Success story: How does eating real food help a 61 yr old?

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If you have been a reader for a while, you’d remember that I posted a success story titled Man Vs. Diabetes. While I get plenty of such success stories, I just haven’t had the time to compile them and post them since I’m always trying to address some controversial topic or the other in an effort to make nutrition and fitness understandable for the lay person. Now that I have been out of action for a while, I thought the best way to sneak back in and start writing about serious stuff was a success story. Moving forward I’ll be sure to post many more such success stories.

While I was in Bali, I got an email from my buddy Mahesh and it read as follows…

Machi [Meaning – buddy],

I wanted to check my blood work since it has been 4 months and also to check how my diet plan has been working out for me and as well as for Amma [Meaning – mom]. Just wanted to share with you.

These are the numbers before and after.


April 14 2011

HDL – 72
LDL – 135
Tri glycerides 48
Total Cholesterol 219
Blood sugar : 93
LDL/HDL: 1.875
TotalChol/HDL: 3.04

Sep 3 2011

HDL : 64
Total Cholesterol: 185
Blood sugar fasting: 78
60mts glucose tolerance : 135
2 hrs glucose tolerance : 63
LDL/HDL: 1.625
TriG/HDL: 0.671


April 7 2011

HDL: 44
LDL: 129
Triglycerides: 123
Total cholesterol: 197
Blood Sugar:Fasting 120, 60 mts: 234, 120mts: 199
vldl: 25
LDL/HDL: 2.93
TriG/HDL: 2.79
TotalChol/HDL: 4.47

Sep 3 2011

TotalCholesterol: 194
VLDL: 10
Fasting bloodsugar: 95, PP 1hr30mts: 175
LDL/HDL: 2.07
TriG/HDL: 0.924
TotalChol/HDL: 3.66

My mothers overall health has improved significantly after following a real diet plan. Still got to work but her 4 months of stay with me I made sure that she eats good quality food and improve her health. The numbers show the efforts she had put in. Still working on her blood sugar.


Let me point out a few things.

  • Mahesh and his mom are both vegetarians. Mahesh eats eggs, while his mom doesn’t.
  • Mahesh has been working with me for a couple of years now and he started off as a skinny marathoner and is now a solid fit guy who can squat, press and pull more than most and sprint a 100 pretty darn quick. His secret? Extremely consistent strength training & smart conditioning along with plenty of real food (whole milk, eggs, vegetables and fruit especially).
  • Mahesh’s mom is 61 years old. Clearly she had some blood sugar related issues which is being reversed.

Since Mahesh is young and his numbers are pretty darn perfect, let me break down his mom’s numbers for you.

  • Her HDL increased by 20% rising from from 44 to 53. If you didn’t know, a high HDL reading signifies cardiovascular health and immunity and is one of the most important numbers to look at wrt heart health.
  • LDL doesn’t mean anything, so I wont call her drop in LDL as an improvement.
  • Her fasting blood sugar dropped from 120 to 95 and, though not perfect yet, her postprandial blood sugar numbers are definitely improving! Without exaggeration, her fasting blood sugar went from diabetic to almost normal and she is well on her way towards completely controlling her diabetes! Good good stuff!

Obviously I’m not going to post this with no information about what she ate and other lifestyle changes. So I asked mahesh for some specifics.

Was/is she on meds for diabetes?

She wasnt on any meds for diabetes. It was completely diet and a lot of walking (1-2 hrs), around 20 thoppukarnams/day (in order to have an activity similar to squats), lot of sunshine.

What was her typical diet like? Any eggs?

I asked her to minimize grains (lentils). She completely eliminated sugar and sugar based productsand had limited the consumption of rice. Sheate a lots and lots of vegetables every day for the past five months, soaked well fermented payaru, lentils incase she felt like having different variety of grains apart from rice. Rice consumption was limited to max 2/3 days a week. Coconut oil was used for all the cooking. Olive oil for salad dressing. She also had optimum quantities of full fat milk, greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, avocado, fruits everyday. For protein she had tofu, tempeh, paneer. Most importantly she had Omega-3 supplements every day for the last 5 months. Most of the days she skipped her breakfast – 2 meals/day. She did complete fasting moslty 2x month but definitely 1x a month for religious reasons.

Any change in bodyweight?

She lost 2 kgs (4.5 lbs).

Change in energy level? Sleep quality?

Awesome energy levels to walk the entire NY city downtown, Chicago, DC and Boston downtowns without using any cab service. I was totally amazed to see her walk miles together without getting tired. She is 61. She has always been a sound sleeper and now it has only become better. Since there was less stress involved while staying with me in the US, she slept for longer hours (~8).

Change in other aspects of health? What has become better and what became worse?

Her chronic cold has improved. Shes using her inhaler a lot lesser these days but has not eliminated completely. Digestion has improved.

The way I look at this there are two valuable lessons here.

1. Mahesh did all he could to ensure his mom will take the real food route. He brought her to US, he made real food available at all times. he constantly spoke to her about the importance of eating real food, he ensured she walked a lot and got plenty of sunlight etc etc. He did his part well… very well.

2. His mom sealed the deal by doing exactly what she had to do. She took every piece of advice seriously, made changes to her diet and lifestyle and most importantly, stuck to it consistently.

There ya go – a testament to what eating real food and staying active can do for you (or your parents) irrespective of age. So whether you’re the son/daughter or the parent, you have here an example and motivation to make a change towards the good health and I truly hope you you do!

Peace out.

8 responses to “Success story: How does eating real food help a 61 yr old?

  1. Kusum Rohra September 14, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Ah! Finally an update! I am in a rush now, so will read this in detail later, couldn’t resist thanking for an update 🙂

    See ya on the 20th * quaking in her boots *

  2. Soundarya September 14, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Good one as always Raj. Nice come back post and always a great feeling to read success stories. Keep it up and good luck for the Boot camp

  3. Madhumitha Vasudevan September 14, 2011 at 5:24 am

    awesome !!! impact on the parents is truly inspirational and am so motivated reading this. Kudos to you guys…

  4. swarna mani September 14, 2011 at 7:38 am


  5. GSL September 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Excellent so happy to see parents benefiting too…keep up your good work.

  6. Vizeet September 15, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Great post. Already posted on my wall.

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