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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters - Winter 2005 Issue

‘How I Beat Big Pharma’
By Judy Weiner

“It looks like I have to put you on Lipitor, Judy, your total cholesterol is 244 and your LDLs are 143.” I was flabbergasted. Me on Lipitor? “But Doctor, how can this be? I’ve cut out meat almost entirely and also my dairy products are fat free.” Dr. Silberstein pointed out, “There is cholesterol even in fat-free dairy products; just read the labels.”

I protested so vehemently that he gave in. “OK, I’ll give you three months to see if you can get the numbers down on your own. You know what to do, and also exercise 30 minutes a day.”

I quickly set about putting together a program. I had been reading about nutrition for over 25 years so I was able to draw from various nutritional gurus. I had also been an avid exerciser since stopping smoking in 1980, so I was ahead on that score too.

For breakfast I began eating raw oats with ground flaxseed, soymilk, chopped almonds and fruit, and loved it. I decided to eliminate all the “white” carbs as per Atkins and use as my base brown rice, whole wheat pasta and other whole grains and legumes. I started to cook more creatively, using tofu, TVP, veggie burgers, and stocked up on condiments that can add so much to dishes. My only fats were of plant origin (olive and canola oils and soy margarine). I ate as many calcium-rich green veggies daily as I could and lots of fruit. To sum up, I eliminated all animal flesh and fats from my diet. Rather than feeling deprived, I loved my meals.

After three months, I had lost 11 pounds, but I felt nervous as the big day approached when I would hear the results of my blood tests. Weight loss was not necessarily a guarantee that my blood lipids had dropped. After all, look at Big Pharma’s latest ads for their cholesterol-lowering drugs – the message being that some of us, due to heredity, will have high levels of cholesterol as we age. This may be true, but I kept remembering the inspiring lecture by Dr. Mills which made me think that it really is all about what you put in your body.

Dr. Silberstein looked at me incredulously. “How did you do it?

Your total cholesterol is now 187 and your LDLs are down to 103. No Lipitor for you.” I left his office feeling as if I was floating on a cloud.

Several months have passed, and I have not altered my diet, despite an evil demon within warning that I might succumb to previous habits.

I still love my food and feel fantastic. I do wonder however, how to get enough absorbable dietary calcium (because I was diagnosed with osteoporosis), but I am working on it.

Another concern is making sure I bring enough high calorie food with me on hikes because I am a “fast burner” by nature. Peanut butter appears to be replacing all the cheese I used to rely on for fuel. The crux of the matter is summed up in this quote from the article “Diet and stress in Vascular Disease,” in the June 1961 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. “A vegetarian diet can prevent 90 percent of our thrombo-embolic disease and 97 percent of our coronary occlusions.”

Return to Winter 2005 Issue

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