Coordinating family eating

One of the things I have found rather challenging during the 16 years since I was diagnosed with type 2 is that my dietary needs as a diabetic are quite different from other people including my family. I tend to lean towards a low carb diet (not to the extreme but I'm perfectly happy getting my dinner carbs from a bbqed zuccini or two, or breakfast carbs from some steamed asparagas).
Now that my daughter is moving out and it's just the wife and me, we have a challenge that I am hoping someone else might advise on based on their experiences.
My wife has been told that due to elevated cholesterol she should go on meds (lipitor)that several friends have told her she should avoid due to potential long term complications. So she wants to manage that problem by eating a high carb, low protein and fat diet. Me, I like my pork sausages and eggs and burgers without the buns, so we are at somewhat of an impasse there.
My wife did some research and is suggesting that if we focus only on very low GI carbs from veggies, we could share our meals which is the goal. However, to lower her cholesterol her meals cannot include my favorites like omelettes, pork saugages, chicken drumsticks etc. and instead she is in to beans and tofu which for me are useful for only one thing: natural gas production.
So if someone else has been through this situation and hss worked out menu solutions that accomodate boith the cholesterol battling person and the diabetic, I'd be very interested if they would share their experience.

From everything I've read it seems the best diet for improving your cholesterol is a low carb diet. After years of fighting it my wife adopted my low carb diet and saw her pre-diabetes become totally controlled, lost significant weight and improved her cholesterol.

That being said, my daughter is a vegetarian and when she visits. She does so for reasons other than health. I simply prepare side dishes that are suitable for all of us and leave her responsible if she wants an "entree."

The best diet to normalize blood lipids is a low carb moderate protein and high healthy fat one. Identical to what you need. It is a fallacy, slowly being recognized by modern medicine and mainstream media, that high carb and low fat are healthy for a body.

Thanks for your response. You mentioned that your wife lost significant weight, got her pre-diabetes under control and improved her cholesterol, in that order. Given that we know that diabetes and excess body weight both are contributing factors to elevated lipids, and that for many simply losing weight can significantly lower cholesterol levels, establishing a cause and effect chain here might not be as simple as saying low carb and high fat lowered the cholesterol - it could just as easily have been the weight loss.
I suppose everyone is different. My wife first got notice from her doctor about high cholesterol about six months ago. I talked her into following my high protein and healthy fat low GI carb diet after that. On her recent blood works her bad cholesterol had shot up significantly higher than it was six months ago when she first got notice about it being a problem.
I am thinking this might be another example of something I've firmly believed over the years: that managing health by what you eat alone is very difficult unless you combine it with a reasonable exercise and activity program.

My weight has remained stable all my life. My cholesterol panel significantly improved when I went LCHF. HDL up and Triglycerides were down and LDL stable. Hubby on the same diet. His LDL increased by that is attributed to his releasing fat (he is overweight). The best benefit of the LCHF diet is maintaining stable blood sugar! Doctor is impressed!

Basically, I cook, so hubby eats what I make!

Unfortunately cholesterol is mostly genetic and only minimally impacted by dietary changes. My LDL was usually 80-90, and improved a bit after switching to a low-carb, moderate fat diet. Then they wanted to get me closer to 70, so I have taken pravastatin for the last few years. No side effects. My doc asked me to try atorvostatin (Lipitor) but I had creepy side effects so I went back and have been fine. Statins are widely and successfully used, so maybe consider pravastatin. If not, lean turkey or chicken, fish, and beans will work if she insists on a lowfat diet. My hubby has no restrictions and I do low carb and low sodium, so I have had to resort to making different meals with some common ingredients to keep us both happy.

I'm sorry, this is how my wife changed her diet and saw changes. She struggled for years and years with same old high carb calorie restriction stuff. If just didn't work. It had nothing to do with low GI. If you don't feel convinced about low carb you shouldn't expect your wife to believe it.

ps. You should wait until 6 months after starting a low carb diet before retesting cholesterol and remember that active weight loss causes elevated cholesterol.

It is a challenge when you have conflicting dietary requirements. I am not so sure about some of the advice you and yours have been receiving from your friends. My personal experience is that I am the diabetic and I have all of the lipid issues of your spouse (so everything rolled up in one). My triglycerides, particularly, are a nightmare.

Where we truly get screwed is with our twin boys. One was diagnosed with Crohn's (at age 8) and the other is now believed to have the same. While they are in a flare, the diet they need is truly the opposite of a good diabetic diet. Their doc wants no food that will process slowly (i.e., no fiber, no nuts, minimal veggies, etc). The idea is to limit the time the stomach is digesting / processing the food thus annoying the wounds (or whatever they are). Exact opposite of what my doc wants.


Thanks for adding your experience to this thread, Mike. Having twins with a medical condition that requires a strict diet adds a dimension to shared eating that makes my family's issues seem pretty trivial. However it appears you have good professional support and are resourceful enough to look for your own answers so that does bide well for you and your family.
Angivan I'd be interested in what creepy side effects you experienced from Lipitor, as my cardiologist recently switched me from simvastatin which I'd used for 10 years or more without any problems, saying the switch would 'significantly reduce my chance of a stroke or heart attack'. However, I'll make the final decision as to whether I should continue with Lipitor.

I agree with your points about using salmon and other coldwater fish rather than meats that often are high in unhealthy fat but I am not sure about the reason for avoiding egg yolks.
I realize that for years the advice was to avoid eggs period because they were said to be high in cholesterol, however recent research has shown that there is little or no connection between the consumption of dietary cholesterol and cholesterol levels in our body, which produces it's own cholesterol through the liver. If anything I believe it's been shown that consumption of saturated fat and/or transfats can impact negatively on our lipid levels, but to the best of my knowledge eggs are not a source of transfats or a significant source of saturated fat.

Hey Vancouversalilor:

There is so much diet misinformation in our collective consciousness created by flawed studies from the 70's and 80's that promote low-fat-whole grain that many still believe today - especially doctors.

The diet your wife should be on is yours. It's that simple. It will improve her lipids, guaranteed. Modern research confirms it, and many in this community will confirm it from their own experience - myself included.

Dietary cholesterol has a negligible effect on cholesterol levels. Eat all the eggs and shellfish you want. What does impact cholesterol levels is wheat, sugars and starch. Have her cut out these items and see what happens to her triglyceride levels. They will plummet.

Further - there is no correlation between "elevated" LDL (i.e., over 100) and heart disease risk. I don't know how this became an accepted fact, but there is no data supporting this. Ask her doctor to provide you with one current, respected peer reviewed medical study that confirms this link. He won't be able to because there isn't one. What is proven, however, is that statins increase risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Fats are not bad for you, including saturated fat. The only ones you should avoid are trans-fats and vegetable oils because they cause inflammation, which in turn can cause arterial plaque build up. So don't limit yourself to lean meats or feel like you need to trim the fat from your cuts. Enjoy your steaks, butter, sour cream, avocados, nuts, olive oils etc. She'll see her HDL levels rise. Also, fat does not make you fat - sugar does.

But don't take my or others statements at face value. Rather, have her follow your diet for 90 days and let the blood tests speak for themselves. You'll both be pleasantly surprised, and her Dr. will be perplexed as to how you were able to achieve this by not following a low-fat-whole-grain diet. Your wife will be understandably skeptical, but she really has nothing to lose by giving it a try - except for maybe her statin prescription. :-)

When I first started pravastatin (Pravachol), I read through the usual list of side effects and hoped for the best, and I experienced none of them, not even joint issues. When the endo suggested atorvastatin because it apparently is much more powerful, I figured it couldn't hurt to try. But within 3 days, the very mild neuropathy in my left foot went crazy, then the sensations spread to my other foot and even up my legs. I could barely sleep and wanted to crawl out of my skin. After a week of this, I called him and he said pravastatin is weaker but has much fewer side effects, so I switched back. It took about 3 weeks for the creepy effects to subside, but now 2 months later I'd say the effects are about 95% gone. Everyone is different though, so perhaps you would have a totally different experience. Wishing you luck...

The question I ask is does she exercise at all? This does a lot to reduce cholesterol in many. Some people do make higher amounts of cholesterol and diet may not work well for them. Nancy

I believe that increasing her activity/exercise is high on her list of priorities. She has been using a statin (lipitor) for a short while but side effects including but not limited to short term memory loss and aches and pains have convinced her to go the self help route.

For many years my husband was not a diabetic while I was. He is a cook and would take the kitchen duty, so he had to learn to cook for me, and for himself. Then he was diagnosed with "D" as well....but our tastes are essentially at battle. I would high recommend that you see a knowledgable dietician and see what they have to say, it might be a couple of things you can use to "marry" what is necessary for both of you.Not knowing that much about high cholesterol, I hesitate to make any suggestions but get the information from someone who deals with it daily. Take the infor, and adopt what works for you two, Good luck