Cholesterol Update! (Plus Vegan chili!)

I know I’ve mentioned before how much I love where I work (I mean, I have a garden here!) but another thing I love is the free on-site health center! So I made an appointment to get my cholesterol checked, and they give you the results in 5 minutes! It’s great!

However, I was pretty disappointed… I know it’s only been 2 months since I went vegan, but I was really hoping for at least a SMALL change in my number! Weirdly enough, my overall cholesterol was EXACTLY What it was last time: 277.Β  (Anything >200 is bad.) I think the nurse knew I was disappointed, and she told me it would probably take more than a couple of months to see much of a change, but still! I was hoping for a little something!

The good news is, I raised my HDL and lowered my LDL! My HDL went from 39 to 52 and my LDL went from 225 to 216. I realize these aren’t hugely significant changes, but it made me feel a LITTLE better knowing that some things were moving in the right direction. They also referred me to a dietitian, and I’m looking forward to that. I realize that medications are here to help, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’d just be “taking the easy way out.” (Please don’t think that I’m saying that people who take medication are taking the easy way out. That is absolutely not what I mean!) I just feel like I’m willing and able to do all I can, and so I want to do what I can without medication!

Even if the vegan diet isn’t lowering my cholesterol as much as I’d like, I do feel better. My skin has cleared up (something I’d been struggling with for a long time.) and I feel like I have more energy. (Not to mention I’m more… regular πŸ™‚ haha). So even if I don’t stick with the vegan thing forever, I think I’d still follow a mostly vegan diet. Anyways, I said I would give it six months, so I’m going to stick with it for another four, and see what happens!


On to food! So last night I had a potluck with some friends from work. I decided I’d make Vegan Chili so I knew there would be at least one thing at the potluck that I could eat! πŸ˜€ So here is my super simple Vegan Chili Recipe!

Vegan Chili Recipe

(makes about 10 cups)

  • 1 large can of tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Minced Onions
  • Olive Oil

First, I stewed the tomatoes in some olive oil.

Then I added the corn, beans, and chickpeas

Then added spices to taste… I like mine super spicy!

Then I let it cook on the stove for about 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good! (It’s always a bit of a gamble, because I never measure out the spices. This one turned out quite well!!!) There were some leftovers, so that’s what I’m having for lunch today πŸ™‚ This is probably the easiest vegan/vegetarian recipe ever, and it’s always a hit, even with meat eaters!

Does anyone have any variations on vegetarian chili?? Any favorite spices or flavors? I’m always looking for new ideas!



33 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kaztronomic said,

    While the overall cholesterol numbers may have not moved much, I think it’s amazing that you were able to increase you good cholesterol and decrease your bad. I think you’re awesome for sticking with this diet and not letting a bit of disappointment stop you. You rock! πŸ˜€

    I love chili! Thanks for your recipe. πŸ˜€ I have all the ingredients, so I just may make this soon!

  2. 2

    Your numbers are moving in the right direction and thats great! Your chili looks great. For seasoning in the chili I make, I just use salt, pepper, chili powder and a little cayenne. Nothing out of the ordinary!

  3. 3

    Stephanie@ avocado nation said,

    I completely understand how you feel. I also have genetically high cholesterol and my doctor briefly talked about putting me on statins. I was not having it. I hate taking any kind of medicine. I haven’t gotten it checked in awhile but I’m hoping it improves as much as yours!!

  4. 5

    Tina said,

    That is still moving in the right direction. Give it time. And so happy you are feeling good. That speaks a lot!

  5. 6

    spabettie said,

    Even if the overall number hasn’t decreased (YET !) you’ve made significant progress with HDL + LDL – and that is GREAT !! Keep it up, it’s probably one of those things that just takes longer to see, and your next check could be HUGE! πŸ™‚

    Your chili looks great… I love the chickpea addition… Jason adds CINNAMON to his chili, and it is amazing…

  6. 7

    I think you should look more at the overall as opposed to the bog picture with your numbers! The HDL raise is awesome…and they say going on a vegan diet raises that substantially more than the recommended exercise! Getting your bad, LDL, down is a great step…just keep doing what you are doing and that number will continue to go down. The HDL is already at a great place! Like the nurse said, it can take a little time. Exercise, vegan diet, no processed foods or too much added sugar, and you will be under 200 in no time!! Way to go getting where you have so far!!!

  7. 9

    thanks for the comment you left me on my site about how i look and my post on strength training/lifting heavy πŸ™‚

    give up some of your cardio and do weights! it took me 3 decades to get to this point but am so glad i finally did!

    great job on your cholestrol #s. Slow and steady, that’s all you can hope for and do!

  8. 10

    Tes said,

    The best thing is that you are living healthy and eating healthy…though the number hasn’t change much… but I bet you know that you are feeling better.
    I know how it feel when we were on diet for few weeks and get on the scale and it had not reduced… but the thing is we feel stronger and healthier… that’s what matter..
    I hope the chart looks better next time.
    Keep up the goos work!

  9. 11

    I like to add a bit of cumin to chili…it adds a great punch to any chili you make!

    Don’t worry about your results. Everybody’s bodies are different. Some might react to the changes faster while others take a little more time. I’m sure you’re reaping benefits!

  10. 12

    Take pride in those LDL/HDL changes – they definitely moved in the right direction!

    As for the cholesterol, it may take time to come down. In addition, there are many more factors on cholesterol than diet. Diet is simply the most controllable one, but genetics play a strong role as well. I have my fingers crossed you’ll see that cholesterol number go down at your next appointment!

    (P.S. – When it comes to vegetarian chili I’m uber simple. Just throw in a can of reduced-sodium tomato soup, a can of red kidney beans, and chili powder to taste, and I’m good to go. However, I’ve been considering trying my grandmother’s vegetarian pumpkin chili. It’s on my “to-cook” list!)

  11. 14

    Even though the numbers haven’t moved–yet–you should feel great that your lifestyle changes will eventually drop those numbers to where they need to be!

    As for chili, I always add 1/2 tsp of cumin. A little goes a long way, but it definitely is a must-have!

    • 15

      Elaine from Om Sweet Om mentioned using cumin as well! I’ve never tried that!! (I actually bought cumin, but didn’t really know when to use it… so this sounds like a good time to try it!!)

  12. 16

    Paola Angeli said,

    Hey Liz! Thanks for stopping by! I just read your story and think that what you’ve decided to do for your body is amazing, so congrats!And don’t let the fact that ur cholesterol levels didn’t change that much bring you down; look at what happened to ur HDL/LDL levels! =D And the fact that you feel much more better is awesome too.

    That vegan chili looks amazing, I’ve been searching for a recipe for vegetarian chili for quite some time, so I might give this a try!

    Looking forward to reading more!
    Paola ❀

  13. 17

    Congrats on lowering your cholesterol babe! That’s awesome news!!

    And that vegan chili looks FAB, I’m always on the lookout for great vegan recipes.

  14. 18

    livelaughlovehopeeat said,

    I like cooking onions and bell peppers and carrots and putting them in my chili!

  15. 20

    yay! so happy for the change in cholesterol numbers. i have a feeling that with genetically high cholesterol, as opposed to dietary-induced high cholesterol, the overall number will take a bit longer to go down.
    how encouraging that there WAS a significant change though! πŸ˜‰
    as far as chili, my only MUST spices would be cayenne and GARLIC!! can never go wrong with garlic πŸ™‚

  16. 21

    I love chili! Great recipe! I like your idea of adding corn and black beans! I usually make it with kidney beans and bell peppers, and sometimes zucchini.

    Glad to hear of the progress with the cholesterol numbers! That’s great news! And glad you feel better, too!

  17. 22

    Oh, and thank you very much for your comment on my last post! It was very sweet and helped put everything into perspective!

  18. 23

    Cholesterol is a really tricky case.
    Actually the most important thing is to eat small meals every few hours and as raw as possible. Eat only when you are hungry and be sure that 3/4 of your dish consists mainly of raw vegetables. Fruit is better to be consumed with some form of protein. Since you are vegan try some nuts or seeds.
    Always use olive oil and never butter even if it is suitable for vegans.

    I hope I did’t disappointed you, I just wanted to help.

  19. 25

    Jennifer said,

    That is so awesome that you have someone on site like that! Don’t be stressed about the numbers, those will come over time, just the fact that you are feeling better is what matters!!

  20. 26

    mayapamela said,

    I think it’s really interesting that you’re bogging about your quest to lower your cholesterol through veganism. My dad had high cholesterol, too (common for the guys on my dad’s side of the family) and he lowered it significantly without medication by eating oatmeal every day along with walnuts and almonds. His doctor was amazed! I’m sure you already knew about the oatmeal but it’s a good thing to remember.

  21. 27

    teenagehealthfreak said,

    {{ my chili isn’t vegan…but anyway I thought I’d share some of my fave spices/stuff!!!}} cumin..lots of it!! πŸ™‚ i put hominy in it too sometimes…it’s just “fun” and the tomatoes I use in mine are usually like fire roasted or it some extra ummp!! and i always start of with fresh garlic, onions, and bell pepper..sauted in olive oil (with the meat..but no meat in this case. πŸ™‚ )

    • 28

      I HAVE tried Fire roasted tomatoes and they added a nice kick! (I just couldn’t find them at the store this time! haha) I’ve never tried hominy, but I might have to get some and give it a try!!

  22. 29

    Great job on raising your HDLs! Keep up the good work!

  23. 30

    […] night I made some Vegan Spicy Chili and it was so […]

  24. 31

    […] ALSO manages to back in 4g of fiber, and 3g of protein. I had mine in place of crackers with some vegan chili, and it was a nice crunchy addition to my meal. (But seriously, a serving of these is a lot of […]

  25. 32

    Cindy said,

    I’m interested to see how your numbers looked and how long it actually DID take before you saw results in your TOTAL cholesterol. I started my husband on a vegan diet 2 weeks ago, trying to get his total down before his annual physical next month. He was a big meat eater, having at least 2 if not 3 or 4 servings of meat in a day, often times 3 of those would be in one meal, you know, 3 brats or eating the leftovers so we didn’t have anything to clean up. I’ve been really enjoying making vegan food. It’s been challenging but I’ve been having fun with it. I just made some amazing Moussaka, I’ve made lots of tempeh meals, vegan chili, curries, etc.

  26. 33

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