Quantity not Quality

Around the end of last year, I forced Adam to sit down and watch “Forks Over Knives” with me. It’s a documentary based on the book, “The China Study”. I think how it happened was that he asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said, “For you to watch this movie.”

My sister sent me the book many years ago. Actually she sent it to Adam in response to hearing about his high cholesterol. But he never touched it so I picked it up and read it cover to cover.

It examines the link between animal products and cancer, cholesterol, and heart disease. It conclusions eating a 95% plant based diet is the healthiest diet for humans.

Adam has always had borderline high cholesterol, something he claims is hereditary. Still he was tired of every single doctor’s visit ending with a warning to lower his cholesterol levels or he would have to go on statins. After watching the movie he thought maybe he would give it a try.

So, for the next six months I prepared him three vegan meals a day. He very carefully kept under the 5% limit, only eating meat or dairy when social or work situations made it awkward not to.

Then, last week he had the test.

Before the diet, his total cholesterol was 230. After the diet it dropped to 220, his LDL (the bad stuff) only dropped by 2, and his HDL (the good stuff) dropped by 8.

It was an absolute failure.

We were both shocked.

Afterwards, he said to me, “You know, the only time I was able to get my cholesterol way down was when I was super skinny.”

Instantly I was transported back to Hong Kong, lying on my living room couch with a searing headache and dry mouth, next to my roommate, Fionnuala.

I asked her why I felt so bad. She told me it was because we mixed alcohol the night before. That was should never mix beer with vodka.

So the next time we were out, we stuck to beer. No mixing! But the next day, we were back on the couch feeling awful. Maybe it was the beer that did it?

The next time we just stuck to vodka. No luck, another nasty morning after.

Tequila? Wine? We ran the full gamut. Finally, after our extremely thorough research we came to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter what you drink, it’s how much you drink.

It’s quantity. Not quality.

And, seeing Adam’s results after drastically changing his diet, I was once again reminded of the lesson when it comes to food or alcohol intake. It’s quantity, not quality.

This week Adam happily slipped back into his carnivorous ways.

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