Lowering Cholesterol Deliciously

In just a little over a month I will turn 30.

<gag> <puke> <cry> <pull out gray hairs>

But the number isn’t the only thing pissing me off these days. Because it’s not just the number. I’ve also been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Now, my “good” cholesterol is very high, thank you avocados. But my well-documented love affair with eggs and cheese couldn’t overcome my HDL.

So now I’m on fish oil pills (side note – what do dedicated vegetarians take to lower cholesterol?) three times a day. In the past three weeks I’ve eaten eggs only once a week (instead of my normal 4-5 times a week) and have lowered my twice+ a day habit of cheese to about once every other day or so.

But I don’t want to just cut things out of my diet. I’m also looking to add things that will actively lower my cholesterol. And that’s when I remembered the dessert my cousin, Lea, made me when I vacationed in Arizona last fall. Lea is a Wellcoaches certified wellness coach and specializes in weight loss and heart disease prevention. (About Lea)

I asked her to send more information on her muesli dessert, which is simply raw oats, raisins, chopped walnuts, chopped cashews, and semi-sweet mini chocolate chips swimming in Rice Dream vanilla rice drink. Most people would assume this is a breakfast treat, but Lea has adapted it as a healthy and filling dessert, which even helps her fall asleep.

Here’s more from Lea on how a nightcap of muesli can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol (turning 30 or not):

You can’t eat as much muesli as you can more processed and refined treats. You may want to. But you can’t. I can’t. The fiber (aim for 12-30 grams of fiber each day—calculate here) carries away some of the fat calories and mops up LDL cholesterol while it’s at it. Beta Glucan is a type of soluble fiber found in oats and it’s well researched to lower cholesterol:

Consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. Source

The soluble fiber mixes with water to slow digestion and glucose absorption and increase satiety, which is why you can’t eat as much. It’s crazy to read all the important protective aspects of fiber, like protecting against breast cancer. Oats are considered a star grain in that regard. But for years I pretty much avoided cereals, breads and grains, as I feel more tired after eating them and I hate being tired.

One day I realized I could just eat them at night and a love affair began. I have meusli most nights of the week as my completely guilt-free dessert.

The nuts and fruits—raisins, dried cherries, pomegranate seeds, cranberries, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts—provide minerals, antioxidants and vitamins and the fruits balance out the acid effect on the body from the oats, which for a person guarding against osteoporosis, is very important.

The muesli helps me forgo other unredeemable treats because I truly love my evening cereal.
(Photo: ilovemypit)

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  • Sylvia February 24, 2011  

    I agree that Museli is a great tasting cereal, but just be careful with the amount. It doesn’t take much to add up the calories. A mere 1/4 cup can have around 110 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrate with 5 grams of sugar. A quarter cup is not a lot–seems like a couple of bites. Before you know it you have consumed more calories than you care to count!

  • erica February 24, 2011  

    so, do you soak the raw oats or what? you know, they have NEVER ONCE tested my cholesterol and i’ll be 35 in April. i have no idea why… i think they assume because i’m vegetarian and only eat eggs a couple times a week (though cheese daily now) that mine is low, but i’d like to know.

  • Michaela February 24, 2011  

    My doctor started checking my cholesterol/blood pressure at 20. Seriously, way to make a girl feel old…

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