What is the fuss about? Cholesterol has been a big topic for quite a while now. Don’t eat your eggs. Don’t eat your meat. You don’t want to raise your cholesterol right? Let’s get those numbers down a bit. Then you have the “paleo” people who tell you to eat massive amounts of meat and eggs without worrying about it. Now I am no scientist, but I do know a little bit. Is “cholesterol” the bad guy here? Many animals in the wild eat loads of cholesterol all the time. Meat, eggs, fish, etc. Some animals don’t. Looking throughout history, all cultures have traditionally consumed some animals products; usually rich in cholesterol. In fact, the foods that were highest in cholesterol were usually regarded as “power-foods” or “delicacies.” These were foods we were lucky to have. Are fruits and vegetables great? Of course they are. But cholesterol is also great for our brain, nervous systems, and healing. WHY ALL THE MIX UP? Personally, I believe that consuming HIGH-QUALITY, properly prepared animal products is essential in almost everyone’s diet. I believe that the misconception comes when we tamper with what nature has given us and turn it into something foreign to our bodies. Let’s take a look at some common foods and why there is so much banter between these so-called “opposing” sides.
TRADITIONAL CHOLESTEROL: Rare or lightly cooked LIVER from pretty much any grass-fed animal. These may include chickens, lamb, beef, duck, etc. Raw or lightly cooked eggs (especially yolks). Bone marrow. Raw grass-fed butter and other dairy products if tolerated. Lightly cooked, baked, stewed, meats. Fatty fish contains a bit as well. Things like sardines, salmon, etc. Shellfish such as oysters and clams have a bit too. People have been eating this stuff healthfully for generations. They just prepared and ate them properly.
MODERN CHOLESTEROL: ALL pasteurized dairy products. Fried eggs. Fried steaks. Pretty much anything “fried,” especially in vegetable oils. Pre-made sausages. most lunchmeat, etc. Breaded meats would also fall into this category.
Can you see where the confusion comes from? Cutting out “modern” cholesterol-rich foods doesn’t really have to do so much with the cholesterol as with the unhealthy way these “foods” are prepared. The body creates cholesterol inside itself. The body is smart enough to balance its own levels of cholesterol. Honestly, when you eat the good stuff, you may find that you stop craving the bad so much. A little bit of high-quality animal food goes a long way. There are too many people out there that get scared off of ANIMAL FOOD for fear of raised cholesterol, clogging of arteries, clogging of organs, indigestion, etc. This is just not needed. Trust your body. Trust nature. This stuff gets screwed up because humans have modified and tricked our taste buds. Eat real food and trust your own instincts. A gorilla doesn’t need to be told to eat leaves and insects all day. A lion doesn’t need to listen to a doctor tell him he can’t eat any more red meat. We all evolved a little differently. Humans are no different. We have evolved to eat a wide variety of plants and animals. This is apparent when viewing humans around the world. Let’s stop trying to fit everyone into one “mold.” Some people do best with high amounts of fruits and veggies and relatively little animal products. Some do better on diets higher in meat and fat. A lot of this depends on your ancestry, location, vocation, time of year, activity levels, etc. Trust your bodies and let’s stop hating on CHOLESTEROL =)