Tackling Cholesterol One Bite At A Time

If you don’t know where to start controlling your cholesterol, you’re not alone.

It can feel like an impossible task to completely change your lifestyle and diet overnight, but it’s only impossible if you think of it that way. By taking it one meal at a time, lowering your cholesterol levels is as easy as swapping out just an ingredient or two.

Let’s say you’re making tacos.

Corn TortillasI usually prefer beef tacos (using corn, not flour tortillas, because I’m not a monster) with cheese and sour cream. I noticed that sour cream has a bit of cholesterol in it, and it wouldn’t take away from the flavor that much, so I just skip it when I make tacos now. I’m still using cheese, but I’m a Wisconsin boy so I’ll be hard-pressed to change that.

Instead, I can make up for the cholesterol in cheese by switching out beef for chicken. White meat is thought to be better for your cholesterol levels than red meat, so this will make your tacos better for you without really compromising on taste. By simply replacing (most of) your red meat consumption with white meat consumption, you can lower your cholesterol without having to learn a bunch of new recipes.

I also cook all my meat with olive oil now, so whether it’s red or white it’s better for my cholesterol levels than using canola oil or something. This means that instead of red meat cooked in canola oil with sour cream on top, my tacos feature white meat cooked in olive oil with no sour cream on top. I also make them exactly the same way I made the other tacos, so it’s no harder to eat healthier in this case. In fact, cheese is the only major cholesterol culprit in these new tacos of mine.

In other words, you can keep eating your favorite foods and minimally sacrifice taste with just a few heart-healthy recipe changes. It’s just a matter of knowing which foods to avoid and which foods to sneak into every meal you can. Once you know which dietary changes to make, commit to them by going to the grocery store and filling your kitchen with cholesterol-friendly options.

Once you’ve changed your diet to better fit your health needs, you can start incorporating exercise into your day to be more active.

Eating meals that are less fatty can help give you more sustained energy throughout the day and make it easier to get active. By the way, if you don’t know where to start exercise-wise, just take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood every day. If it’s boring, find a podcast or audiobook (preferably low-cholesterol) to accompany you. Or get a cholesterol buddy to join your walks/hit the gym with you.

Just remember, taking it one day at a time is the best way to commit to long-term lifestyle changes. If you like snacking, go buy a bunch of pistachios or peanuts to replace some of the junkier options we all usually tend to go for. Don’t get overwhelmed by something like high cholesterol levels, just make some of these small lifestyle changes one-by-one and your heart will thank you.

Updated: December 4, 2015 — 2:31 am

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