Garrick who blogs over at Juicing with G knows his stuff when it comes to juicing to lower cholesterol! He was once diagnosed with high cholesterol and was 60 over the border to be precise. Through juicing and other changes in his diet he has managed to keep his cholesterol at healthy levels.
We decided to interview Garrick for your benefit, and know you can learn a lot from him about lowering your cholesterol through juicing as well as lifestyle changes!
Let’s Talk With Garrick!
Sean and Liisa:
Could you tell us just a little bit about yourself, and how you came to have high cholesterol?
I’m a work from home dad who loves watching the NBA, spend time with his wife and son, and learn new stuff in the internet marketing business.
My battle with high cholesterol all started after I finished college. I stopped exercising, began to eat a lot of junk food like McDonald’s.
The combination of lack of physical activity and poor diet took a huge toll on my health. I had no energy and was overweight. It all came to a head in 2007 when my then girlfriend’s aunt gave me a huge bag of peanuts and I ate most of it. I thought eating peanuts was healthy but I was wrong, eating a huge amount had a negative effect on my cholesterol levels.
Fortunately for me my mom was very conscious with our health and we would have our regular checkups.
The results of my blood test wasn’t good, cholesterol level was pretty high at around 265 mg/dl. Doc prescribed me a 15mg dosage of Crestor once a day and eventually my cholesterol levels dropped down to 160. When it went down, I went back to eating junk food again and so the roller coaster ride began.
I only became serious when I had my son a couple of years ago, having him made me realize the responsibility I had not only for him but also for my health. If I wanted to watch him grow up and be able to play with him without sucking wind, I had to clean up my diet and become healthier.
The problem is I was still taking Crestor regularly as my maintenance drug to keep my cholesterol levels at bay. While it is effective in its purpose, it is bad for the liver and I had to find a way to limit my dependence on this drug.
Thankfully my mom introduced me to juicing and was very persistent about it.
Sean and Liisa:
Can you tell us some specifics about how you lowered your cholesterol through juicing?
In my research, I found out that most fruits and vegetables contain dietary fiber that help absorb and flush out bad cholesterol so with that in mind I increased my fruit and vegetable intake. When I’d go to the grocery I’d buy an extra pineapple or two, some strawberries, papayas, dalandan fruit and watermelon since these are the fruits available. One of my favorite breakfast combos is rolled oats sprinkled with strawberries, it tastes good and is filling enough to last me through lunch without eating anything in between.
I also replaced fried food with steamed chicken or fish, soups and salads. While doing this I realized that really can’t eat a whole lot of fruits and vegetables without feeling too bloated hence I needed another way to increase my intake so my body could absorb more nutrients and antioxidants.
I remember one time, after a routine blood test, I was diagnosed to have pre-diabetes because I had traces of protein in my urine sample, I freaked out and didn’t eat anything fried for a week and increased my water consumption (more than 2 liters per day).
After a week I had the same blood test and fortunately the traces of protein were no longer found. This proves that water along with the proper diet along with juicing can cleanse the body.
This is actually the most important step because without changing your diet, our bodies even with a lot of juice and exercise would not be able to flush out all that bad cholesterol.
Increasing water intake is very important. This in my opinion is so underrated. By drinking lots of water (at least 2 liters per day), the body isn’t dehydrated and it’ll help the kidneys flush out toxins. Drinking lots of water also help suppress hunger pangs that we suffer usually in between meals so instead of eating a few pieces of donut, replacing that with a couple of glasses of water would be more beneficial. The only side effect from this is that’ll you’ll have to use the bathroom more often but for the sake of my health it is worth it.
In the same research I did, I also found out that most leafy greens have B12, vitamin C and E (Kale alone is rich in these two vitamins), and are high in antioxidants that prevent oxidation of cholesterol. Fruits like grapes, pomegranates and Cranberry also help fight cholesterol, unfortunately cranberries and pomegranates are crazy expensive here because they’re imported from the U.S. so I just stick with grapes (red and green) and sometimes include them in my juice recipes.
If I wanted to increase my vegetable and fruit intake, I found out that juicing was a good way to do so because you separate the pulp and only take in the liquid that contains all the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes and anti-oxidants. So what I do is have a glass before 15 to 20 minutes before I eat my breakfast.
At the start I was holding back in terms of the amount green leafy vegetables I was putting in the recipes but more recently I’m adding more. For example before I would only put a few sticks of celery, now I would juice the entire thing. Same thing with Kale and Spinach.
found out that drinking juice also has this side benefit, if you drink a glass before a meal, it’ll suppress your appetite and you’ll eat less. Imagine drinking a glass of juice before every meal, you’ll eat a whole lot less calories and lose weight in the process.
Since I got my son, I found it difficult to find time to exercise but fortunately I found out through research that you don’t need spend two hours at the gym. I found a 15 minute HIIT workoutthat fits my fitness level and I do this two to three times a week.
Final note if you’re taking medication, don’t abruptly stop taking medication, instead slowly phase it out and monitor your cholesterol levels while doing so. I made this mistake a couple of times and my cholesterol levels would shoot back up. So let’s say you’re taking 10 milligrams of Crestor everyday, try cutting it down to 5 milligrams for a month then have your blood tested. If all goes well, cut it further down, instead of taking 5 milligrams a day, take it every other day for a month and have another blood test to see if indeed cholesterol levels are decreasing or has stayed put. Remember that not everybody has the same genetic makeup so results will vary depending on our lifestyle and genes.
Sean and Liisa:
Were there specific juices that you drank to help lower your cholesterol?
Yes, so far I have tried and documented 6 of these recipes in my blog.
Sean and Liisa:
Did you find out about these juices for cholesterol through your own research, and if so, what exactly did you find?
Yes, all of these recipes I found through research.
On its own LDL or bad cholesterol can’t be flushed out from your system, once it’s in your system it slowly builds up and oxidizes, blocking arteries eventually leading to various heart ailments like stroke or heart attack. You either need a drug like Crestor or consume more fruit and vegetables to flush it out naturally.
Juicing was a way for me to increase my vegetable intake.
Specifically vegetables like celery, capsicum, spinach, parsley, garlic, ginger, carrot, broccoli, and lettuce will absorb and flush out bad cholesterol. Fruits like apple and lemon will help, but I only added these two to make the juice more palatable.
Fruit is better consumed whole so you also take in the fiber that helps the gut and slows down sugar absorption.
Remember that when you juice fruit, you remove the pulp so instead of absorbing glucose, we’ll be taking in a lot of fructose.
By removing the fiber that slows down sugar absorption, fructose is absorbed directly by the bloodstream.
The thing is our bodies can’t process that much fructose in such a short period of time. We’ll suffer from insulin spikes (bad if you have diabetes) and our liver will have to work overtime to try and digest it.
Here’s the worst part, most of the fructose that our bodies absorb end up as free fatty acids (FFA), VVDL (an artery clogging form of cholesterol) or triglycerides which is stored fat, when left unchecked this can lead to a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver and insulin resistance that can develop to type 2 diabetes.
Sean and Liisa:
Were you into juicing before you found out it that you could lower your cholesterol with it?
I already knew that I could lower cholesterol through juicing even before I started juicing on my own because mom would always ask me to drink her celery juice concoction but I didn’t like it because it tasted bad.
I only found out after research and experimenting that I could make it taste better by adding stuff like apple, lemon, strawberries, etc.
Sean and Liisa:
Was it hard for you to adapt a healthier lifestyle, and add juicing to your life?
The toughest part for me was adapting a healthier eating lifestyle because I love to eat and the food we have here in our country is mostly oily.
Juicing once I got the hang of it wasn’t tough. In fact I loved drinking juice because it gives me an energy boost.
Sean and Liisa:
What motivation and advice would you offer to people who are having a hard time with their cholesterol, and a hard time getting healthy?
Think about your family and how devastated they would be emotionally and financially if you were to suffer from a serious heart ailment like stroke or heart attack – two byproducts of having high cholesterol.
For me my motivation is my 2 year old son and my wife, I don’t want my son to grow up without a father – I’d like to live long enough to see my grandkids :).
Remember that health is the biggest asset we have, yup it is bigger than the money we have in the bank.
If your health fails, everything else will fall apart – all that money you’ve worked so hard to earn will just be spent on medical bills which can be avoided had you just changed your diet and lifestyle.
As we get up there in years, we have to prioritize our health over the long term. Our bodies can only take so much junk we put in.
Sean and Liisa:
What steps would you recommend that someone might take to begin lowering their cholesterol today?
Start by cleaning up your diet. If you like to frequent fast food, I suggest finding restaurants that serve healthier dishes. These are more expensive but the money you’ll save eating in fast food will go to hospital bills down the road.
Replace fried, oil rich food with something healthy like steamed chicken, fish or vegetables. Avoid starchy foods and lessen the consumption of bread and rice that are rich in carbohydrates. Eat more fruits like banana, pineapple and papaya that help with bowel movement. My mom even told me to eat fruits before the mains because this helps in bowel movement.
My favorite combo for breakfast is a bowl of rolled oats sprinkled with strawberry and banana.
Increase water intake to keep your body hydrated and suppress hunger pangs, sometimes hunger pangs is just a way your body tells you that it is dehydrated. If you’re feeling hungry, drink a glass or two of water, if you’re still hungry, eat a banana or apple – for me this keeps those urges for junk food at bay.
The best time to drink juice is the morning when your stomach is empty. According to research drinking a glass of lemon water before any meal does help with your bowel’s movement.
Why not up the ante? What I do is, I add half a lemon to every juice I make. Drinking juice on an empty stomach allows your body to absorb more nutrients than when it is full. Another side benefit is that it suppresses your appetite, making you eat less than you would had no not drank a cup. This is from personal experience.
Don’t forget to exercise for at least 15 to 30 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week. Depending on your fitness level, you can do a light workout like yoga then progress to something more intense like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which I do for 2 to 3 times a week. Always consult your doctor first before doing any sort of fitness program.
Sean and Liisa:
Along with the link in an above question do you have any specific juice recipes for lowering cholesterol that you could share here with us onsite?
Yes! Here some of the recipes:
2 green apples
3 celery ribs
2 green Bell Peppers
A handful of spinach
1/2 bunch of parsley
1/2” ginger root
1 garlic clove
2 celery ribs
1 thumb ginger
The beauty of juicing is you use these 3 recipes as a base and then mix and match the ingredients let’s say for recipe #2, instead of using spinach, you can use kale or for recipe #3, instead of using celery ribs, you can use broccoli. You can also try leafy greens that aren’t listed here like Bok Choi or collard greens.
As your taste buds get used to the flavor of the bitter flavor of greens, you can slowly lessen the amount of fruit you put in. So instead of adding apple and lemon, you can just use half a lemon.
Sean and Liisa:
Garrick, we seriously want to thank you so very much for offering up all of your knowledge about juicing to lower cholesterol, and we know that many people are going to benefit from your experience with this!
Garrick lives in the Philippines with his wife and son. He blogs over at Juicing with G and has experience with lowering his own cholesterol through juicing and lifestyle change.
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