High Cholesterol + Me

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Eva Amurri shares her cholesterol familial history and steps she is taking towards it

I think part of becoming an adult is a slow realization of one or more things that you have kind of hanging over your head. Whether that’s expectations put on you by yourself or others, generational mistakes that you work hard to bypass, or familial health history that all of a sudden doesn’t feel so far away. For me personally, it’s the latter. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been aware of a family history of high cholesterol that lurked shadily in the corners of my understanding of where I come from. I always sort of put it off in my mind, banished in my youth to a faraway place called “I’ll Cross That Bridge When I Come To It.” And, to be honest, I didn’t really think I’d ever come to it. You never do at 25!

Ever since having kids, I’ve made sure to keep up with my cholesterol. The last time I checked it a couple of years ago, it was borderline worrisome. (Just as an aside, because of my family history of heart disease, they judge my cholesterol numbers differently than they would the average person) They told me to check back in a year or two to see where I was. I’ll say that I’m otherwise very healthy! I make sure to exercise pretty regularly, and I don’t have any wild vices– but as I’ve learned with familial high cholesterol, these things don’t always keep you from those high numbers. I had my blood panels done recently, and unfortunately, my cholesterol is now officially “high” and in a range that they don’t want to see for me personally. It’s time to get serious and bring them down!

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I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly pre-empting any of this. I hadn’t been paying much attention to cholesterol-lowering foods, or even taking natural supplements to stave it off. In short, I deserved this. LOL. However, in the last few weeks I have gotten on some natural supplements known for lowering cholesterol (I worked with a Naturopath, and recommend going that route to find supplements!). That’s a first step, of course, but I knew that I also had to take a long, hard look at the foods I’ve been putting in my body. I know for sure that I can do better. When it comes to food and times of stress, I’ve always been a Convenience Girl. And by that, I mean that I’ll grab whatever is most convenient when I’m starving…and I don’t think much about the nutritional value. Ok, if I’m being honest, it also means that I love a Convenience Store snack. Doritos, anyone?! When I’m hungry, there isn’t a lot of time between me realizing I need to eat, and me satisfying that need. And unfortunately, it means that I’m reaching for a lot of foods that aren’t great for somebody with high cholesterol.

When I spoke to my doctor, one of the first things he told me was that for some people with hereditary high cholesterol, diet alone cannot solve the issue. As frustrating as that is, I accept that. Sometimes your body just processes foods and lipids in a different way. He recommended beginning a high-fiber diet (apparently fiber bonds to cholesterol and helps flush it out), with lots of leafy greens and crunchy vegetables. When I really looked at my daily/weekly diet, it was clear that I just was not getting the right kinds of foods into my body. And I definitely was feeding it some objectively “wrong” ones. Now, you guys know that I’m not a 0 to 100 kinda gal. I truly believe that we can only transform our lives in a way that is ultimately sustainable for us. I won’t be successful if I just become a raw vegan and call it a day. But I also knew that there were so many things I could be fixing that would set me on a MUCH better path than the one I have been on lately.

The funniest part is that I actually happen to really love healthy foods. Leafy greens, salads, sautéed vegetables, brown rice, lentils, and quinoa make the list of things I enjoy eating. I can’t say I particularly search out Fiber, but if a big leafy salad is put in front of me, I’d much prefer eating that than a Big Mac. Of course, somebody putting a big, leafy salad in front of me daily isn’t realistic. LOL. But, Ian and I sat and talked and decided that meal prepping and planning with foods that are good for me is a big step we can take in the right direction. Having foods I can pull out of the fridge, dump into a bowl, and heat up quickly makes me reach for the right things I need to be reaching for.

When we meal prep, we make it super simple and just cook our veggies and grains ultra simple. This is because I’m somebody who needs to have flexibility with the meals I’m eating. We just sauté, bake, or roast everything so that I can add flavors and spruce up the ingredients as I crave things. A brown rice bowl with roasted sweet potatoes and salmon can take on a cajun spin one night, and a teriyaki one the next. Just add a little sauce or more interesting toppings! (Everything But The Bagel seasoning and Furikake seasoning from Trader Joe’s are current faves). Last time we meal prepped, we made the following:


  • Roasted Salmon (salmon fillet brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and mustard, and roasted in the oven until fully cooked)
  • Baked Chicken (Seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and baked until cooked through)
  • Brown rice, cooked in a rice cooker
  • Lentils, cooked according to package directions (we also add some sautéed onions for flavor)
  • Roasted Broccoli, seasoned with salt & pepper and roasted in the oven
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and roasted in the oven
  • Roasted Carrots, seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and roasted in the oven
  • Sautéed Kale, seasoned with salt, pepper, and mixed with onions, sauté until broken down, then add some water to cover the hard spines and cook until the water is cooked off.
  • Roasted Asparagus, seasoned with salt & pepper and roasted in the oven

As you can tell, it’s super easy and doesn’t require tons of extra ingredients– but it does require some prep! The two of us working together needed an hour and a half to prep all our food for the above items. But, it lasted us ten days, AND we spent so much less time on lunches and dinners during the week. Plus, it’s been so nice to be able to just grab a big bowl, put some mixed greens in the bottom, and then top with some of the roasted veggies as well as some crunchy, fresh ones. I feel SO much more energized during the day eating this way, and I know it’s a big improvement on what I was doing before.

Will this meal prep, plus my supplements, help me change my cholesterol levels significantly? Who knows. I plan to retest in 3-6 months. I also plan to get an echocardiogram, a stress test, and some other things just to get a baseline. Is talking about your high cholesterol the sexiest thing in the world? No, Ma’am. Is it important to just normalize these types of conversations, particularly in my age group? Yes! I’ll keep you guys posted, and please feel free to add any of your own personal anecdotes, or natural remedies you’ve found helpful below! I very well may end up on a statin, but I think trying these other things before…or in addition to… is also really important. Only time will tell!


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Photographs by Julia Dags | Copyright © 2023 Happily Eva After, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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  1. Julie says:

    Where are your sandals from? Thank you for the easy meal ideas!

    08.10.23 Reply
    • They’re old Ferragamo!

      08.10.23 Reply
    • Vivi says:

      Thank you for sharing 🙂 I also have familial high cholesterol and been struggling with it.
      I love your ideas of prepped meals, seems very doable 😀 I do have some questions though:
      How do you store the prepped meal to make sure that they won’t spoil or get moldy? Do you put them in the fridge or freezer? And what is the best way to reheat the food?

      08.10.23 Reply
  2. Jen says:

    Hi Eva- Thank you for this! Genes are no joke but knowledge is power! Your meals sound amazing and doable! Also have heard oats/ oatmeal are great for lowering cholesterol! I’m in the same boat! Wishing you good health!

    08.10.23 Reply
  3. Glenda says:

    Same thing happened to me. Heart disease runs on my dads side. I eat healthy most of the time. I love veggies and fruits and any type of salad. But unfortunately it didn’t work as planned and ended on a statin 20mg and thankfully that and my diet and walking have all been beneficial and my #’s are right where they need to be. I too saw a cardiologist and had and ekg, echo and stress w/ nuclear and thankfully all test came back normal. Wishing you the best on this part of your journey. xo

    08.10.23 Reply
  4. Kathleen says:

    Beans, beans, and more beans! It’s the soluble fiber in particular that will help lower cholesterol. My husband’s cholesterol was slightly above the recommended range, so I had him throw beans into both lunch and dinner every day. Two months later, his LDL dropped 50 points. Love that you’re sharing your health journey. Taking charge of your health is empowering!

    08.10.23 Reply
  5. Jaime says:

    I’m a fellow hereditary high cholesterol compatriot! It’s nice to read about it, I’ve always felt ashamed about it even though it’s just my body! My numbers have been “high” since I was a little girl. I don’t know if they actually work (the science says maybe no) but it seems like high quality fish oil supplements (Nordic Naturals) make a positive impact on my numbers. Sending positive vibes your way!

    08.10.23 Reply
  6. Ashley says:

    I think this is great but my question is how you keep the veggies yummy after 10 days?? lol They start to get unappealing to eat for me after a few days in the fridge.

    08.10.23 Reply
  7. Sarah M says:

    Thanks for sharing! My partner is in the exact same boat (darn those genetics!) and I’m trying to support him with healthier meal planning. I’d love to see more recipes or tips for cholesterol-friendly diet as you find what works for you!

    08.10.23 Reply
  8. Karen Hausser says:

    I’m curious how you stored everything to keep it fresh for 10 days. Unless I freeze something, I’m generally a 3 to 4 days in the fridge kinda gal for cooked items and 5 to 6 days for cut veggies. I’ll take any tips you have!

    08.10.23 Reply
  9. Robin says:

    your prep ideas sound great!
    I don’t participate in social media. but I will keep my eyes open for your online posts!

    08.10.23 Reply
  10. Kathleen says:

    I’m in a very similar boat. cholesterol was borderline high with high HDL until this year, cholesterol is 250 still high HDL. trying to do supplements, diet changes , more exercise first. see if I can avoid statins. good luck to us both!

    08.11.23 Reply
  11. Beth says:

    Hi Eva when I read your article I felt I was reading about myself! Although I’m a lot older than you I’m in the same situation, took a long look at my cupboard and freezer this week and realised changes have to be made. Thank you for the meal ideas, and good luck with your health x

    08.11.23 Reply
  12. Leah says:

    Hi I’m a registered dietitian. So happy to hear that you are using food first to try and lower your cholesterol rather than jumping right to meds. It’s a great place to start to search out more fiber. Leafy greens actually don’t have all that much fiber only 1.2 grams/2 cups. To really bump up your fiber intake I recommend you continue adding whole grains to your meals (brown rice, old fashioned or steel cut oatmeal, quinoa), add seeds such as chia seeds and add beans to salads for protein and fiber.

    08.11.23 Reply
  13. Virina says:

    what supplements do you use for your familial cholesterol?

    08.11.23 Reply
  14. Conrad says:

    In cases of genetic cholesterol, the body makes too much PCSK9 protein which blocks the liver sensors and the liver makes cjolesterol 24 hrs a day. No diet can correct this. Even statins cannot stop this. You will need new medicines design to correct the problem.

    08.11.23 Reply
  15. Lezlye Merritt says:

    This article was so timely and sounded a lot like me. I’m trying to adjust my eating habits for the same reason but like you, am not a 0-100 type lady. I liked the ten day meal prep process and can totally see how this can help. Nice read

    08.11.23 Reply
  16. Juliette Goddard says:

    excellent dialogue

    08.12.23 Reply
  17. Letty says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am not too sure of my family history but few years my aunt had it and now my bro and I as well when tested. He was at 294 and I was at 274 this was this year. we have been eating really bad plus little to no physical activity. We both changed the diet, got moving (exercising) were put on meds for 3mths and our numbers down. I am at 194 since tested in June. will retest in December.

    I am from the Caribbean and the older folks say eat eggplants but better to cut them up and put in water, store in the fridge and drink a glass a day. can do this for a week and on and off throughout the months.

    08.13.23 Reply
  18. Kat says:

    I’m so glad I came across this article! Thank you for sharing! Heart disease runs in my family as well. I also have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis which increases the likelihood of comorbidities, like heart disease. I have been seeing a cardiologist for 3 years and everything seems ok besides valve regurgitation. However, I recently had a lipid panel test done by my rheumatologist and it included a lipoprotein (a) test. Since getting my results, I have been in quite a funk. I have been so anxious and worried about whether or not today will be the day I have a heart attack. It’s terrible to have this thought in my mind. Your article comforted me. I have been adjusting my diet and have increased my exercise regimen since getting my test results. I have also tried to decrease stress and anxiety but still need a lot of work with that. My job has greatly contributed to my dietary changes, lack of exercise, and it has also increased my stress and it has impacted my health in various ways. I am starting to reevaluate my life and health choices. I have started to make changes that I can control, like diet and exercise, and to see your article and the comments other people have posted reassures me that I can take some control of my health and do as much as I can to take care of myself and improve my health and well being. Besides eating lean proteins (chicken, fish) and a more plant based and high fiber diet (whole grains, oats, beans), with no processed foods, my doctors recommended supplements like fish oil/omega 3, vitamin D3 +K2+magnesium, and a fiber supplement like benefiber or metamucil. What supplements do you take?

    Thank you for sharing your journey and ideas for heart healthy meals and meal prep. I hope that you will continue to share your journey with us. I hope that you will continue to share more heart healthy meals ideas, exercise ideas, and your progress All the best to you and your health!

    08.13.23 Reply
  19. Azmat says:

    Well it all sounds familiar. I have not had red meat for ages. Off sugar & deserts for countless years. A vegetarian almost. Still the numbers are topping the charts always. Perhaps a factor of the genes I have inherited.
    Resisted taking statins for all the years since I became aware of my cholesterol issue. Still holding off.
    The advise is contradicting & confusing. Guess one should follow one’s doctor’s advise. No sure way of dealing with this predicament.

    08.14.23 Reply
  20. Donna McCarthy says:

    I want in the worst way to stay off statins and do watch what I eat. I have lowered it in the past with diet (little to no baked goods, little to no red meat, salads, oats and beans). I have a theory about familiar high cholesterol in that we all tend to eat the way our family does, therefore familiar high cholesterol. Also, we tend to not exercise as our family as well. Therefore I believe we can reduce our numbers many times. Just think once you start the meds you willl not be allowed to go off. I also see vegan diets reduce numbers substantially, but it is hard to go that route when one’s family doesn’t want to comply. Just my opinion, but I am the master of my own health!

    08.20.23 Reply