told about the low FODMAP diet when diagnosed with IBS. My cholesterol numbers are also similar to yours. The FODMAP diet works great for IBS. We eat steel cut oats, porridge every day and doctor it up with low fat yogurt, berries, etc. Stay away from statins, they are poison, I could barely walk, now that’s another story. Good luck with this, it becomes easier every day. Exercise is huge.

    • @sandy Williams….you mentioned statins…I would like to know more of your experience,if you wouldn’t mind. 1994i had a triple bypass..I can’t remember if I “ had fibromyalgia” before or after that..but I’m beginning to think it was after that..and I’m suspecting the medicines since then. I had a 4 bypass in 2011,and recently a stent,more medicine. I was put on Brilinta which for me was a vicious med. got off it. I am really getting leery of miracle meds,especially with long term use.
      And I am getting curious about others experiences,I recently read a report that people on statins didn’t live much longer than a few days than those who took it. However I am 76…if you feel like sharing your experience,I’m all for it.

      And Donna..you go girl! So happy to hear you are taking control..and you are young enough to see it through and be encouraging to us all. Yes,ride in the rain,Oregonians do it! ( not me,I’m not native born) 🤪

  3. Just read your other post and had to comment about taking vitamin D. I had been told to take it but basically ignored the recomendation. Well, I finally listened and I have to say, the results have been amazing, so much so that I had to add my story. I poo pooed my doctor since I ate a lot of dairy and figured I knew better. The change in my energy, joint pain and mood have been noticiable.
    I am waking up to the fact that I have not been treating my body the way I should. I am easily about 80 pounds overweight which can happen so easily when you gain a pound or two a year…no big deal, right? I am now trying to reclaim my health through changes in my diet. If it is processed, it probably isn’t a good choice has become my guide. I cannot ever see giving up certain foods such as bread or pasta (I’m half Sicilian) but I have embraced portion size and choose whole grains. I am trying to give up sweets for only special occasions and have cut way back on my dairy addiction.
    Good luck to you and everyone who is in this same boat.

  4. I got this book from the library several years ago and it has amazing info on what happens in your body after you consume certain things and how your microbiome works, etc. It was excellent. Highly recommend. Very educational. Robynne Chutkan’s book: Gutbliss.

  5. Sounds like you are committed to following through with these changes. Have you considered a session or two with a Registered Dietition? This is their field and they won’t have a book or other personal connection to anything they recommend.

  6. Hi Donna!
    Many years ago my cholesterol was getting too high and I remember my Dr. telling me to walk 20 minutes 4 days a week and it would come down. I don’t remember how long it was between Dr. visits. I know when I went back and had it checked again it was perfect. I bought a treadmill, so I can walk when ever I want. Walking has been the best for me. I wish you all the best with your health!

  7. Donna,

    Think I will hop on the bandwagon with you. Been having tummy issues and also high cholesterol for several years. I am on medication for high cholesterol. As long as I am on meds it is under control. Even on meds I watch everything I eat. Think I will invest in several books to help me out. I have seen a nutritionist and she said I was doing all the right things. I started doing yoga too. Good luck in your new journey, Donna.

  8. Donna, Life is such a journey and our health really has more to do with our routine and habits – doesn”t it? I went on a “real food” kick several years ago and it was a game changer. Recently decided to switch over to more of a seafood diet as well. Adding fresh herbs when you cool is a great way to spice up any meal and actually make cooking fun even for an empty nester. Believe me I get it, I’m there and what a transition.
    Fish oil tablets might be something to look into if high cholesterol is a concern as well. Hope that helps, I’ve been enjoying your bike ride stories on instagram. Such beautiful scenery and at times they inspire me to watercolor paint. Hang in there -as you’ve probably discovered the exercise is a game changer. I use to dread it now being completely honest, it’s almost the favorite part of my day. Enjoy the good, Carole

  9. For years I had IBS symptoms along with other intestinal problems and nothing seemed to help them. I went from eating a standard American diet to flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian and whole food plant based vegan. With each transition my symptoms improved and now that I’ve been vegan for 5 years my symptoms are virtually gone and I’m much healthier in general. I make Forks Over Knives recipes all the time and love them. I also have a recipe app that easily adds recipes from internet sites and use that daily. (It helps that I love reading food blogs which makes it super easy to find new recipes.)

    It works best for me to do some prep work in advance and make a soup or stew that I can eat all week. This way I don’t end up home and hungry and too tired to cook and it also gives me easy lunches.

    Good luck I ding the way of eating that works the best for you. It’s not as overwhelming as it feels at first and the results are worth it!

    • I’m so glad to hear you sorda have it figured out Pat! That gives me hope. I can’t wait to update on what’s working here… I’m pretty stoked! But in a nutshell, I’m just focusing on whole foods and it’s helping!