Lipid Levels After Going 90% Pesco-Vegan

A month ago, I posted how I changed my diet in the post What I Eat and What I Don’t Eat – 2020 Edition. You can read that post for details, but the short version is I cut out 90% of my meat and dairy intake last year. I also cut back on eggs. I increased legumes and non-gluten grains such as buckwheat, oatmeal, and quinoa. I still eat my seafood, which is why I am using the term Pesco-Vegan.

Prior to last year, I avoided all doctors as much as possible, unless it was related to me getting back into the gym quicker. 💪🏻 So I believe the last time that I had any blood work done would have been the early 2000s and I have no idea what those numbers were other than “good”.

Last year, I did get a lipid panel done and the numbers weren’t optimal. Then I made the diet changes mentioned above and retested this week. Instead of going to the doctor, I used UltaLabs. They are much cheaper than whatever “deal” my healthcare plan offered.

The numbers have improved.

Total Cholesterol

  • Aug 2019: 208
  • Mar 2020: 185
  • 11% reduction 😃

LDL Cholesterol

  • Aug 2019: 141 😮
  • Mar 2020: 117
  • 17% reduction 😁

HDL Cholesterol (good)

  • Aug 2019: 51
  • Mar 2020: 53
  • 4% increase 🙂


  • Aug 2019: 79
  • Mar 2020: 61
  • 23% reduction 😎

TG: HDL Ratio

  • Aug 2019: 1.54
  • Mar 2020: 1.15
  • 25% reduction 🤩

I have very little experience reading these numbers, but I like what I see. The LDL number needs to drop more, but I like the direction it is heading. Some articles online state it can take 3-6 months to see changes in your lipid panel numbers from diet and exercise changes.

My exercise was mostly the same. These changes were all diet. Not that my diet was poor before, but I was able to improve once I revisited my Paleo/WAPF belief that saturated fat was healthy. And as I stated in that post, I have no interest in getting into that debate with anyone. You do you. For myself, I figured that I’d let the numbers do the talking.

blood test

Photo by National Cancer Institute


Add yours

  1. Simon Melville

    Mar 6, 2020 — 11:24 am

    Hi @MAS Re: your dairy intake. Do you consider low-fat or zero-fat dairy to be OK if it is the sat fat that is the issue ?

  2. @Simon – Yes. I think the benefits of fat-free greek yogurt outweigh the criticisms vegans may have with it. At least for me, as someone that is 99.8% European (23andMe) and can tolerate dairy just fine.

    When I dropped 90% of the meat and 90% of the dairy, that left a big hole of protein needs. FF Greek yogurt helps fill that need.

  3. Simon Melville

    Mar 6, 2020 — 4:14 pm

    And one more thing springs to mind: about the seafood – do you have any preference between oily fish (PUFA) and non-oily fish/crustaceans when it comes to fat intake?

  4. @Simon – Mostly sardines. It is a throw back to the peasant diet. I haven’t given much thought into this choice other than convenience and I know they crush my appetite.

  5. I’m really inspired by your success on the peasant diet approach, I’ve been slowly shifting from paleo/keto to wfpb and needed some extra validation from legitimate people, so thanks for that. I’m debating whether or not to go completely plant-based or keep some fish in. What are your thoughts on going sans animal products?

    PS: Honored to have been the 11k comment!

  6. @Ant – Great question. I think it is worthy of its own post, which I’ll get to later this week. Thanks for the topic idea.

  7. Nicki Finicky

    Mar 10, 2020 — 1:40 pm

    Mike, have you tried hot yoga for your back? Not to sound too new-agey but I remember reading an account where someone said that it specifically alleviated his back issues. All the Best…from an old friend.

  8. @Nicki – My back has been mostly good.

    I like the idea of yoga and maybe even hot yoga, but everything I do is in front of YouTube and I doubt I could crank the heat high enough at home.

  9. I remember reading that you had some back trouble years ago and in this post I incorrectly read “getting back” as you having back issues. Glad to hear you are doing better.

    I am not brave enough to do it myself, but from what I have read Hot Yoga is legit. And if you can stand the heat it works wonders for back & joint issues. The more I think about it, I may have heard on Joe Rogan (so take that as you will).

  10. I don’t know where else to write this but I really miss your more observational, humorous about life in general blog posts. Do you have a blog or vlog site where you write about such things? Also I’m watching “Elvis on Tour” (blu-ray) and I thought of you as I remember you were a fan. You should try to watch it.

  11. @Nicky – I do not have another blog. This is it.

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