Most of you know that I am a two-time cancer survivor. The radiation treatments have caused serious scar tissue to build up in my throat, constricting the area just above my esophagus. Because I cannot eat solid food, my entire diet consists primarily of 36 ounces of Boost and about 2 cups of milk each day. Occasionally I’ll make a spinach smoothie. This has been going on for over 5 years now, and at least 3 of my doctors knew exactly what I’ve been eating for nutrition. I recently had a visit with my cardiologist about my rising cholesterol levels. Just to paint a picture, I am 5’9” and weigh a whopping 150 pounds. I do moderate exercise and get good sleep. When my cholesterol levels showed a higher-than-average reading, I was surprised. My cardiologist showed me the numbers and told me he would like to write a prescription to lower my cholesterol. The last thing I wanted to do was leave his office with a new prescription.
“Hold on, Doc, I’m a health coach, and I’d prefer not to take a prescription for my cholesterol. Is there an alternative? Maybe something centered around lifestyle changes?”
There seemed to be a momentary look of surprise on his face. For a split second, I felt silly questioning the advice of an excellent cardiologist. But I thought, if I don’t ask the questions, and be my own health care advocate, then who will? I owe it to myself, my family, and also my health coaching clients. I’m not a medical professional, but I do know a little bit about healthy options. He pondered my question for a moment, then said,
“You need to eat more fiber, and you need to take vigorous, 35-minute walks 3-4 times per week.”
- “Soluble fiber becomes a thick gel in our intestines, which slows digestion (which keeps blood sugars from spiking) and traps fats so they can’t all be absorbed (which lowers cholesterol levels).” (Harvard University, Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor)
Turns out Boost has ZERO fiber. Not one doctor suggested I add fiber into my diet. I made a deal with my cardiologist that we would check my bloodwork in 3 months to see if I lowered my cholesterol. I’ve added fiber into my diet by making lentil soup, black bean soup, or if in a rush, I’ll drink Metamucil. Because of my difficulty with swallowing, I need to put the soup in a blender and make it more like a warm smoothie. It’s actually yummy and full of fiber. If you have questions that you’d like me to address in next month’s article, please contact me. Stay curious!
Johnny is an authorized Positive Intelligence Coach and a certified Health and Life Coach.
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