Eatleaner Stories – Liz Dexter
”Be creative and find new ways to do what you enjoy or to keep eating happily.”
Where did your journey all begin?
Eleven years ago, at a routine health check as I was heading for 40, I discovered I had high cholesterol, even though I led a fairly active and healthy lifestyle. I was offered drugs to lower it, but persuaded my GP to let me try for six months to a year to get it down myself. He then offered me a printed A4 page which covered all local ethnic food groups in one page (don’t eat ghee, don’t eat this, that and the other, don’t eat pies and lard). So that wasn’t great, and no proper guidelines, so I did a load of research and worked out a healthy diet that would work for me. In my case, this meant cutting down on saturated fat in particular. While there is also evidence that a low-carb diet can also work, in my case, the low-sat-fat plus liberal use of soluble fibre (oats, oats, oats!) regime got my cholesterol levels down quickly, and they have stayed down, from 2010 to 2021 (so far!). I even wrote a book about it (which features Eatlean, of course!).
How have you become a healthier happier you?
I’d seen several people go on statins and knew that wasn’t a route I wanted to take, so I was pretty determined to keep off them. I adjusted my diet and some of the time at the start was certainly not happier, as I faced giving up things I loved – chocolate! CHEESE! There was another kind of cheese available at the time, still around, which was supposed to lower your cholesterol itself, but oh, goodness, it didn’t really taste like cheese. Then I discovered protein cheese, and tried another brand for a while which got harder and harder to get, then at least discovered Eatlean. Phew! Food enjoyment saved (I have been known to take a little pot of grated Eatlean with me to the local café to add to my baked potato and beans …).
How do you feel different today from the positive changes you have made?
It’s the little things, isn’t it, and it’s made a world of difference having nice, tasty cheese I can slice and melt and grate … Being on a funny eating regime that isn’t because of being a vegan or gluten intolerant, etc. (you’d be amazed how many people make those assumptions; it’s great people know about stuff but let me explain what the issue is, please!) can be really tricky, with not many treats at all, and lots of workarounds, but knowing I can order my cheese online and enjoy it was rather a game-changer! I also order for a few friends who have cholesterol issues, too. Also having the protein helps with my sporting achievements and general health, as protein is often found in animal products in association with saturated fat. Since 2016, I have run four marathons and one ultramarathon, and had running and my running friends to keep me (vaguely) sane during lockdown, too!
One piece of advice that you would give to the Eatlean community
While making sure you’re looking at reputable sources (the NHS, the BBC, peer-reviewed journals, organisations you can research and check for woo and lies), don’t be afraid to do your research and, unless faced with a life-limiting, urgent issue, see if you can get some time to sort things out your own way if you’re faced with a health issue (however, ask your doctor, and accept if you need medication either short term or long term: I didn’t try to eat more protein cheese to mend myself when I broke my hand falling over in a race; I went to A&E!). Be creative and find new ways to do what you enjoy or to keep eating happily.
More information on Liz’s book can be found HERE
Read more of our inspirational Eatleaner Stories HERE