Lab work is a report card for your body.

It’s a check in to see how things are going.

At least 1-2 times a year I’m assessing blood sugar, cholesterol, electrolytes, inflammation, blood cell health as well as kidney and liver function.

I do this for myself and my patients.

For the first time in my life my cholesterol came back elevated!

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And not just a little bit – it jumped up a lot!

Go figure, since I’ve been talking a lot about it lately (cringe)!

For over a year now I’ve been using the Lumen to help me monitor my carb and fat burn. 

I learned I’m not great a burning fat and I have trouble getting in and out of carb burn. 

To adjust I dropped my carbohydrate intake and increased my protein as well as fat intake. 

I first increased nuts and seeds because I love them much more than eating meat for protein!

My Lumen scores were looking good but I didn’t feel my body composition was ideal. 

Added in a metabolic reset to clear out my liver.

Then went back to my old plant of leaning out to get more definition with weight lifting since my back injury was keeping me from consistent cardio.

Increased organic dairy intake and scored raw cheese when I could. 

Used butter with my homemade bread and crackers from organic hand cut Anarchy Acres Wheat – amazing company!

Being able to eat wheat and dairy and not have issues was huge for me.

I think that’s where things went south…stick with me I’ll tell you why soon. 

Ate grass fed finished beef and bison in larger amounts. 

Put back in regular eggs and egg whites – thank you to a neighbor down the way, lovingly known as “egg lady”.

I hardly ever eat out and processed snacks are minimal. 

Then my disc herniation flared up last fall and continued into the early part of this year. 

I wasn’t able to get in the Zone 2 cardio and sprints that I had done for years for my cardiovascular health due to pain.

Lumen was telling me things were off. 

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By this time I had developed a full on infatuation with making my own bread, crackers, biscuits, waffles – you name it – I made it. 

When you don’t eat wheat and find a way you can without side effects, all those years of pent up FOMO rage for months.

Butter didn’t interest me until I could put it on fresh bread and crackers!

Then there was the discovery that I could eat raw dairy and not have gut issues. 

I live in Wisconsin…you know what happened.

An increase in butter, dairy and meat with a decrease in nuts and seeds as well as cardio…

…and I’d say fresh veggies too as I had so much in my cellar I canned and needed to eat…all of that contributed to my cholesterol spike!

A habit and routine shift caused my cholesterol to go up.

Yes, foods higher in cholesterol caused my cholesterol to go up. 

Because…I over ate them for my body’s tolerance. 

They are not “bad” foods to be avoided.

Please don’t misunderstand this concept and turn to vegan cheese and dairy – they are not healthier options!

The food isn’t to blame it’s the portions and circumstances.

This is a wake up call for me to adjust not cut foods out of my life. 

Despite the carb fascination, blood sugar was just fine as were my triglycerides (these are the fats that rise when you eat refined carbs in excess). 

The canned veggies I’ve been leaning toward didn’t keep my fiber intake up enough from the days of nuts and seeds and fresh veggies. 


I believe not being able to do as much cardio as in the past caused the cholesterol to go up as well. 

I don’t drink caffeine and I always have protein for my first meal so those weren’t contributors to the cholesterol.

The take-a-way…

…labs are a great way to evaluate your habits, routines and behaviors!

Cholesterol isn’t the enemy.

Finding balance between stress management, tasty foods, fiber, blood sugar balance, protein intake and cardio is what I believe keep cholesterol in check. 

I don’t think statins and medications are always the answer. 

And I believe you can work with your genetics. 

Some people run higher on cholesterol and it’s wise to do a lipid fractionation study where the sizes of your cholesterol molecules are broken down for you.

This gives you an idea of your total cholesterol risk. 

I also add oxidized LDL to cholesterol labs these days to see how much of the LDL is really a clogging issue. 

I didn’t do the oxidized LDL on this round for me though… (stay tuned I will for the next!)

Incase you were wondering…

My total cholesterol was 230 and my LDL (the potentially cloggy kind) was 156. 

Last year my total cholesterol was 179 and my LDL was 97. 

That’s a big jump in a year. 

Yet, I changed my diet and exercise considerably in a year too. 

And yes, I’m in my mid-40’s and hormones are shifting. 

I’ll re-run labs in 3 months after…

– increasing fiber (back on microgreens and sprouts till the garden pops off)

– decreasing dairy, eggs and butter to find my sweet spot

– adding back a calculated amount of nuts and seeds

– making sure I’m sprinting and doing zone 2 cardio weekly

– using the Lumen to keep tabs on my progress

If you have a jump in cholesterol from one lab to the next it’s worth it to evaluate your habits, routines and behaviors – as this is the most common source of the shift!

Stay tuned to learn how my adjustments pan out!

Here’s to your health,

Dr. J

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