BetterU 2014 – Week 7

Welcome to week 7 of the BetterU Challenge! (New here or want to find out more about this program? Jump back to the week 1 information here!)

Special thanks to Marni Hughes and Q13 Fox News – they are helping spread the word about the Go Red BetterU program! We are looking to help YOU participate right along with us. Are you going to join in on the BetterU program with us? If so we are honored to have you here! Leave messages below to say Hi, ask questions and shout it out that you’re doing the #GoRedBetterU program on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and more!

Here is the link to the segment on Q13 news with from May 5, 2014. Chef Kirsten discusses eating your way to healthier cholesterol levels and shares some delicious recipes and cooking techniques! Catch up with Shirley and Kristi this week as well! Here are some clips from their video diaries. Here is the recipe for Chef Kirsten’s Healthified Many-Fruit Muffins!

Healthified Many-Fruit Muffins from Chef Kirsten, A delicious way to control cholesterol!

Healthified Many-Fruit Muffins from Chef Kirsten, A delicious way to control cholesterol!

Week 7

Week 7 of the Go Red BetterU 12-week health makeover focuses on cholesterol. In week 2 we learned a bit about the fact that cholesterol increases our risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke, as well as saw a glimpse of what is going on inside of our bodies when cholesterol levels are abnormal when cardiologist Dr. Seicke presented to the class.

The good news is that cholesterol can often times be controlled, just like blood pressure and other risk factors, through a healthy, balanced diet and more movement.

Personally, I did just that. At 25 years old I was over 100 pounds overweight and my cholesterol & triglyceride levels were quite high, along with most of my other numbers. At first I blamed my genetics. I heard quite often in my family people say “we all have high cholesterol”. While it is true that some people have elevated cholesterol despite their best efforts to manage it on their own through diet and exercise, I knew my lifestyle needed an overhaul. I did just that, enjoyed more healthy whole foods and got more movement and my numbers came down to normal VERY quick, along with my blood pressure and blood sugar. The weight took some time, but I felt so much better living this kind of a lifestyle.

Cholesterol is a sneaky one though, it is silent. Just because someone is thin doesn’t mean they don’t have to worry about cholesterol and eat whatever they want. Anyone can be at risk for high cholesterol and have a higher risk of heart disease.

Here are some easy and delicious ways to EAT your way to healthy cholesterol levels!
Cooking for healthier cholesterol –

  • “Slender saute” Some oils can be very helpful for helping you lower your cholesterol, as we’ll get to below, but most of us are getting plenty of oil in our diets in other ways. You can actually saute in broth and get great results! This is very nice for vegetables and meat. You simply add a bit of broth (or even salsa) to the pan, add in your meat and veggies and saute! No sticking! Here is more information from the American Heart Association on how to “slender saute.”
  • Oils can actually help you lower your cholesterol! Fat supplies Essential Fatty Acids, which our bodies cannot make, so we need to get them from food. It is important to stick mainly to healthy oils with monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado oil and sesame oils. Remember to include fish, preferably 2 servings a week, as sources of healthy oil in your diet, which is super healthy and tastes fabulous. While I try not to label and food as “bad”, trans fats are the exception. Trans-fats are made through a chemical process and raise cholesterol more than excessive saturated fats even do. Do your best to completely eliminate trans fats. Look out for Partially Hydrogenated” oils in the ingredients, these are trans fats. Trans fats are most often in highly processed foods – stick to whole foods and avoid them!
  • Oats – Make eating oats a healthy habit to keep cholesterol levels in check! They are delicious, you can easily make up a batch the beginning of the week and reheat as needed. Add apples, walnuts, cinnamon for Apple Pie oats,  blueberries for blueberry muffin flavored oats, or try banana-walnut. Add a splash of almond milk, maybe a drizzle of heart-healthy honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you’re good! Oats contain soluble fiber,about 6 grams of it for 1 ½ cups cooked. Add fruit and you’re increasing it even more! 5-10 grams or more of soluble fiber has been shown to decrease your total and LDL cholesterol. Oats also have protein, about 10 grams, more than an egg for 1 ½ cups, with the fiber to help keep you full! I recommend steel cut oats for the best nutty flavor.
Apple Pie Oatmeal - add chopped apples, walnuts, some cinnamon. Yum!

Apple Pie Oatmeal – add chopped apples, walnuts, some cinnamon. Yum!

One more way to help lower cholesterol – 

  • Move more! “Eat better and move more.” Sound like a broken record? Well, it works, you just have to do it! Exercise helps you achieve healthy blood cholesterol because it can help you with weight management. It also stimulates enzymes that help move the LDL (lousy) cholesterol to the liver, where the body can then excrete it. Shoot for about 30 minutes per day of moderate movement, plus 2 or more days per week of muscle strengthening exercise. Not there yet? Set small goals and keep increasing your movement every week until you’re there. Just getting started, no matter what you can do, can help you lower your cholesterol.

The American Heart Association website has even more information about cholesterol. Find it all here!


Notes from the meetings:

This week the ladies had a private cooking class with me! We walked through the “Slender Saute” method and talked about healthy menu prep tips. We had some time during the class for some Q&A’s about nutrition and recipes as well. The ladies all have great questions and are making some wonderful changes in their lives for the better!


Have a wonderful week and congratulations on Week 7 towards a BetterU!

Chef Kirsten Signature

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Verdant Health Commission

Lynnwood Rec center



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