Iain Gray Freelance Writer

Changing a lifetime’s eating habits - Week 4

The crucial day of the final test has arrived for Iain Gray, one of the four Telegraph journalists taking a challenge to lower their cholesterol levels. Has it made a difference?

Well, I have returned from my 150-mile struggle through the French Alps, and by some miracle, considering the state my arteries were in, I survived. 

Not only that, my cholesterol has dropped. Plummeted in fact, like a fat avalanche. It has gone down from a borderline troublesome 6 to an almost healthy 5.2, in three weeks. How much of that is due to the Flora mini drink I religiously took every morning, I have no idea.

However, I do know two things: firstly, it is a huge weight of my mind, as well as my heart; secondly, the French diet was of no help whatsoever. Delicate, fatty duck, fish decadently swimming in creamy, buttery sauces, succulent pork, bloody steaks oozing juices, wafer-thin ham that crumbles in the mouth.

Every night was another exquisite but evil culinary experience. Also, one mustn’t ignore the generous selection of local cheeses and a bottle of quite lovely Savoie wine. And don’t get me started on the home-made desserts. Raspberry, strawberry, blueberry tarts, eclairs buried within fluffy clouds of cream, chocolate cake so rich it had the GDP of a small country.

In fact, by the end of the 10-day walking holiday, I had the distinct impression that the French were out to kill me.

So I was understandably quite nervous about receiving my results – the healthy breakfast-time porridges and dinnertime vegetable biryanis I had eaten at the start of the test suddenly seemed so far away, hidden behind mountains of tender, perfectly-cooked French livestock.

But I guess I needn’t have worried – my cholesterol is heading for a normal level. I can sit back, relax and look forward to a brighter future, a future in which I’m not dead.

The whole experience has been a bit of a wake-up call. I’ve never done exercise very well – it always seemed to be too much like hard work.

My diet was always rather sparse in terms of vegetables and a little dense in terms of saturated fats, and my alcohol consumption was never troublesome, but perhaps slightly self-indulgent.

Now I have felt the benefits of the exercise/mini drink regime, I will try to eat more like a human being than a pig at a trough, keep my fitness levels up by walking everywhere and continue to have the Flora pro.activ mini drinks. They taste fine and have become part of my morning routine.

And if they can help keep my cholesterol level down on a more permanent basis, and allow me to have a dirty burger or heady pint without fear of my arteries exploding like an overripe tomato, then even better.


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